Up until now I have been cutting curd with a long flat knife, which has served its purpose well. The vertical cuts are easy to make, but I always come unstuck with the horizontal cuts, which can be difficult to cut evenly and of a uniform size. I end up with big long lumps of curd that I have to re-cut as I begin to stir the curd.
This is a proverbial pain in the bottom, but is one of those things you have got to put up with when you make cheese with just equipment out of the kitchen.
A few months ago, a fellow cheese maker from Manitoba, Canada named David, contacted me about one of the cheese recipes that I posted and asked a few questions. We became cheese making pen pals so to speak, and the other week, he told me about a curd cutter that he made from stainless steel. Here is a picture of it.
It looks great, and I have always envied those commercial cheese makers that use this type of tool for making the horizontal cut in their curds. Anyway David describes how to use it as such;
“Cutting the curds diagonally from the top always resulted in lots of big pieces, certainly much bigger than the 1 cm that was stipulated. Mine is tapered because my pot slopes in from top to bottom and the width is the same as the radius of the pot. So I just push it down and rotate the pot 180 degrees, then do the vertical cuts. The whole thing is stainless steel with nylon fishing line as the cutting ‘wires’. It works very well for me anyway.”
I was so impress, that I asked him how to make one, with which he offered to make one for me out of wood and send it over to me here in Australia for free, as a thank you gift for all of my cheese tutorial videos. So on my doorstep yesterday, this curd cutter arrived. Click on the photo to enlarge.
This curd cutter is a work of art! The attention to detail is second to none. The wood is very stiff, and I think it may be maple as David mentioned that this was probably a perfect wood for the task. The cross bars are dowel, and it is screwed and glued together. The cutting wires are nylon fishing wire and the entire tool is lacquered and solid as a rock.
Thank you so much David, I shall use it during my next cheese making session on Friday and let you know how it goes. I am over the moon!
@ Caitlin. I agree, it is a fabulous tool.
@ B. It was such a pleasure to use. Even though I had to make the final cut with a knife, you saw the curd after it was cut. I did not have to do anything else except stir!
@ John. Thanks for dropping by. I think I might have the sterilisation issue covered. The wood is laquered so no issue there, and I simply rinsed with water and then sprayed with vinegar. I will do the same thing again before I use it. This is how I sterilize my cheese moulds and have had no issues so far.
@ Good idea in theory however you would just end up with small square noodles, and still have to make the vertical cut.
OK so why not also run the fishing line vertically to get both cuts done at the same time?
Have been closely following your site for a little while, and confess I've made a few variations to some of my humble cheeses based on hints and method. Successful.
As a matter of interest, I like the curd cutter, however, it may present sanitisation issues! My research some time ago put me in contact with Steve Shapson at: thecheesemaker.com, which is based in Wisconsin, America.
He sells a "Stainless Steel Curd Cutter". I bought one when he had them of special a little while age, and when the Australian dollar was bit better. Postage from the States was very reasonable. All stainless, and works like a treat. Might be worth a look at the website if interested. If only the were made in Oz!
Keep up the good work Gavin. Blessed are the cheese makers, as Steve says.
Your pen pal is very talented. It is a "work of art".
b from arkansas
Brilliant! David should start selling these! I was just saying in my recent Pepper Jack post that I always have trouble with curd cutting and wish something like this existed.