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Are cheese curds good?

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jrmd Aug 16, 2007 01:42 PM

I have a vague memory of eating them as a child. They were squeaky, salty and delicious. I recently saw orange cheddar cheese curds at Trader Joes and was intrigued. Has anyone tried them?

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  1. s
    swsidejim RE: jrmd Aug 16, 2007 01:47 PM

    I dont shop @ Trader Joes so I have no idea about their product, but on a recent trip to Wisconsin we picked up a few bags of ceese curds, and we love them. I even got a mixed bag that had cheddar cheese, hot pepper cheese, and little sticks of smoked sausages. good eatin

    6 Replies
    1. re: swsidejim
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      fryrose RE: swsidejim Aug 16, 2007 03:01 PM

      Hopefully the curds will match your childhood memories. The problem with cheese curds is that they must be fresh to impart their full fresh taste and squeakiness. If they are not fresh, they don't squeak. I guess I am a big kid because if I don't get the squeak I feel cheated.

      1. re: fryrose
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        Steve RE: fryrose Aug 24, 2007 02:08 PM

        I go to a producers-only Farmers Market and there is a guy who has a limited supply of cheese curds (along with some other cheeses). Cheese is all he has. They are delicious, he says they are completely fresh, but I can't get them to squeak. Comments?

        1. re: Steve
          Ruth Lafler RE: Steve Aug 25, 2007 12:09 AM

          There's a cheese maker at Farmers Markets in the Bay Area that has cheese curds, and they don't squeak. I think it's because they use very rich, high-fat guernsey cow milk, which makes their cheese soft and a little greasy. On the other hand, there's another cheese vendor that has cheese curds that do squeak -- they're in the Central Valley, and they might do markets in SoCal: Oakdale Cheese Co.

          I bought my first cheese curds at the Tillamook factory in Oregon -- they make great road-trip snacks.

          What area have people seen them at TJ's?

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            j
            jrmd RE: Ruth Lafler Aug 25, 2007 02:58 PM

            I saw them in the Boston area, but haven't tried them. The color was a little off putting.

            1. re: jrmd
              Ruth Lafler RE: jrmd Sep 4, 2007 11:10 AM

              Yikes! They are pretty orange. Apparently, color preferrence for cheddar cheese is regional: Wisconsin cheddars are usually orange, and Vermont cheddars are usually white, so New Englanders are likely to be put off by orange cheddar.

              But back to the curds: I bought some and they didn't squeak. The label said the squeak could be restored by warming them in the microwave, but I didn't find that to be true. Cheese curds that don't squeak are worthless, IMHO -- the package I bought is now earmarked for dog training treats.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler
              JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: Ruth Lafler Sep 4, 2007 01:09 PM

              I saw them here in Phoenix for 3.49 a package.

      2. Living4fun RE: jrmd Aug 16, 2007 03:15 PM

        Cheese curds are a staple here in Wisconsin. They are best fresh and they do squeak. They come in all kinds of flavors: garlic, smoked, jalapeno, ranch to name a few. The flavoring is seasoning sprinkled on. When we do have some in the house that are older than a couple of days, I find zapping thime in the microwave for a few seconds brings back the squeak.

        A great bar food is fried cheese curds, beer battered and fried. Nothing like fried fat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Living4fun
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          coasterphil RE: Living4fun Aug 20, 2007 07:16 PM

          Fried cheese curds are absolutely heavenly. That along with cream puffs is the reason I miss going to the WI state fair every year.

          1. re: coasterphil
            The Dairy Queen RE: coasterphil Aug 24, 2007 11:13 AM

            Here is a link to my cheese curd photos from my visit to the MN State Fair yesterday. Salty, greasy, gooey and wayyyyyyyy too hot, but something I have to have once a year.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43406...

            Does anyone know what makes the cheese curds so salty?

            ~TDQ

        2. Pylon RE: jrmd Aug 16, 2007 07:24 PM

          The ones I've tried have all been bland, but they were OK. I'd imagine fresh ones in the flavors mentioned here would be very tasty.

