If you’re a cheese lover in Australia, you may have heard of curd cheese, also known as cheese curds.
But what exactly is it? And how does it differ from other popular cheeses like bocconcini, burrata, haloumi, and mozzarella?
In this article, we’ll explore the world of curd cheese in Australia, its history, production process, and how it’s enjoyed.
Whether you’re a seasoned cheese connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of dairy delights, read on to discover everything you need to know about curd cheese in Australia.
What Is Curd Cheese In Australia?
Curd cheese, also known as cheese curds, is a type of fresh cheese that is made from curdled milk. It has a unique texture that is rubbery and springy, and it’s often referred to as “squeaky cheese” because of the sound it makes when you bite into it.
Unlike other popular cheeses like bocconcini, burrata, haloumi, and mozzarella, curd cheese is not molded into a specific shape. Instead, it’s sold in small pieces or chunks.
Curd cheese has a mild and slightly tangy flavor that is similar to cheddar cheese. It’s usually white or yellow in color, depending on the type of milk used to make it.
What Is Curd Cheese?
Curd cheese is a type of fresh cheese that is made by curdling milk and separating the solid curds from the liquid whey. It’s a young cheese that hasn’t gone through the aging process, which gives it a unique texture and flavor. The curds are cut or chopped into small pieces and salt is added to enhance the taste.
Curd cheese is commonly made from cheddar cheese, but it can also be made from other types of cheese like Muenster and Colby. It’s usually sold in small pieces or chunks, and it’s often eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient in dishes like poutine.
One of the defining characteristics of curd cheese is its rubbery and springy texture. When you bite into it, it makes a distinctive squeaking sound, which is why it’s sometimes called “squeaky cheese.” The flavor of curd cheese is mild and slightly tangy, similar to cheddar cheese.
In Australia, curd cheese may not be as widely available as in other countries like the United States and Canada, where it’s a popular regional delicacy. However, it can be found in specialty cheese shops or online retailers. Curd cheese can be enjoyed on its own as a snack or used in a variety of dishes to add a unique texture and flavor.
The History Of Curd Cheese In Australia
The history of curd cheese in Australia is an interesting one. For many years, raw cheeses were banned in Australia due to safety concerns. However, this ban has since been lifted, and curd cheese has become more widely available throughout the country.
One of the main sources of curd cheese in Australia is Pure Dairy, a company that sources its cheese curds from Wisconsin in the United States. Pure Dairy’s cheese curds are individually quick frozen, which helps to preserve their taste, texture, and nutritional value.
While curd cheese is not a traditional Australian cheese, it has gained popularity in recent years. It’s often used in dishes like poutine, a Canadian dish that features French fries smothered in fresh cheese curds and brown gravy.
How Curd Cheese Is Made
Curd cheese is made by adding starter culture and rennet to pasteurized milk. The rennet causes the milk solids to separate from the liquid whey, resulting in curdled milk. The curdled milk is then cut into cubes, creating a mixture of whey and curd.
The mixture is then cooked and pressed to release the whey from the curd. This process creates the final product, which is cheese curds. Cheese curds are typically made from cheddar cheese, but other types of cheese like Colby and Monterey Jack can also be used.
During the cheesemaking process, the milk is acidified using starter culture, and then coagulated using rennet. The coagulated milk is cut and heated, separating the liquid whey from the solid curds. The process of cheddaring then begins, where the curds are stacked, cut up, pressed together, and stacked again repeatedly. This process releases more moisture and gives the curds their unique texture.
The curds are then run through a mill and milled into 2 to 3-inch pieces before being salted. The final product is fresh cheese curds that have a rubbery or springy texture and a mild cheddar-like flavor.
In Australia, cheese curds can be found through wholesale foodservice distributors like Pure Dairy, who source their cheese curds from Wisconsin to ensure the best quality. The cheese curds are individually quick frozen to preserve their taste, texture, nutritional value, and squeak. They can be stored for up to 210 days and are perfect for making dishes like Poutine or enjoying as a snack on their own.
The Difference Between Curd Cheese And Other Popular Cheeses
Curd cheese is often compared to other popular cheeses, but there are some key differences that set it apart. One of the main differences is that curd cheese is not aged like other cheeses. It’s made from fresh curds that are not pressed or aged, which gives it a unique texture and flavor.
Bocconcini, burrata, haloumi, and mozzarella are all stretched-curd cheeses, which means that they are made by heating the curds in water until they become elastic and then kneading and pulling them into threads. These cheeses are measured by the amount of moisture in the cheese, their size and shape, and the conditions in which they’re aged.
Curd cheese, on the other hand, is not stretched or molded into a specific shape. It’s sold in small pieces or chunks and has a mild flavor that is similar to cheddar cheese. It’s not aged at all and has a rubbery, springy texture that sets it apart from other cheeses.
Another difference between curd cheese and other popular cheeses is that it’s not widely available in supermarkets. Unlike bocconcini, burrata, haloumi, and mozzarella, which can be found in most grocery stores, curd cheese is typically only available in specialty cheese shops or at farmers’ markets.
How To Enjoy Curd Cheese
Curd cheese can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. The best way to enjoy it is as fresh as possible, ideally straight from the cheese factory or store. When it’s fresh, the cheese curds will have a distinct squeaky texture that adds to the overall experience of eating them.
One popular way to enjoy curd cheese is by deep-frying it. This method of preparation is especially popular in Wisconsin, where cheese curds are a staple snack food. Deep-fried curd cheese has a crispy exterior and a soft, gooey interior that is irresistible.
Another classic way to enjoy curd cheese is by adding it to poutine, a Canadian dish made with French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. The combination of crispy fries, savory gravy, and squeaky cheese curds is a match made in heaven.
Curd cheese can also be used in salads or as a topping for pizza or nachos. Its mild flavor and unique texture make it a versatile ingredient that can add depth and interest to many different dishes.
If you’re looking for a simple way to enjoy curd cheese, try it on its own as a snack. The mild flavor and unique texture make it a satisfying and tasty treat.
Where To Find Curd Cheese In Australia
If you’re a fan of curd cheese and you’re wondering where to find it in Australia, you’re in luck. While it used to be difficult to find curd cheese in Australia due to safety restrictions, it’s now more widely available thanks to companies like Pure Dairy.
Pure Dairy sells their Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) cheese curds to wholesale food service distributors across Australia. If you’re interested in purchasing their cheese curds, you can contact their head office to find out if your local distributor stocks them.
It’s important to note that curd cheese is best consumed fresh, so it’s generally sold at the manufacturing site. However, Pure Dairy’s IQF technology allows for quicker and more efficient freezing, so you can still enjoy their cheese curds in bulk even if you don’t live near the manufacturing site.
Aside from Pure Dairy, there are also other small family-owned US factories that produce curd cheese. However, they may not be able to export fresh cheese curds in bulk to local grocery stores due to logistical and technological limitations.