Bread Cheese (Carr Valley)
Located in the rolling hills of central Wisconsin, Carr Valley Cheese Co. remains one of Wisconsin's most traditional cheese plants, famous for its Wisconsin cheddar varieties, as well as a host of more modern cheeses. Now owned and operated by Sid Cook, Carr Valley was founded in 1908. Sid is a fourth generation cheesemaker. The first cheese plant that his father operated was in Carr Valley, where Sid worked with his father for several years before taking over the business in the mid 70's. He and his brother made Wisconsin-style cheddar at that location for ten years, eventually purchasing another cheesemaking facility in 1991, with a layout that would allow for more flexibility and the development of more styles of cheese. During this time Sid also learned how to make his own cultures from his father and grandfather. Carr Valley now sources cow's milk from 40 farms, all located within 20 miles of the plant, and each milking no more than 70 cows. Sheep's milk comes largely from one dairy and goat's milk from a group of eight farms in the Green Bay area. Carr Valley makes over 65 different cheeses. Bread cheese is Carr Valley’s twist on the traditional Finnish cheese Leipäjuusto. Once the curds have been separated from the whey, they are put into molds to drain. It is then baked in the oven, like bread, where the outside of the cheese caramelizes to a dark brown crust. This version of the cheese came in 3rd at the 2012 World Champion Cheese Competition.
Bread Cheese is designed to be eaten warm. Place the cheese in a heated in a non-stick skillet or frying pan and heat until each side is browned nicely and the texture of the cheese has softened.
Bread Cheese has a milky flavor with a bit of salt, and a springy texture that squeaks against the teeth. The browned crust lends a slight nuttiness to its otherwise mild flavor.
In Finland, bread cheese is enjoyed warm with coffee, and served with jam. Why break from tradition? It can also be served with honey or maple syrup, or as an addition to salads such as Panzanella.