Cheese 101: What are Cheese Curds?

Most cheese curds (at least the ones made in Wisconsin) are a cheddar cheese product. And even though the name suggests they might be a “less than tasty” item, they are delicious! Cheddar cheese curds are basically what cheddar cheese is before it is pressed into a block and aged (cheddar cheese you see in your grocery store is aged – usually at least 60 days and up to several years). It’s a very fresh product (think baby cheese or newborn cheese!) and it tastes best when eaten as soon after being made as possible. In my opinion cheese curds taste best the same day they are made but that’s not an option for a lot of people. I’m lucky enough to live near several cheese factories that make cheese curds so I go purchase them on the days they make them.

Cheese 101: What are Cheese Curds

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PhillyBite10 I’m a Wisconsin girl so I like to think that I know cheese. It is one of the products the state is well known for and is something I grew up eating quite often, especially during the holidays. That was because we used to receive a 5-pound block of cheese every year as a Christmas present. Five pounds of cheese was a lot of cheese to eat, even for a family like ours who loved cheese but since we were usually given cheddar cheese I didn’t mind. Cheddar was my favorite cheese when I was a child and is still my favorite kind of cheese.

The Squeaky Delights of Wisconsin Cheese Curds: A Cheese Lover's Guide

Wisconsin cheese curds are a culinary phenomenon, celebrated for their unique texture, squeaky sound, and irresistibly fresh flavor. These "newborn" cheeses, made primarily from cheddar, offer a delightful experience for dairy enthusiasts.

The Freshness Factor

Unlike aged cheddar found in supermarkets, cheese curds are enjoyed at their youngest stage, ideally on the day they are made. This freshness ensures a mild, salty flavor and a springy, rubbery texture that produces a delightful squeak when bitten into.

Flavorful Varieties

While traditional yellow or orange cheddar curds are the most common, a rainbow of flavors awaits. White cheddar, garlic, dill, jalapeno, Cajun, pesto, chipotle, and paprika are just a few of the options available, each offering a unique twist on the classic taste.

Cheese Curd Origins and Availability

Though primarily associated with cheddar, cheese curds can also be made from colby, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack cheeses. While you might find "fresh" curds at your local grocery store, they may not be as fresh as you think. For the ultimate cheese curd experience, order directly from a Wisconsin cheese factory that ships them the same day they're made.

The Squeak: A Delightful Quirk

One of the most endearing qualities of cheese curds is their signature squeak. This playful sound is produced by the fresh curd's proteins rubbing against your teeth, adding a unique sensory element to the experience. It's no wonder kids find them so fun to eat!

Beyond Fresh: Deep-Fried Goodness

If you're looking for a more indulgent treat, deep-fried cheese curds are a must-try. While not the healthiest option, they are undeniably delicious, with the crispy exterior giving way to a warm, melted center. You can use a variety of batters, but beer batter is a popular choice, especially in Wisconsin.

Embrace the Squeak

If you haven't had the pleasure of tasting cheese curds, it's time to expand your dairy horizons. Even those who aren't avid cheese fans often find themselves charmed by the fresh, mild flavor and playful squeak of these unique treats. So, go ahead and indulge in the squeaky goodness of Wisconsin cheese curds!

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