Colby Cheese: Everything You Need to Know
Our readers know that we love to share our cheese knowledge with you and today is no exception. We’re going to tell you everything we know about Colby Cheese so that you can try it next time you’re picking up some cheese.
What is Colby Cheese?
Colby cheese is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that is native to the United States, although today it is also made in other regions of the world as well. Although it is similar to cheddar cheese in its orange or yellow appearance, it has a much milder and creamier taste.
How is it made?
Milk is heated and has cultures added to it before rennet coagulates the curds of the cheese. The curds are cut and then cooked to remove any moisture before being washed in cold water. This reduces the acid content of the cheese by depriving the bacteria of lactose, their food source. This gives a much less tangy cheese when it is finished and also restores moisture to the cheese, making it softer than cheddar.
Once the curds have been drained, pressed, and salted, the cheese can be aged for four to six weeks. You might enjoy having a go at making Colby if you are looking for a cheese to try that doesn’t require months of aging.
History of Colby Cheese
This cheese was developed in the late 19th century by Joseph Steinwand, the son of a Wisconsin cheese maker. He named the cheese after the town in which the family had built their first dairy, and Colby, Wisconsin continues to celebrate Colby cheese today. As Wisconsin cheese caught the public eye across America, Colby also became very popular. It is considered to be one of the first truly American cheeses, as it was developed by an American in the United States, and was not intended to be an imitation of any European cheese.
How should I eat it?
Colby cheese goes very well with rye bread, apples, and pears as it is creamy and complements their acidity. Some people like to use Colby as a table cheese, either served in slices or cubes. It’s a particularly great snack for kids who might not like stronger cheeses. The gentle flavor works well in a grilled sandwich, especially if you are including other ingredients that you don’t want to overpower.
We like to grate this cheese over salads or dishes that need a last minute creamy addition. Generally, though, we might not use it in cooked dishes as the flavor can be lost. To truly appreciate it, simply slicing it and enjoying it with crackers with let you enjoy both the flavor and texture.
What should I drink with it?
Colby has such a mild and smooth flavor that it will pair well with many wines. Avoid something too fruity as it might overpower the cheese entirely. We recommend Syrah or Shiraz if you prefer red wine, or a Riesling for white wine lovers.
How do you like to enjoy Colby cheese? Let us know in the comments!