Curds and whey are both formed from milk. Try out the experiment below to make your own curds and whey. Learn how to make sculptures out of milk!
Curds and Whey - Making Milk Sculptures
- Microwave-safe glass bowl
- 1 ½ cups skim milk
- 4 tsp white vinegar
- Pour the milk into your microwave safe bowl.
- Add the white vinegar and stir thoroughly.
- Microwave the milk/vinegar mixture for 2 minutes.
- Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. You should now notice two separate substances. The solid substance is called the “curd,” and the liquid substance is called the “whey.”
- Pour the contents of the bowl into a strainer. (Make sure you have another bowl beneath the strainer to catch the liquid).
- Once the curd has cooled, pick it up. It will feel rubbery and will be moldable! Shape it into a curd sculpture! If you would like, let it air dry. If you let it air-dry for several days, it will eventually harden into a plastic-like form.
What's Going ON?
- Milk contains carbohydrates (lactose), fats, proteins (casein), vitamins and minerals, and enzymes.
- When vinegar (acetic acid) is added to milk it causes the protein (casein) in milk to clump together into solid masses. The molecules of the protein are very similar to the molecules in plastic. For this reason, the appearance of the solid curd as it hardens if very similar to plastic.
- This process of turning the casein protein in milk to curd is known as coagulation. It can be achieved using a variety of edible acids. For a twist on the experiment, try using lemon juice or another type of vinegar instead of white vinegar.
- Fun Fact: The coagulating process is actually the very first step in cheese-making!