Know Your Wisconsin: Cheese Curds – How They’re Made

Air Date: 02/10/2021 -

When you think of Wisconsin cuisine, what’s more iconic than the cheese curd? Whether you prefer them deep-fried or squeaky fresh, cheesemakers go through a specific process to make the curds we know and love today. Cheesemakers start by warming up a vat of milk and adding a bacterial starter culture to give the curds their mild cheese flavor. Then they add rennet which causes the milk protein to aggregate and stick together. The cheese is then cut into tiny pieces and pressed against the side walls to drain as much whey as possible before the “cheddaring” process begins. What makes the squeaky sensation, you ask? Fresh curd is made of tightly woven protein mesh that’s held together by calcium. As you bite through the curd, the mesh rebounds and rubs across the enamel of your teeth. We agree with Bill Hanson from Arena Cheese who says, “A squeaky curd makes you happy!”

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