          1. k
            KevinB RE: jrmd Aug 16, 2007 07:27 PM

            The people of Quebec developed the most interesting way to enjoy cheese curds; they put them on top of french fries, and then cover the whole mess with brown gravy. It's called "poutine", and it's artery-cloggin', heart-stoppin' fun!

            7 Replies
            1. re: KevinB
              hangrygirl RE: KevinB Aug 19, 2007 05:03 AM

              And, I'm ashamed to add, KevinB, absolutely delicious. I went to university in Kingston (Ontario - so not in Quebec), but the poutine they serve at Bubba's is probably the best (and most unhealthy) junk food you'll ever eat.

              1. re: ekammin
                k
                KevinB RE: ekammin Aug 22, 2007 02:03 AM

                Yep, even Burger King and New York Fries now offer poutine!

                1. re: hangrygirl
                  John Manzo RE: hangrygirl Aug 20, 2007 06:11 PM

                  Poutine is available everywhere in Canada, coast to coast to coast.

                  1. re: John Manzo
                    LNG212 RE: John Manzo Aug 20, 2007 07:35 PM

                    Poutine's a thing here in New York now too. I remember cheese curds from when I lived in Toronto. Yummy! I've never found them here in the city; but we often find them upstate. They aren't as good as the ones from T.O. and the ones upstate don't squeak. I agree with fryrose that if they don't squeak I feel cheated.

                    1. re: LNG212
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                      KevinB RE: LNG212 Aug 22, 2007 02:04 AM

                      I seem to recall that some restaurant in Manhattan (probably Bourdin) offered poutine with foie gras on top.

                    2. re: John Manzo
                      stellamystar RE: John Manzo Aug 24, 2007 11:08 AM

                      Wish it would come to Chicago (land of hot dogs, pizza, and beef sandwiches) - we could use another goodie! Poutine - please hurry!

                      1. re: stellamystar
                        hangrygirl RE: stellamystar Aug 28, 2007 07:17 AM

                        I actually stumbled upon a poutine place when I was in Hong Kong - some Canadians had set up shop and were selling it in a takeaway joint. I was surprised to say the least! It was actually tasty - although not as wonderful as Bubba's Poutine in Kingston, Ontario...

                2. b
                  BRIANTHEFOODUDE RE: jrmd Aug 20, 2007 07:45 PM

                  I had some cheese curds from Quebec last week. I forgot how great they are :)
                  I wonder if I can get some in Southern California/ Orange county? Now I'm squeaky cleand out ...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: BRIANTHEFOODUDE
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                    brendastarlet RE: BRIANTHEFOODUDE Aug 24, 2007 11:14 AM

                    I saw those cheese curds at TJ's too and wondered how they were. Somehow, it seems like they'd be too "packaged" and you'd need to do something with them.

                    A&W Root Beer offers cheese curds in the Midwest, at least, I'm not sure about other parts of the country. OMG, are they good, and they aren't even the real Wisconsin thing, I can only imagine what those are like.

                    1. re: brendastarlet
                      The Dairy Queen RE: brendastarlet Aug 24, 2007 11:19 AM

                      If you want squeaky cheese curds, they have to be only a few hours old or they lose their squeak. I can't speak with authority about TJ's sourcing, but I have a hard time believing their curds are fresh enough to squeak. They might be okay for breading and deep frying and such...or melting over poutine.

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        CHEFBUCK RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 29, 2007 04:50 AM

                        Find Buffalo Cheese curd. Simmer highly salted water in a large pot. Put cheese curd in. Take it out and start kneeding it and stretching it. Continue 6-8 times. Eventually will turn into buffalo Mozzerella. Anything floating in the water is rocotta cheese.

