What are cheese curds?
Cheese curds are little bites of cheesy heaven. They're small pieces of curdled milk, roughly the size of peanuts in the shell, with a mild and cheddar-like flavor. Fresh cheese curds have a rubbery texture that causes a squeak when you bite into them. Curds are often eaten plain or with herbs, garlic, and spices. Fried cheese curds are also popular.
How are cheese curds made?
Cheese curds are formed by additives are introduced to milk to acidify and coagulate it. The coagulated milk is cut and heated to separate the liquid whey from solid curds. Cheese curds are typically then "cheddared" by stacking them, cutting them up, pressing them together, and repeating the process. This releases moisture and gives the curds their unique texture. The curds are then cut into small pieces and salted to help retain their moisture.
Why are cheese curds squeaky?
The casein or milk protein structure in a fresh curd is fairly porous, with a certain amount of air trapped inside it. When we bite them, the contact of our teeth against a wet, rubbery curd creates a vibration at a frequency we can hear, producing a squeak.
Why are cheese curds called curds?
Cheese is made by curdling milk, which produces both whey (a liquid) and curds (milk solids). Cheese curds are literally freshly made curds.