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03/29/2017

~ Blessed are the Cheesemakers: Try Brick Cheese ~

IMG_7199Cheese.  It's one of my favorite foodie subjects.  I'd rather spend time in a cheese shop than a bakery any day of the week.  Give me a choice between a doughnut and a chunk of cheddar and I'm off to the pantry to get a box of crackers.  I like hard cheeses, soft cheeses, young cheeses and aged cheeses.  I like expensive imported cheeses, cheap American processed cheeses and a whole host of cheese balls and cheese spreads.  "Say cheese", is one of my favorite things to say from behind the camera.  There's more.  I get downright giddy when I come across a new-to-me cheese -- one I've never heard of.  That happened two days ago.  I came across a recipe that called for Wisconsin Brick Cheese, so, I ordered some on Amazon.  It arrived today.

"Say cheese!"  Meet my next-door neighbors -- the dairy cows! 

IMG_0279What is brick cheese?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Pic24Brick cheese is an all-American cows-milk cheese from Wisconsin dating back to 1877.  It was created by John Jossi, a 12-year-old, Swiss-born, cheese-making immigrant who came to America with his parents in 1857.  Two years later, at age 14, young Jossi was operating a small Limburger factory in Richwood, Wisconsin.  After marrying the daughter of a local cheesemaker, in 1873 he moved to New York, where he worked in a large Limburger plant.  There, he came up with the concept of making a cheese made with curd that was drier than that used for Limburger that could be pressed into the shape of bricks.  In 1877, he returned to Wisconsin where, in a newly-built plant, he started making Brick Cheese.  In 1883, he turned the factory over to his younger brother, who later sold it to Kraft, and fortunately, the legacy lives on. (Photo courtesy of cheesemaking.com.)

IMG_7188Brick cheese is white to pale yellow in color and can range from sweet, buttery and mild when young, to strong, sharp and savory when aged.  It  melts great, which means it can be used in a wide variety of dishes.  For starters, it goes great with crackers and fruit. It's the kind of cheese you want on your pizza, in your mac n' cheese, in your grilled-cheese sandwich, and, potatoes gratin (scalloped potatoes).

Store brick cheese in the warmest part of your refrigerator -- on the door or to the front of a shelf. If wrapped well and kept away from moisture, this cheese lasts for a long time -- several weeks or one-two months.  Once unwrapped, plan on using it within two weeks, and, if it develops a strong or offensive oder, discard it.  Recommended substitutions for brick cheese are Jack or Havarti.

IMG_7206Blessed are the cheesemakers @ Cheesers:

IMG_7214Blessed are the Cheesemakers:  Try Brick Cheese:   Recipe explains what brick cheese is and yields instructions for using and storing brick cheese.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife and/or cheese grater

IMG_0311Cook's Note:  "Juustoleipa" (hoo-stah-lee-pah), nicknamed "squeaky cheese", is another favorite of mine. Read my post: ~ Bread Cheese:  A Very Old Baltic Breakfast Treat ~ in Categories 9 or 16.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)

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