Curds are a dairy product obtained by coagulating milk in a process called curdling. The coagulation can be caused by adding rennet or any edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then allowing it to coagulate. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or curds. Milk that has been left to sour (raw milk alone or pasteurized milk with added lactic acid bacteria) will also naturally produce curds, and sour milk cheeses are produced this way. Producing cheese curds is one of the first steps in cheesemaking; the curds are pressed and drained to varying amounts for different styles of cheese and different secondary agents (molds for blue cheeses, etc.) are introduced before the desired aging finishes the cheese. The remaining liquid, which contains only whey proteins, is the whey. In cow’s milk, 90 percent of the proteins are caseins.
In Indian English, used only in the Indian subcontinent, curd (or curds) is used to refer to the traditional homemade yogurt known as dahi, while paneer and Chhena are used to denote curdled milk.