So there I am, minding my own business, scanning over the hundred-and-some-odd cheeses that populate my favorite local market’s cold case. The usual suspects are there in force: cheddar varieties for days, countless Camemberts, some funky monkey “pistachio-infused” wedge in coordinating green. And then I spot bread cheese.
What, what? Bread cheese? I mean, I’ve done bread + cheese, but ne’er without the two entering into our engagement as initially separate entities. Rick, the archetypal cheese man in his cute tweed derby cap, likens it to a grilling cheese. “The flavor is pretty mild,” he tells me, “like a halloumi but not as salty. People buy it up like crazy and eat it for breakfast and dessert. I guess you could use it as a savory snack, too. That would be good.” In the basket it goes.
Juustoleipa, as the Finnish call their native creation, translates to “cheese bread.” The idea is that this cheese is made and then baked, giving it a beautiful signature golden-brown surface appearance. To serve it, the Finnish recommend warming it in a microwave or an oven to soften the center. They’re wicked fancy and traditionally make theirs with reindeer milk, but we mostly get cow’s milk varieties in the U.S. Echoing Rick’s comment, it’s usually served as a breakfast or dessert item smothered in preserves or honey and nuts, but I’ve got other plans.
Combining some Greek salad-inspired flavors of tomato, olive, cucumber and oregano, this surprisingly filling meal offers a fun bit of something different from the typical pasta/rice/polenta portion of dinner. It’s got a great chewy (some say “squeaky”) texture that’s just as satisfying as any traditional carbohydrate. Give it a whirl, and leave me a comment below or on Facebook and let me know what you did with it!