One of the best things about living in a small Midwestern city is my proximity to some seriously yummy, homegrown snacks. As busy working parents with a hectic social life and an active little girl, we hit up our local Amish market more than I’d care to admit for fresh-baked treats and quality produce. And there’s one certain product that we never leave without: Squeaky cheese!
As a girl who has always lived in Indiana with an awesome Amish market just a few miles away, it never even occurred to me that this tasty little bit of dairy wouldn’t be available to everyone, everywhere. But when the wonderful Carrie Murphy and I were discussing “Farmer’s Cheese” this morning, I realized that our family snack might not be so well-known. And I decided to educate you all. Seriously, this is a product you want to know about.
Squeaky cheese can almost only be found in and around dairy farms, because squeaky cheese comes from super fresh cheese curds. Some choose to leave the curds separate pieces, though my local farm presses them into a block. Within 24 hours, even with refrigeration, cheese curds lose their squeakiness and the amazingly fresh, springy texture. Their signature squeak comes from all the air trapped inside the porous cheese.
(It can be noted that some small markets might even dare to sell fresh raw-milk cheese, which are technically illegal here in the United States due to the possibility of bacteria that can make you sick. I am not, in any way, saying that my favorite market sells illegal cheese. No way. No Sir. Raw-milk cheeses do contain some awesome probiotics though.)
While many, sadly, think of cheese curds or squeaky cheese as something to be found deep-fried at Midwestern state fairs, this awesome product doesn’t need grease to be edible. My daughter and niece will grab a crumble of the stuff right off of the block for a snack with an apple or some crackers. It’s such a distinct flavor, that I have to admit I never use the stuff to cook. We simply sit it in the counter and munch on it throughout the day.
Considering how difficult it can be to procure squeaky cheese if you aren’t located near any dairy farms, some have tried to make DIY versions of the signature Midwestern cheese. Personally, I leave it to professionals, but you’re all welcome to try out Cheese Culture Mag’s recipe and let me know how it turned out!
Maybe next, we’ll have to talk about Sugar Cream Pie. Is that a thing everywhere? For your sake, I hope so.