Being a Wisconsin food blogger, I think it’s only appropriate that I make and blog about cheese curds. What are cheese curds you ask? Cheese curds are little chunks of cheese that are formed during the cheese making process. Instead of being pressed into a block of cheese and aged before reaching the end consumer, they are eaten fresh, preferably within hours of manufacturing. When you bite into a fresh cheese curd, you hear its characteristic “squeak.” You can eat cheese curds as is, but my favorite way to eat them (along with the rest of Wisconsin) is fried. Before coming to Wisconsin for school, I can honestly say I had never tried a cheese curd. Living only an hour south of the Wisconsin border my entire life and I had never even heard of the Wisconsin delicacy. But 5 years ago, my life was changed for the better. The cheese curd was introduced into my life and I hope it never leaves. I’m even seriously considering having a cheese curd bar crawl before I graduate. That’s how much I love these things. This was my second attempt at cheese curds. I tried a few weeks ago and failed miserably. The batter was too thick, the oil got too hot, and it was a mess. You really have to watch the oil on this and make sure it stays at 375F. You don’t want it too hot or too cold. I was constantly adjusting the heat on my stove to make sure it stayed at the correct temperature. This is definitely a project that you have to keep your eye on. Another thing that you may want to keep in mind is that you don’t want to do too many at one time. If you do more than 8 at a time it’s hard to keep track of them, they stick together, and then you have a greater chance of letting them burn. Of course, if you have a deep fryer this whole process would probably be a lot easier, but a pot and candy thermometer works fine. This attempt went much better and my roommates and I were able to enjoy cheese curds while we watched the Super Bowl.
12 oz. bag of fresh cheddar cheese curds, cold
12 oz. can light beer
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
vegetable oil, I used approximately 4 cups
In a medium sized pot, pour in vegetable oil. Attach candy thermometer to the side of the pot so that the tip is sticking in the oil. Place heat on medium and let it reach 375F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, pour in light beer. Let the foam die down a bit. Then add in the flour, salt and paprika. Mix until there are no more lumps. When the oil is at 375F, dip 6-8 cheese curds in the batter. Remove with a slotted spoon, spider spoon, or mesh sifter and tap off some of the excess batter. Carefully place cheese curds in the pot and fry for 1-2 minutes, until they are a golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat with remaining cheese curds. Serve with ranch or marinara sauce.
Source: Recipe from Tony Brueski’s Food Finds