Cheese Curds Are Synonymous With The Midwest So If You Live Outside That Region How Can You Know If Youre Eating The Real Deal We Asked An Expert
Wisconsin calls itself Americas Dairyland. Its on their license plates. Youre greeted with fresh cheese at the airport when you land. Fans of the states NFL team the Green Bay Packers even affectionally call themselves cheeseheads. In short, Wisconsin knows its cheese.
I had the honor of meeting with several Wisconsin cheesemakers to discuss how they source their dairy, make some of the most awarded cheese in the world, and explain a cheese curd to outsiders. If you, like me, arent from the Midwest, cheese curds are a bit of a mystery and often first experienced in deep-fried form. I had heard of them and eaten my fair share, sure. But I didnt quite understand what made them so unique and so very Wisconsin.
So in honor of National Cheese Curd Day, I asked Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Bob Wills, who I met at his Cedar Grove Cheese plant in Plain, Wisconsin, to talk to me about curds. What are they? How are they made? Why do they squeak? Settle in with a few fresh curds, and read on to find out what makes cheese curds so special.
Sazs Mini Mozzarella Sticks
DESCRIPTION: Made with fresh Wisconsin mozzarella, these mini versions of Mozzarella Marinara are hand-rolled in a light egg roll wrapper. Oven-ready in just 6 minutes, Sazs Mini Mozz make a tasty snack any time of day and a simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer for any occasion!
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Can You Buy Curd At The Grocery Store
Cheese Curds are a delicious snack. You can buy a bag of these find Squeaky Curds Cheese Kit to have fresh curds shipped directly to your door. If you are in the High Country area many local farmers stands, shops and grocery stores sell Cheese Curds for Sale that were made by our cheese crafters.
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How To Thaw Cheese Curds
To use frozen cheese curds, remove the quantity you want from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Do not thaw cheese curds at room temperature on the counter, as bacteria can start to grow. Once they are thawed, you can either eat them plain, or add them to your favourite recipe. Unused cheese curds will keep for a few days in the fridge. Do not refreeze previously frozen cheese curds.
Reviews For 16 Oz Natural Cheddar Cheese Curds
Audrey Holmes March 15, 2019
5 star rating for these!! They make a wonderful snack with green grapes that is cholesterol free. Heating them in the microwave for a few seconds as suggested really brings out the flavor!
Carolyn E Byard June 10, 2019
We live in Oregon and these are the best cheese curds I have been able to get in a long time. I grew up in Upper Michigan and we put some curds in our coffee in the am for a little while and spoon them out when warm, not melted. I have a few for breakfast every morning still as long as I can get these. Memories of growing up!
Barbara Kellerman December 2, 2019
Ordering from Vero Beach, Florida. Saw one bag in a local Publix, and hadnt had cheese curds since living in New England. Grabbed the bag and they are oh, so good! I found a cheese store about 10 miles from me, but not sure when I can get there so online it is!
Kathy D. April 19, 2020
These are the best cheese curds ever.. Im addicted to them. Also the people who work here are extra caring and so friendly. Excellent place to visit for gifts too!!!!
Sissy September 26, 2020
These are the real thing!!! I like to put 5 or 6 on a plate , microwave until the edges are brown, the curds will melt together but its fantastic!!
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Flavored Curds Are Increasingly Popular
You wont find just white and yellow cheese curds anymore. Cheesemakers are becoming extra creative with the variety they offer.
Flavored cheese curds have also become very popular, Wills says. Examples include Cajun, olive, horseradish, garlic, scorpion pepper, and ranch. We have even dipped skewered cheese curds in a chocolate fountain. Wills even offers pizza-flavored cheese curds.
So Lets Make Homemade Fried Cheese Curds
These ALDI cheese curds do indeed have the perfect squeaky, chewy, cheese-curds-ish quality youd look for in authentic Wisconsin cheese curds. Theyre of course good to snack on right out of the bag or just slightly warmed, but then I started thinking about fried cheese curds but then, about how much I dont like to fry things in my kitchen because of the amount of oil it takes and the smell that lingers.
So, the thought process continues why not throw together a batch of homemade oven fried cheese curds? I also had a box of panko Id picked up on special buy at ALDI a while back, so decided that would impart a nice little crunch to these and help offset the oven baking process.
A little panko, a little flour, a little egg, a little seasoning, and how could these homemade cheese curds go wrong? Yes, breading each of these little cheese curds is a slightly messy process. But then again, breading anything is a slightly messy process we suffer through it for the deliciousness of the end result.
