What Is “Bread Cheese”?
Juustoleipä, or “bread cheese,” is a buttery, slightly sweet cheese native to Scandinavia. If you want to be authentic, try pronouncing it: hoo-stah-lee-pa. Contrary to the name, there’s no bread in bread cheese. Its name comes from its gorgeous, slightly charred crust that looks an awful lot like a piece of bread. It’s not your average cheese.
Traditionally made with reindeer milk, Wisconsin cheesemakers have adopted this Scandinavian transplant and now make it with cow’s milk for an authentic, but unique take on juustoleipä.
Cheesemakers like Brunkow Cheese and Carr Valley Cheese take fresh cheese curds and press them into bread-sized blocks. Then, the blocks are baked in special ovens that caramelize the sugars on the outside of the cheese. This process gives bread cheese its gorgeous lightly-browned crust reminiscent of toasted bread. Feeling adventurous yet? Explore Wisconsin’s “wildcard” cheeses, we’re sure you’ll find a new favorite among these tasty misfits of the cheese world.
What Does It Taste Like?
Bread cheese has a soft, buttery texture and mild flavor. You can eat it cold or warm, but many people prefer it warm, where the texture turns from slightly “squeaky” to silky and smooth. Warming the cheese doesn’t melt it, but rather softens it slightly—similar to Halloumi. Some people describe the texture of warm bread cheese as similar to French toast.
What Should You Eat It With?
Grilling bread cheese until it gets smoky and gooey is a great way to create a bread-less grilled cheese, so if you’re trying out the Keto diet, you’re in luck.
Any toppings you like on your grilled cheese—fresh tomato slices, roasted tomato soup, bacon, fig jam—will be tasty with bread cheese.
You can also chop up your grilled bread cheese and serve with honey, fruit, and nuts. If you don’t have a grill, a microwave or stovetop is an easy way to bring some bread cheese into your life. Just warm it for 10-20 seconds, and you’re well on your way to cheese heaven.
What Wine Should I Pair with Bread Cheese?
Traditionally, juustoleipä is paired with a cup of hot coffee. That’s right: it’s breakfast cheese. Because there’s no bad time for cheese. In fact, many people dip their grilled juustoleipä into the coffee!
If you’re not a coffee fan, pair your bread cheese with a crisp, cold lager or pilsner. If you’re in the mood for wine, opt for a sweeter white like riesling, pinot gris, or Grüner Veltliner. Looking for more wine pairing ideas? We’ve got a whole list for you that covers everything you need to pair like a pro.
FAQs: Bread Cheese
What kind of cheese is bread cheese?
Bread cheese, sometimes called juustoleipä, is a dense, squeaky cheese that originates from Scandinavia. Its signature caramelized crust is made from baking the cheese curds until gently toasted. It’s like if you made the world’s best grilled cheese, but without any bread.
Why is it called bread cheese?
Bread cheese is baked in special ovens until the sugars on the outside of the cheese caramelize. In addition to imparting the cheese with a slightly sweet flavor, it gives the cheese a toasted crust—just like a toasted piece of bread, hence the name!
What does bread cheese taste like?
Bread cheese is mild, with a slightly sweet crust due to the caramelized sugars. When served cold, bread cheese is “squeaky” like fresh cheese curds. When grilled, it softens slightly and develops a buttery, supple texture.
What is bread cheese good with?
Bread cheese is delicious with just about any topping that you’d have on a grilled cheese. For a sweeter meal, try it with honey, jam, or fresh fruit. We love it warmed up with strawberry-rhubarb jam. If you’re in the mood for something more savory, try it with fresh tomato slices, caramelized onion, or bacon. Or all three—we won’t judge.