In search of the perfect curd

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Lynn Greene | June 8, 2014

When Marla Seacom returns to Walworth County each summer, she has three things on her food list: Cheese curds, cheese curds, cheese curds.

“I just love them, and I always thought they were only a Wisconsin thing, but I guess people are catching on because they actually have them at my farmers market (in Sonoma, California),” Seacom said.

Apparently, it's not enough that California competes with Wisconsin as the dairy state; now they are encroaching on our curd territory. The reason cheese curds always have been a regional delicacy is that they have to be fresh. That means they don't travel far from the creamery that produces them. Ideally, the curds should be eaten within hours of their making.

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Fresh cheese curds squeak, so sometimes they are called “squeaky cheese.” (The squeak has been described as sounding like two balloons trying to neck.) Getting fresh is definitely the secret to the squeak, although there is a scientific explanation, and it has nothing to do with losing air like a balloon when you bite into them.

“That's just a myth,” explains Ron Henningfeld, an East Troy native and head cheesemaker at Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee.

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