This post is Part 5 of the continued basic home cheese making instructions. See the Curd Nerd Beginner page or the Basic Instructions category for previous parts.
With your curds all nicely cut and having had a 5 minute rest, for many recipes, the next step is to scald the curds.
Otherwise known as cooking the curds.
Why Do You Need To Scald Or Cook The Cheese Curd?
This part of the process helps to expel more whey and firm the curds up as well as increasing acidity.
Scalding the curd means bringing the curd up to a temperature between 35c and 38c degrees over 30-60 minute (usually).
One key is to not to increase the temperature too quickly unless the recipe states to. A good guide is raising the temperature of the curd by about 1c degree every 5 minutes.
If you raise the temperature too quickly the curds will develop a rind type surface and the whey will be held in the curd.
You may also find that due to this rind type surface, the curd will not knit together as well when pressing.
With correct cooking the whey will be properly expelled and you should notice the curd percentage in the pot shrink and the whey percentage increase.
It is important that during the scalding, you regularly gently stir your curds so that they do not mat together, and stick to the bottom of the pot.
After scalding (cooking) the curds will need to rest again for 5-10 minutes.
They you are ready to drain, mill or press!
Do you have any questions or comments about Home Cheese Making? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!