What Is Bread Cheese—Cheese or Bread?

Bread and cheese are two of the best foods in the world. I don’t know if a human could survive on bread and cheese alone, but I volunteer to find out. So you can imagine how stoked I was when I found out there’s a food out there called bread cheese. As soon as I learned about bread cheese, it was as if fireworks went off all around me. Granted, I learned about bread cheese at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That could have had something to do with it. But, what is bread cheese, exactly? How do you eat bread cheese? Is there garlic bread cheese? How come when I mention bread cheese, some Midwestern dude corrects me by saying it’s actually juustoleipä? Let’s unravel the mystery of the bread cheese!

What is bread cheese?

Bread cheese is fresh cheese curd that has been pressed and baked to make a unique, crusty, squeaky snack. So, wait, is there no actual bread in bread cheese? I haven’t been this caught off guard by a food name since I found out walnuts don’t grow on walls. But that’s right, bread cheese doesn’t really have any bread. It just gets a nice crust as it bakes, so it somewhat resembles toast. It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich made entirely out of cheese.

Bread cheese is made by curdling milk, pressing the curds through a strainer, then packing the cheese curd into blocks that are shaped like a slice of bread. The cheese is pressed then baked in a special oven. During the baking process, the sugars on the exterior of the cheese caramelize giving bread cheese its signature crust.

What is juustoleipä?

Bread cheese originated in Scandinavia where it’s called juustoleipä, pronounced yoo-stoh-lei-pah. These days, most bread cheese in the U.S. is made from cow’s milk and occasionally goat milk. But traditional Nordic juustoleipä was made with fresh reindeer milk. The traditional way of eating juustoleipä is to dip it in coffee. This really sounds like one of those “don’t knock it until you try it” kind of things. But to be honest, I’m probably not going to try it.

What is garlic bread cheese?

I really love garlic bread with cheese. Is garlic bread cheese the same thing? Well, it’s similar but without the bread. Garlic cheese bread is cheese bread that is covered in garlic powder before it’s baked. Both Trader Joe’s and Aldi sell garlic bread cheese as a limited specialty product. Trader Joe’s has also sold Pizza Bread Cheese, which we tried and totally loved. 

How to eat bread cheese?

Bread cheese has a mild, buttery flavor with a soft, squeaky texture. It’s similar to halloumi or paneer. With that flavor and texture, bread cheese is pretty versatile. Bread cheese can be eaten hot or cold. You can pair it with fruit or veggies on a crudité tray or throw it on a charcuterie board with a drizzle of honey. One popular way of eating bread cheese is to dip it in a marinara sauce like a mozzarella stick. Or you can go the Finnish route and dip it in coffee. The only wrong way to eat bread cheese is to not eat it!

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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