What is curd. How to replace the curd

Curd and how to use it . If there is a topic that reaches me in the mail, this is the curd . Many of you, especially from across the pond, ask me a lot of questions about this ingredient.

For many unknown not only by name but by its use. In Spain it is very common, not only for its use in cheeses or in the famous dessert of Cantabria and the Basque Country. It can not be missed at breakfast or even as a dessert at parties and family meals.

But if we use curd blog for many recipes, from the successful chocolate cake , a cheesecake,  the cake sobaos and of course, the famous cake Three chocolate triumphs in all households. Well, it is a perfect gelatinizer, easy to use, with a creamy touch and that does not leave a subtle flavor to the dessert in which we use it. Yes, I repeat, it does not leave strange cheese flavors, if logically, it gives it a creamy touch similar to dairy. But nothing else.

To know more, I explain in this post a short summary of all the doubts that you have asked me and that I have been answering you over the years. I hope they help you.

What is curd?

  • The curd is a traditional dessert of the Navarran gastronomy that is made from fresh sheep’s milk and natural rennet (either animal rennet, coming from the mucosa of the fourth stomach or curdling from lactating ruminants – less than 30 days old). , or vegetable rennet, obtained from the flower of the thistle).
  • It is very likely that those of you who have been lucky enough to eat authentic curd think, like me, that it is one of the richest and most delicious desserts in our cuisine.
  • Finding fresh sheep milk outside the rural setting is difficult, so few of the lucky ones can enjoy this delicacy often.
  • For the rest of humans there are commercial tub curds (yogurt type) and some envelopes of powdered curd preparation, easy to find in supermarkets and food stores, with which we can prepare a dairy dessert at home that imitates really curd, natural. Neither option reaches the level of delicacy of natural curd.
  • The real curd, the real curd made in a traditional way, is unmatched. Its flavor, texture and creaminess are unique and inimitable.
  • The result obtained from the envelopes of powdered curd does not reach the height of the espadrille, however it is a preparation that gives a lot of play in the kitchen if it is used as an ingredient in the preparation of other desserts and sweets for its pleasant flavor dairy and gelling capacity.

What is curd powder or curd sachets made of?

  • Although we call the famous powders that you will find in all supermarkets curd, we are not talking about curd or rennet in use. It is a generic name for a use or use to help thicken, usually dairy desserts. In my case, I think it is beneficial, since it is easier for me to use than the famous neutral gelatin.
  • As the label shows, the powdered preparation for curd contains starch, fructose, thickener (E-407), sugar, stabilizer (E-339), flavorings and rennet.
  • In addition, as it happens in factories where a variety of products are produced and the consequence of a possible cross contamination.
  • It is advised that it may contain traces of wheat, milk and eggs. This makes it unsuitable for people with certain allergies , intolerances, and other dietary restrictions.
  • It is striking that, to prepare a dessert that in its natural version only takes fresh milk from sheep and rennet, so many ingredients are necessary.
  • The powdered preparation contains starch (of unknown origin), fructose (that is, sugar), thickener E 407 (a carrageenan from red algae), sugar again, stabilizer E339 (sodium phosphate with which acidity is regulated, the formation of clots is avoided and the antioxidant activity is increased), aromas (without information or added details) and rennet (of unknown origin).

How to replace the curd?

This product, which is found in Spain very easily (as we have indicated above), does not exist in the countries of residence of many of you, so it is very useful to know how we can substitute it in a recipe that includes it among its ingredients. Something perfectly feasible, as it is not an essential product.

Neutral gelatin

  • Whether in sheets or powders, the curd can be replaced by neutral gelatin. The amount of gelatin to use will depend on the brand, as not all have the same gelling power.
  • We recommend reading the directions on the package. As a reference we will tell you that, for example, if the recipe indicates that two curd envelopes (24 grams) are needed to curdle a liter of milk, in the case of gelatin it can be around 15-20 grams.
  • In any case, it is important to calculate the measurements well so as not to overdo the gelling agent and obtain an excessively hard result or, on the contrary, to fall short and that our dessert does not curdle and crumble. It may be necessary to do more than one test to find the exact formula.

Agar agar

  • Agar Agar is a natural gelling agent from algae that acts faster than neutral gelatin.
  • It does not alter the flavor of the main ingredients of the dessert so, if there is a need to incorporate a touch of dairy flavor, it will be necessary to add a little milk powder with which to get it.
  • On the blog you will find a recipe with agar agar, not necessarily desserts. Powdered agar is obtained exclusively from Gelidium red algae, capable of forming a transparent vegetable gelatin very rich in soluble fiber (94.8%) and minerals.
  • It is used to thicken and gel food, with a gelling power 10 times greater than that of animal gelatins without adding any flavor or odor.
  • It is very beneficial for health and for about a month it has been what I use in my kitchen to replace the famous jellies.
  • It is easy to use and serves both cold and hot dishes (also suitable for celiacs as it is gluten-free).

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