As transplants, we discover to live without the comforts of our hometowns. Case in point: When I relocated from Wisconsin to the East Shore after college, I might manage, nay, understand the quizzical feedbacks I obtained when attempting to locate a “bubbler.” It’s a drinking fountain. No tailgating prior to baseball games? Fine.

However, there likewise comes a time when the indignities become way too much to brace. For me, it was the minute I couldn’t locate my favoured Midwestern home cooking, cheese curds. To make matters worse, my East Shore chums were entirely unaware of their existence: “What is a cheese curd?” they’d ask.

It’s a typical concern outside America’s heartland. So, in honour of National Cheese Curd Day, created by that Wisconsin essential, Culver’s, on October 15, we’re raising the shroud on this fantastic Midwestern enigma. Here’s what you require to find out about cheese curds, consisting of how they’re made, why they’re so precious, as well as where to find them.

Think about cheese curds as baby cheese

Turns out, Snowdonia Cheese curds aren’t as strange as you might assume, essentially, they’re young, indicating unaged cheese. For some, cheese curds are a by-product of the cheesemaking process; milk farmers would earn the soft curds that went extra while making blocks of dense cheeses like Cheddar. However, as the snack grew in popularity, several creameries started to dedicate their dairy to generating the bouncy, salted baby cheese cherished across the Midwest.

Curds are formed when enzymes, milk, and starter are heated up at a reduced temperature to create milk solids, a.k.a., the curds, and fluid whey. When those solids have formed, the curds are extracted from the whey, created into pieces, as well as repetitively piled in a procedure called cheddaring, offering the cheese its name. However, what occurs following differentiates cheese curds from a standard block of sharp Cheddar: to make the latter, the pieces are refined continuously, formed right into the blocks or wheels, and then matured for several weeks.

By comparison, cheese curds avoid the moulding and ageing process entirely, going right from the slab stage into a mill, where they’re cut into nugget-like pieces of soft, resilient, moderate cheese. The last action involves salting, as well as bagging the cheese, for instant intake, and with cheese curds, freshness is vital. The trademark of a fresh curd is a signature squeak upon initial bite, which is triggered when the tight healthy proteins of the cheese slip and jump off the smooth enamel of our teeth. 

Note: The squeak is best accomplished with area temperature cheese. Fried cheese curds, do not squeak.