See, these are just crazy messy little lumps of cheesy deliciousness. But sometimes the proof of a recipe is really in the taste, not the eye candy. Why should you have to wait for the state fair to roll around in order to enjoy a cheese curd experience, right? Plus, with this recipe the breading doesnt overwhelm the cheese curds but adds just enough flavor and crunch to enhance them.
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How To Keep Cheese Curds For Longer
One way you can make sure that your cheese curds will last for longer, while also keeping their great taste, is to use a food saver. These devices will help perfectly seal your freezer bags or your containers, taking out all the air in there, which slows down the process and helps preserve the flavors.
Our favorite is the FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine, which is an awesome device that works with a wide range of bags and containers, allowing you to have tons of flexibility here.
Cheese Curds Are Baby Cheddar
A cheese curd isnt a special kind of cheese. Its just a young cheddar, one that hasnt been aged at all. These curds are separated from the whey during the cheesemaking process, and instead of being molded for a future cheese wheel, theyre sliced up and bagged to be sold right away.
All cheese starts with curds that stick together to form cheese. But, most varieties of cheese start with small pieces between the size of a grain of rice and the eraser on a pencil, Wills says. The larger cheese curds that people are familiar with come as a part of the traditional cheddaring process. In that process, the small curds stick together into slabs which are turned and stacked repeatedly to remove excess whey and air that can be entrapped. This results in smooth, homogenous mats that are then milled into larger curds. This cheesemaking process was developed to make cheddar cheese that can age for years. It is a great irony that the curds became a popular snack to be consume within hours.
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How Long To Air Fry Frozen Cheese Curds
Air frying frozen cheese curds should not take more than six minutes at 400°F. If you cook using 350°F, let the cheese curds fry for seven or eight minutes.
Be mindful of the time it takes because this particular food does not take long before it is fully done and if you let it overcook, you will most likely have undesirably melted cheese and overly crisp cheese curds.
The optimum cooking time for cheese curds in an air fryer is six minutes at 400°F.
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- Creamy white, Wisconsin cheddar curd interior
- Dusted with a touch of garlic for enhanced flavor
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- Great appetizer or addition to any late night menu
- Ships frozen
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Learn all about the different classifications of cheeses.
Cheeses are first identified by their type of curd , which in turn places them in different families. The family of cheese dictates how they should be eaten, cooked, served, stored, etc.
How Do I Make Cheese Curds At Home Some Tips
- How Do I Make Cheese Curds At Home Some Tips
Where can I buy cheese curds? This is a question many homemakers ask when they are expecting some guests at home. Local grocery shops and online sellers are the right answer to the question where can I buy cheese curds. Yet unfortunately, it is hard to find fresh cheese curds at the local shops or online stores.
According to cheese experts, like most other dairy products, cheese curds do not last longer. They are supposed to be consumed at as early as possible. So it is better to learn how to prepare cheese curds at home rather than spending your precious time searching where can I buy cheese curds.
Cheese curds are the fresh curds removed from the milk in the cheese making process. They have the same firmness that of the cheese. The main thing that differentiates cheese curds from cheese is their texture. Cheese curds have rubbery or springy texture.
How do I know the cheese curds I have are fresh?
The best way to test cheese curds is to take one of them and bite. If it is fresh, it would squeak. In the opinion of cheese experts, this squeaking nature is the defining characteristic of fresh cheese curds. The freshness of cheese curds will last for around twelve hours, even if you keep them in the refrigerator.
Certainly, you cannot find fresh cheese curds that are less than twelve hours old in a supermarket or grocery shop. So, the best thing you can do is to prepare them at home.
Cheese curd making
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How To Best Appreciate Them
Fresh curd cheeses are very kid-friendly. They are spreadable, make great desserts, can be incorporated in pastries and are excellent in sauces and stuffings. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a snack with fresh cut vegetables or as dessert with fruit or jam, fresh curd cheeses are always a favourite.
The Cheese Curd Process
Milk from our dairy is first pasteurized before it is ready for cheesemaking. When the milk is at ninety degrees the first ingredient, cheese culture, is added to the milk. Cheese culture, which activates the milk and turns the milk sugars into lactic acid, is also a key ingredient to identifying the cheeses character after aging.
The next ingredient added is rennet. This ingredient is an enzyme that causes the milk to coagulate, a very fascinating part of cheese making, as the cheese sets up like custard in approximately twenty minutes. It is then time to cut the curd.
