I know what you’re thinking.
“Why on earth would you take a risk on ANOTHER Nordic cheese when the first one went so disastrously?”
Full disclosure: this blog is not chronological and I actually tried bread cheese way beforegjetost. And yes, if I had let gjetost sour my view of all Scandanavian dairy, I probably wouldn’t have had the pleasure. But if you think I would let one bad experience prevent me from spending hard-earned money on food that has an extremely high risk of being terrible, you obviously don’t get the point of this blog.
Bread cheese is great. Wikipedia tells me it is from Finland and actually called Leipäjuusto, or “Finnish squeaky cheese.” I’m gonna just go ahead and keep calling it bread cheese, because that name evokes images of my two favorite things: bread and cheese. It is in the family of “non-melting” cheeses like halloumi and paneer. Much like halloumi and paneer, it is awesome.
Bread cheese is not that expensive on the cheese spectrum, but at ~$8 a slab it is a little too pricey for me to buy as a regular cheese snack. Some Finnish versions are made from reindeer milk (!!!) and I would easily pay twice as much to try those, but the kind I got is from boring Wisconsin and made from cow’s milk, so no.
The process of making bread cheese involves a toasting step, and as a result it has these delicious-looking browned spots all over it:
I basically can’t look at a block of cheese with toasted brown spots all over it and not buy it, so here we are.
The texture is pretty dry and chewy. Wikipedia says that the people of Finland would make this stuff for multi-year storage. This will be good information to have when my wife is demanding that I decide which of my precious cheese scraps to sacrifice in the weekly fridge purge. And yes, it does squeak when you bite into it, which I guess is cool, but we have already established that I don’t really care about that kind of thing.
The flavor is highly reminiscent of halloumi. If you haven’t tried halloumi (you should) it is basically an extremely salty mozzarella that you can fry in a pan. Because it’s extra salty and extra dry, I want to describe bread cheese as the beef jerky of cheese. However, I don’t want you to go thinking it is as chewy as beef jerky, because it is not. It still tastes and feels like cheese.
I am also completely fascinated by non-melting cheeses, so I decided to see what would happen if I microwaved a chunk for 10 seconds.
Here it is before:
Here it is after:
Holy crap. It sizzled like crazy and turned into a soft, airy nugget that tasted, looked and smelled like the browned top of an extra-cheese pizza (aka Heaven). I highly recommend doing this.
As for other methods of serving, Wikipedia also tells me it is good with sweet stuff, and can also be served as either a side dish with, or in (!!!) coffee. This is a wonderful coincidence, because I was also recently made aware that there are people out there putting butter in coffee and claiming that it tastes good and won’t kill you instantly. I am going to save the bread cheese/coffee experiment for a future “Weird Coffee” post, which will also conveniently give me an excuse to buy more bread cheese.
The Ez Factor:
Ezra took this cheese and ran with it. Meaning, he literally picked it up and ran away to another room to eat it. This is not normal behavior for him, and I’m assuming it means that not only did he like it, he was also paranoid that I would suddenly decide I enjoy eating cheese off of the floor and steal it back from him. Unlikely.