Definition: Clean Break
Several cheese making recipes call for a "clean break" prior to cutting the curd.
As the 'curd' forms the milk mixture should now be a solid mass that looks something like thick yoghurt.
To check the curd to see if it is ready to cut, take your knife (or your finger) and insert it into the centre of the curd and make a small cut. Slide the knife (or finger) under the cut in the curd, and gently lift the curd to see if you get a “clean break’. The curd should split along a clean line, and not be too soft or milky.
If the curd is still too soft, leave it for another five minutes and check it again. Continue to do this until you get a ‘clean break’. Here is another photo of a 'clean break' for your reference:
Due to different milk fat content, and other variables, it may take longer than specified in the directions. To achieve a clean break, patience is the key.
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