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
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                          Barry Foy RE: The Dairy Queen Aug 30, 2007 07:55 AM

                          Cheese curds are as tasty as can be, BUT THERE'S A CATCH: Like tomatoes, they die (though not as dead as tomatoes do) once they're refrigerated. In southern Quebec, home of the mightiest, squeaky-salty-moist cheese curds, they're sold sealed in a plastic bag and as yet unrefrigerated. They're said to be good for 24 hours that way. Once chilled, though, they are magically transformed into fairly standard industrial cheddar. The quality of Quebec poutine won't be outdone as long as these curds are available. One warning, though: If the place you're buying your poutine is grating the cheese on top rather than melting whole curds (an alarming trend lately), run away as fast as you can.

                    2. tsfirefly RE: jrmd Aug 29, 2007 12:41 AM

                      We used to live in central CA near the Hilmar Cheese Company, where we could buy curds (sold as "Squeakers") that you could literally watch them take out of the cheesemaking facility and bag right there in front of you. Our CA Nugget markets sell cheese curds, for a pretty penny mind you, but sadly they are NOT the same...

                      1. Azizeh Barjesteh RE: jrmd Aug 29, 2007 12:48 AM

                        Near Boise, there's a a cheese factory. The best part of the place is the fresh cheese curds. Or, Squeaky Cheese, as we'd call it. I'm not sure how the TJ variety is, but it's worth a shot. You can leave them out to room temperature to bring the squeak back, at least with the real ones.

                        1. Veggo RE: jrmd Aug 29, 2007 01:01 AM

                          I have noticed cheddar cheese curds in a few markets but I have never bought them because I don't know how they are eaten/used/cooked - can someone enlighten me? And what is this "squeak" factor? thanks.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo
                            DockPotato RE: Veggo Aug 29, 2007 02:43 AM

                            Curd is the last stage of cheddar before it is pressed into wheels for aging. Eat them like peanuts, straight up. You'll experience a salty, mild-cheesey taste with a fine, rubbery texture.

                            We get ours by the bag, about a pound or less, at the nearby Pine River Cheese and Butter Co-op. On weekdays they come straight out of the plant and are fresh and more rubbery, so they cling to our teeth as we bite through them producing a very pleasing "squeaky" sensation. On weekends the plant is not in operation so the curds are older and don't "squeak." Nonetheless, they are still impossible to put aside after the first one.

                            1. re: DockPotato
                              Veggo RE: DockPotato Aug 29, 2007 09:20 AM

                              Hey, thanks, DockPotato. I'm a cheese mouse plus I like salt (I salt ham), so I'll pick up a container and...eat my curds away! Mine won't be as squeaky fresh as yours.

                              1. re: DockPotato
                                Veggo RE: DockPotato Aug 31, 2007 03:57 PM

                                I'm nibbling through my first pint container as I sip a cheap red. They are exactly as you described, but more buttery than rubbery, like a havarti. This is no rat-trap cheese! Yum.

                                1. re: DockPotato
                                  Veggo RE: DockPotato Sep 1, 2007 04:17 AM

                                  Another thought: great snack food to bring on an airplane.

                              2. s
                                SusanSDG RE: jrmd Sep 1, 2007 07:46 PM

                                Here in Wisconsin, as others have stated, we buy the curd fresh from the factory before it is completely cooled. Once refrigerated they lose their squeak and most of their flavor. They're not horrible, but they're just not the same.

                                1. gaylenwaydelich RE: jrmd Sep 4, 2007 08:40 PM

                                  Cheese curds rock when they are fresh. Otherwise it's just misshaped chucks of cheese. I was so excited to find cheesecurds at my local Trader Joe's in RPV tonight. Sadly they did not squeak. They were from WI which is where I bring my stash from - 10 lbs at a time and freeze. I use the cheese curds for my Mac n' Cheese. Because of the fresheness of the curds, the melting consistency is different than "aged" cheese. I use a mixture of curds, jack, and cheddar.

                                  Does anyone know why the "Real CA Cheese" (the co-op marketing group) has not introduced CA cheesecurds as an alternative to the little packages of string cheese? They could call them Squeaky Cheese.

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