As part of our homesteading journey, we want to explore a lot of different DIY self-sufficient projects! In fact, part of the reason I got the two goats was with the intention of milking them when they came of age! With homegrown milk comes the option to make homemade cheese! Of course, we won’t be able to make cheese from our goat’s milk for a while longer, perhaps next fall. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying things out a bit early and it turns out that making your own homemade cheese – while a bit time consuming, isn’t very hard at all!
Learn Something New With Kristin
Feature 17 – Homemade Cheese Curds
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Why Make Cheese Curds?
The choice to make cheese curds was mostly a selfish one, to be honest. I love cheese curds! Some of you might not know this but I was born in Canada and before I met and married my husband I enjoyed a love affair with poutine. Poutine if you’re not aware, is a delicious concoction of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds.
Poutine is decidedly not keto (although you can make a keto version using fathead dough fries) but it’s also exceptionally hard to find fresh cheese curds in a lot of stores. Using shredded mozzarella works but it’s just not the same. Given the opportunity to try making my own cheese curd and enjoy delicious, delicious poutine again made this an easy decision and the cheat meal completely worth it.
What Do You Need To Make Cheese Curds?
While making cheese is not overly challenging it does require a few specialized ingredients and some time. Thankfully a lot of the time is just waiting – kind of like dough. The actual hands on part is pretty simple and takes very little time at all.
Some of these ingredients are very simple to find (like milk) but others can be a bit challenging (like rennet and cheese cultures). To save me some trouble and because it also came with a nice recipe book I just bought a cheese-making kit. There are quite a few options for this on amazon but the one I got is from Standing Stone Farms and I was pretty impressed with it. You can find their ultimate cheesemaking kit here
However if you want to try and hunt up the ingredients locally this is what you need!
Homemade Cheese Curds – Ingredients
- 1 Gallon Whole Cow’s Milk
- 1/4 tsp Mesophilic Culture
- 1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride
- 1/4 tsp Rennet
- 1/2 tsp Cheese or Kosher Salt
Other Equipment You Will Need
- Thermometer – They recommend an instant read variety.
- A couple of large pots
- Large slotted spoon
- Optional parchment paper
Process of Making Cheese
Depending on the kit you buy or the recipe you choose to follow the directions will differ slightly. I highly recommend following a recipe to make sure your curds turn out as delicious as they should!
The actual process of making the cheese curds however is pretty simple. It involves warming the milk and then adding the culture, rennet, and calcium chloride before letting the mixture sit. The recipe I used suggested letting the mixture sit for at least an hour and then testing it for a clean break.
Once you are happy with the break it’s time to slowly rewarm the cheese and periodically stir until you see the curds and liquid whey have separated very distinctly.
Remove your curds from the whey using a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer. Let them drain until they stop dripping which can take almost 30 minutes. Your curds should be a rather large mass on the bottom of the strainer at this time.
Remove the curds and use a kitchen knife to dice them up into pieces that are about 3/4 of a inch. Return the cut curds to the strainer and place the strainer on top of the remaining whey in the pot (don’t let them touch, pour out some whey if needed). Slowly warm the whey and let the heat pull ore moisture from your cheese curds. Periodically stir your curds to keep them from matting together. If they do, just cut them up again!
Let your curds sit on top of the warmed whey for one to two hours until biting into one is sort of squeaky sounding. At this point your curds are done and you can either eat them as is or line them up on parchment paper to dry for a further 12-18 hours.
I was far to impatient for this so we ate them right away for supper as poutine and loved them! I love this new cheese making kit and can’t wait to try the other recipes in the book. If you have ever been curious about making your own cheese I highly suggest checking this kit out!