Wisconsin Cheese Makers Adopt Baked Cheese (Juustoleipa) As Their Own

Imagine having the fate of your marriage depend on the quality of your mothers cheese-making skills. That's how it used to be in Scandinavia, where, legend has it, mothers of unmarried daughters once offered suitors a cup of coffee with homemade juustoleipa (baked cheese), and if the man complimented the cheese, he got the option to marry the daughter.

Often labeled as juusto, baked cheese is sold as a flat rectangle or square, and sports a splotchy brown crust. After pressing curds into blocks, the cheese forms its unique crust when heat from baking caramelizes the sugars on the outside of the cheese.

Today, the unique cheese, once made from reindeers milk, is a signature cows milk cheese of Wisconsin. Juustoleipa (pronounced YOO-stoh-LAY-pah) is a party mainstay, warmed on a griddle and served warm as an appetizer.

Made to eat warm, it does not melt and imparts a squeaky note with a mild, buttery flavor. In its home country of Finland, Laplanders often eat it for breakfast, dunking it in their coffee or enjoying it with maple syrup or honey.

While baked cheese may not equate into a marriage proposal in the United States, the cheese continues to grow in popularity. It seems that no matter by which name or trademarked title it goes by, baked cheese is in America's Dairyland to stay.

Excerpt from Original Article by Jeanne Carpenter, Madison Essentials.