Country of origin: Finland
Type: semi-hard, artisan
Fat content: 12%
Flavour: salty, sweet
Aroma: fresh, pleasant, sweet
Producers: Wisconsin Cheese
Synonyms: Leipäjuusto, Finnish squeaky cheese, reindeer cheese, juusto
Juustoleipä, also known as Leipäjuusto or juusto, originally comes from Southern Ostrobothnia, Northern Finland and Kainuu. It is known in English as 'Finnish squeaky cheese'. Other dialects have various names such as narskujuusto that depict the way that fresh leipäjuusto "squeaks" against the teeth when bitten. Among all its synonyms, leipäjuusto is the more commonly known name.
Leipäjuusto is a fresh cheese made from cow's beestings, rich milk from a cow that has recently calved. It can be made also from reindeer or even goat's milk. The cheese is called 'Leipäjuusto' (bread cheese) or 'Juustoleipa' (cheese bread) since it is 'toasted' during its preparation. The oven cheese contains about 20 to 22% milk fat while today's lighter versions contain about 12% milk fat.
Traditionally, people used to let leipäjuusto get totally dried so that they could then store it for up to several years. For eating, they used to heat the almost rock hard Leipäjuusto cheese on a fire to soften it and to produce appetizing aroma. Even today, the cheese is dried by keeping it in a well ventilated area for a few days. But, unlike its older version, it has a mild flavour.