How to make Curds and Whey

How to make Curds and Whey

Curds and whey is the generic name given to curdled milk, which separates into lumps of cheese called curds and a liquid called whey. You can curdle milk in a few different ways, to create different types of cheese. The way that we tried today makes a ricotta-like cheese. (Technically ricotta cheese is made using a combination of regular milk and leftover whey from making another cheese, but since we weren’t making another cheese, we’ve used straight regular milk for our recipe instead.) This is a similar method used to make paneer or queso-blanco cheese as well.
 
Ingredients

  • 2 cups of regular pasteurised whole milk (not UHT)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • paper towel
  • regular kitchen materials, such as saucepan, bowls, measuring jug, measuring spoons, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, colander, fine sieve, cooking thermometer (optional)
  • and a cheeky child to help!

Method

  1. Line colander with 2 layers of paper towel, and set over a medium sized bowl. (You want a bowl deep enough to contain the liquid, but narrow enough that the colander sits high on top.)
  2. Add milk to saucepan.
  3. Stir continuously as you heat the milk over low heat, stopping just before it reaches 80oC (175oF) on your thermometer (or until the milk looks like it’s about to start simmering). Remove from heat.
  4. Add salt.
  5. Add vinegar. Stir gently for 5 seconds. The milk should separate into lumps of white curds and translucent, slightly yellow-ish liquid whey.
  6. Using a slotted spoon or fine sieve, gently transfer curds to the paper-lined colander. Allow to drain until desired texture is reached.

Bumble Bee helped gather the ingredients. She helped prepare the paper-towel lined colander. She helped pour and measure the milk.

I chose to heat and stir the milk myself. Older kids might be able to do this step, but Bumble Bee jiggles around a bit too much to be safe near a stove-top just yet. She happily went off and played, knowing that I would call her back for the next bit.

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