What can be done with sloppy curd?

One of the nightmares of every DIY cheese maker. The curd is not formed and remains of a consistency that resembles dense yoghurt; there’s no break achievable, let alone clean. You leave it alone day and night, still no chance. Taste and smell veering inexorably towards Acciu’s beloved baby’s vomit: you just have to throw it all away!

Well, I do not throw anything away. Unless it’s completely liquid, which only happens if your rennet has failed completely, it is thick enough to be trapped in muslin. Leave the curdle slob to drain overnight and you can at least filter away the whey. Better salt a little because at this point the curd is full of partying bacteria, and someone might have crushed the party. Once it’s reasonably drained, put it (with the muslin) in a container, and place it in a steamer at low temperature (50-60 C max), so more whey will leave. The consistency should rise at least up to that of a tomino, so you can remove the curd from the mould and put it in the fridge. It must remain there until it is manageable without a container and a muslin, which means at least 4-5 days.

After that, dry salt the surface (brine would be tragic) and leave it to mature. Keep a closer eye for strange smells or mould on this one, it’s been around a while. Both steaming the refrigerator dry out the cheese of course, so better resort to these methods for as short as possible and lower expectations.

Sloppy_goat_1In my case, I had two litres of goat’s milk from the supermarket, mixed with one of raw milk cow and sheep’s yoghurt as starter. I believed I had found a fantastic recipe, the cultured milk was delicious. Maybe it was my fault, I may have put too much yoghurt or left it for too long … but I doubt it, I couldn’t stop eating it from the jar. The curd was sad from the beginning, and even after about twenty hours nothing happened. Taking courage in both hands, I followed the steps above and in the end the result was a couple of good tomini and a dry dry goatie. The taste was not terrible, but the paste was crumbly and tasted a little dried out goat butter. Finally, in the rescue manoeuvres I went nuts trying not to pour the sloppy curd everywhere and at one point I insulted Cheese. Well, at the same time my mozzarella was melting into boiling water, my hands were burning and I wanted to go for a snowball fight with Acciughina.

But these are just excuses, Cheese should never be insulted.

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