QA6 – Why Didn’t My Curd Knit Together?

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Curd KnitIf you’ve ever pressed a cheese and ended up with curd that has failed to knit together, you’ll know how disappointing this dilemma is. I certainly do!

The point of pressing your cheese is to not only expel the whey but it is also how the small curds are knitted together to form the smooth shape, texture and density of the cheese.

When the curds don’t knit properly you will get a range of results from creases, cracks and crevices throughout the cheese, or a complete catastrophe of curd that doesn’t form any kind of shape or mass and just falls apart.

So what causes a lack of knit with cheese curds?

There are a couple of likely explanations if your curds don’t knit together.

The first, and most common reason, is a lack of sufficient pressure or pressing time when molding the curds, particularly with hard cheeses like Cheddar.

It is important to follow the recipe guides for pressing weights and durations with your cheese making but also take into account if you have made a larger batch or are using a mold which might alter how the pressure is applied. For example deeper molds may require more surface pressure to compensate for the density and springiness of the curds.

Another reason you may experience a poor knit with your curd is due to the temperature of the curd when it was time to press.

If the curd is too cold when you put it into the mold, it can be very difficult to get a good knit for your cheese as the curd firms up.

If you are living in colder climates and keeping your curd warm prior to and during the pressing is a problem, one way to keep your curd warm enough is to press in the pot.

To do this, put your empty, clean stockpot in the sink. Put your cheese, in its mold, into the stockpot and then put your first weight requirement from the recipe on top to press the cheese. Plate weights are good for this purpose.

Next fill the sink with hot water so that the inside of the pot reaches approximately 30 degrees Celsius and put the lid on. Keep your cheese pressing in the pot for the first press and 2nd press (after the first turn).

The warmth of the pot will also warm the curd and should help them to knit nicely together to form a fabulous cheese.

On the flipside, curd that is too hot can also have problems. If you warm your curd too quickly during the make a skin can form on the surface of the curd and can retard the knitting process so it’s important to keep your curd within the recommended temperatures to avoid problems.

So if you’re struggling with getting a good curd knit keep an eye on your pressing weight and times, and also your curd temperatures. And if you are still having problems with your cheese, post a comment below and let the Curd-Nerd community help you out : )

For more information about pressing your cheese, check out these posts:

The Pressing Issue About Cheese
Why Did My Curd Stick To My Cheese Cloth

Pressing Your Cheese –  Bringing It All Together

8 Comments

  1. Hi I have just found your blog by chance, are you the same curd nerd that I met at the cheese fest? Are you going to be there on the 29th? If so I’ll see you there!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

    • curdnerd

      Hi Alessandra

      Welcome to Curd-Nerd!

      Unfortunately no, it wasn’t me you met at Cheese Fest. You might have met this chap. He is also Curd Nerd on Twitter and regularly posts about all things Cheese too.

    • Hi Alessandra,

      Stumbled by here and found a reference to me, as you do. I was at awards gala dinner and fest, busy busy it was. Let’s hook up. Nice website Curd-Nerd, let’s hook up too. 🙂

      • curdnerd

        Hey CurdNerd : )

        Great to see you here! Glad you were able to hook back up with Alessandra.

        We’re hooked up, kind of. Am a follower of yours on Twitter so keep up to date with all your posts there.

  2. Pingback: Why Your Camembert Isn't Growing White Mold | Curd-Nerd

  3. Samantha

    So can you fix curds not knitting together if you get to it quick enough? e.g. My BF and I just made parmesan and I let the curds cool too much prior to putting in the mold. This was only last night! So today.. it is soaking in the brine. Can I now throw it back in the mold for 12 hours? As it will be wet now, will it help knit back together OR am I just squeezing the salty goodness out?
    Help! Please!

    • Curd-Nerd

      Hi Samantha

      Unfortunately, by the time you had left the curds to cool, and then soaked them in brine, it would have been impossible for your curds to knit together. Soaking the curds in brine overnight would have caused them to begin forming a rind as such, a hardened edge which would prevent knitting with the rest of the curds. Sorry! But I think this is one of those attempts that will need to go down as experience and learning : )

  4. It is really important to keep the curds warm. While I am waiting for the correct pH to develop in the curd, I keep the curds in a large commercial colander over a bucket of hot water and cover all with a lid. It is helpful to keep the curds at 38 degrees Celsius at this time. While in the colander, it is easy to cut and turn the curds regularly to assist drainage. After I have milled the curd (when the correct pH of 5.3 is reached, the milled curds are again kept warm in the pot over hot water while the salt is added. You will find the warm curds knit beautifully. Make the first curd/cheese turn in the mould after 15 minutes in the press and then leave for 12 hours before turning again.

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