Q. With my first batch of curd cheese, the finished curds are not firm and rubbery and there is no squeak.
A. Once made, Cheese Curds only squeak for a short time. When you put them in the fridge, they no longer seem squeaky after a few days. That's why they're best eaten fresh. If they aren't squeaky when eaten fresh, you may have left too much moisture in the final cheese.
Q. I assumed the cheese curds should melt, but mine do not. They just get soft. Am I wrong in my assumption, or did something go wrong along the way of my making them. One variance I had from the recipe is when I tested the milk in step three to see if it was ready to cut, I had to give an extra half hour before the way would separate out clearly.
A. If the curds develop too much acidity or become too dry, this is typical for melting issues.
Specific to Basic Curd Recipe*
Q. What are these curds supposed to taste like before salting? My first attempt appeared to go as planned, but they came out tasting like not much of anything, just a hint of sweetness. Not bad, just not like store-bought curds I've had in the past which were more like a cheddar.
How exact/forgiving are the temperatures? In the first phase I briefly hit 100 and in the second I briefly hit 120. Was that enough to alter the final curd in a noticeable way?
A. The cheese curds are very basic and mild. If you are looking for a stronger flavor, we would recommend trying the Cheese Curds (Traditional) recipe, or making the Cheddar recipe up through Step 6: Milling and Salting the curd.
These recipes have a bit more of a ripening process that will bring out more flavor in the final curd. Regarding the temps, based on the steps you were in, those slight overages should not have affected the final curd too much, they may just have been a bit drier.