This is done by placing curd knives into the vat. These curd knives are basically sets of wires that run horizontally and vertically and cut the entire vat from top to bottom into quarter inch cubes. These cubes are very soft and fragile at first but as they cook, they firm up and continue to release more whey.
Cooking the curd is a very delicate process as we heat the vat with steam from ninety degrees to 102 degrees only allowing it to rise two degrees every five minutes. When the curd is completely cooked we will have 600 pounds of curds from 6000 pounds of milk. Approximately ten percent becomes cheese.
Once the curds are cooked and have reached the correct consistency, we push them to the back of the vat and drain off the whey. The whey that has been drained is eventually spread on neighboring farm fields as fertilizer.
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Can You Freeze Cheese Curds Yes But Follow These Rules
If you love cheese, then cheese curds are probably among your favorites too. Cheese curds are super tasty and you may want to keep some for later too, instead of having them all in one go.
Should you be in this situation, you should definitely consider freezing some of those cheese curds, so you dont end up throwing them out.
Saz’s Pepper Jack Sticks
DESCRIPTION: Sazs Beer Battered Pepper Jack Cheese Sticks are the take home, ready to heat & eat version of the Sazs Leinenkugels® Beer Battered Pepper Jack Sticks you love at Sazs Restaurant & Festivals. Sazs Beer Battered Pepper Jack Sticks are all Natural Wisconsin Cheese, in a light egg roll skin coated with Leinenkugels® Beer Batter. A favorite of Wisconsin cheese lovers!
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What Is The Best Cheese Curd
Best Sellers in Cheese Curds
Frozen Cheese Curds In Air Fryer Temperature
The best temperature to air fry frozen cheese curds is at 400°F. At this temperature, you must allow the cheese curds to cook for approximately six minutes.
Before you begin the cooking properly, preheat your air fryer by setting it at 400°F for a maximum of five minutes.
The importance of preheating is to ensure that the air fryer is ready for the task ahead.
When you preheat the air fryer before starting your cooking, you are more guaranteed consistency in the texture of the cooked food. Also, the taste of the cheese curds will be topnotch and crispness with being even all over.
Once you have achieved the preheating, you can place your cheese curds in the air fryer.
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Not All Cheese Curds Are The Same
Wisconsin natives are taking issue with this frozen appetizer being labeled “Wisconsin cheddar” . To be fair, while many areas make their own types of cheddar cheese, the Wisconsin variety is both a distinct and also highly versatile cheese definitely something to be proud of. True natives of the state don’t take kindly to a watered down version of their local favorites. As original poster and taster MikeDorty said, “As a Wisconsinite all I can say is: my disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.”
You might think the Redditor is being dramatic, but their feelings are actually rather mild compared to others. Said drsheep422, “You should know better.” And user NoDownsideToOutside added, “Any fried cheese curd that doesn’t come from a bowling alley or carnival in WI is a waste.” Although, they hedged their advice with an edit, noting someone could make “a strong case can be made for MI, MN, and maybe IA, as long as the cheese is sourced from Wisconsin.”
When it comes to proper fried cheese, poster MrPickEm seems to have the sum of the situation, “Look, I am also from Wisconsin, I understand the ache to get curds and the heartbreak when they are bad, so I feel you.” The Redditor went on to say, “BUT if you bought boxed curds thinking they were going to be good…. that kinda seems like you knew what you were walking into.”
How To Cook Cheese Curds In Air Fryer
Air fryers brought some good news with them when they were invented, and one of the good news is that you can now cook frozen cheese curds using an air fryer to achieve the best taste at the least calories.
Cheese curds are wonderful as appetizers and can also be eaten as a snack. It is as easy to make as Frozen Pizza, Frozen French Fries, and Frozen Chicken. They can be cooked with the use of the best air fryer following well-explained procedures as we will outline here. Here, you will see the very best way to air fry cheese curds without losing taste nor compromising quality.
For what its worth, it is time you cleared out the noise about the danger of deep frying your favorite foods traditionally because you can now achieve the deep-fry craving of cheese curds using an air fryer.
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How To Freeze Cheese Curds
To freeze cheese curds, you want to make sure they dont all clump together. The moisture in the cheese can sometimes make the curds stick together upon freezing. Heres how to do this:
- First, toss the cheese curds in a bit of flour or cornstarch. This will absorb the excess liquid and keep them from sticking to each other.
- Then, place the cheese curds in a freezer bag. Remove the excess air, then seal the bag.
- Label and date it, and place it in the coldest part of the freezer. Be careful not to place anything heavy on top of the cheese curds, or they will get squished.