How Real Wisconsin Cheese Curds Are Made at This 60-Year-Old Creamery

Renard’s Cheese is known for making some of the best cheese curds in Door County, Wisconsin.

Cheese curds! Can you name a more quintessential food in Wisconsin? Wisconsin cheese curds have a signature orange color, they have a unique flavor that can vary depending on the batch, and, most importantly, when you bite into them, they must, must squeak, which tells you the curd is a good one. We’re here in Door County, and we’re about to meet Chris Renard, a third-generation artisanal cheesemaker who’s been making cheese his entire life. They’re going to show us how milk turns into this savory, squeaky snack. The process itself takes four hours. It starts with cheesemakers releasing 20,000 pounds of pasteurized whole milk into a large open vat.

Chris Renard: All the milk that comes in today we’ll make into cheese tomorrow. For every 10 pounds of milk, you get about 1 pound of cheese on average.

Medha: Luckily, Wisconsin is the perfect place to get all this milk locally. The state has about 1.3 million cows. And with that much dairy available, they take cheese production seriously. It’s the only state in the United States that requires a special license to sell any cheese of any kind, including curds. Chris gets his milk from 24 family farms in the area that work together with the dairy plant as a cheesemaking ecosystem.

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