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What Is Bread Cheese? A Guide To Flavor, Heating & Storage

What Is Bread Cheese? A Guide To Flavor, Heating & Storage

What is bread cheese? Discover all about this lesser-known cheese variety here! Get insights on its taste and the best ways to store it.

Bread cheese is a unique dairy product that holds a special place in various cuisines, particularly in Nordic and Finnish cultures.

Unlike traditional cheeses, bread cheese has a distinct texture and preparation method that sets it apart. 

This comprehensive guide will explore its origins, production process, taste profile, culinary applications, and all the essential information about this lesser-known cheese variety.

What is bread cheese?

Bread cheese, also known as “juustoleipä” in Finnish, is a type of cheese that has been baked during its production process, resulting in a distinctive browned or charred exterior. 

Traditionally, it was made from reindeer milk, but modern versions are more commonly produced from cow’s milk. 

The baking process not only provides the cheese with its signature crust but also yields a springy, chewy texture within. 

But when served cold, bread cheese has a “squeaky” texture similar to fresh cheese curds.

The cheese does not contain any bread ingredients, but its bread-like appearance after baking–particularly the golden-brown crust–is the reason behind its evocative name. 

Often enjoyed warm and dipped in coffee or served with cloudberry jam, bread cheese offers a savory taste with a hint of sweet flavor from its caramelized crust.

What does bread cheese taste like?

Bread cheese has a creamy, buttery flavor with a slight salty hint. 

It also has a gentle tang, similar to fresh cheeses, that adds depth to its taste. 

A defining feature of this cheese is its caramelized or toasted exterior,  similar to the crust of a well-baked loaf of bread. 

This toasted quality gives the cheese its delightful complexity and inherent luxury, especially when it’s warmed and turns gooey.

Bread cheese vs halloumi

Bread cheese and halloumi are both types of cheese known for their unique ability to be grilled or fried without melting into a gooey mess. 

While they have some similarities, there are also notable differences:

Feature  Bread Cheese (Juustoleipä) Halloumi  
Origin and traditionScandinavian (Finland)Cyprus
Milk SourceOriginally reindeer milk, now cow’s milkGoat’s and sheep’s milk
Texture and TasteSqueaky, mild, butterySqueaky, briny, tangy
CookingGrilled, fried, rawGrilled, fried, raw
Use in DishesCoffee dip, jams, honeySalads, sandwiches, grill
ProductionBaked (golden-brown crust)Stored in brine
This table summarizes the differences between bread cheese and halloumi.

Bread cheese boasts a slightly springy, dense texture. When subjected to heat, its exterior crisps up, while the interior softens without losing its integrity. 

Its flavor profile is typically mild and buttery, making it versatile enough to be paired with everything from jams to honey. 

On the other hand, halloumi hails from Cyprus and is a semi-hard cheese with a layered, often squeaky texture. 

This cheese is known for its pronounced briny and tangy taste. 

While it can be consumed raw, halloumi is frequently grilled or fried, adding a unique touch to Mediterranean dishes, salads, and sandwiches. 

The global love affair with Mediterranean cuisine has made halloumi widely available in many parts of the world, while bread cheese is more commonly found in Nordic countries or areas with a notable Finnish diaspora, though its popularity is steadily growing.

How to eat bread cheese

Bread cheese has a high melting point, allowing it to be heated directly without melting into a gooey mess. This unique property offers several creative culinary uses:

How to heat up bread cheese

Heating up bread cheese is essential to enjoy its full flavor and gooey texture. Here are various methods to heat up bread cheese: 

Note: Times can vary based on the thickness of your bread cheese and individual appliance variations, so always keep an eye out and adjust as needed.

Pan-frying (Total time: 5 to 7 minutes)

Tools needed:

  • Bread cheese slices
  • Non-stick skillet, frying pan
  • Spatula


  1. Preheat a non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Place the bread cheese into the skillet.
  3. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until the cheese is golden brown. 
  4. Remove from the pan.

Oven-broiling (Total time: 6 to 10 minutes)

Tools needed:

  • Bread cheese slices
  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper, aluminum foil


  • Preheat your oven’s broiler.
  • Place the bread cheese on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Broil the cheese for 2 to 4 minutes on each side. 
  • Remove it from the oven once it’s golden brown and slightly melted.

Microwave (Total time: 30 seconds to 1 minute)

Tools needed:

  • Bread cheese
  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe plate


  • Place the bread cheese on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on high for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  • Check for desired doneness and remove from microwave.

Air Fryer (Total time: 8 to 10 minutes)

Tools needed:

  • Bread cheese
  • Air fryer


  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  • Place the bread cheese into the air fryer basket. 
  • Cook for 4 to 6 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. 
  • Remove from the air fryer.

How to store bread cheese

Bread cheese can be served in various ways, including grilled, fried, or cold. 

Proper storage ensures that it retains its texture and flavor. Here are some steps for storing fresh bread cheese:


Note: This method is suitable for non-pre-packaged bread cheese and bread cheese that has been opened. 

If the cheese is still sealed in its original packaging, store it in the refrigerator until its “best by” or “use by” date.

Tools needed

  • Bread cheese
  • Plastic wrap, aluminum foil
  • Airtight container


  • Use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover the cheese tightly.
  • Place the wrapped cheese in the box with the lid.
  • Put the box in the fridge, not on the door.
  • If you want, write the day you put it in the box so you remember.
  • Try to eat the cheese in a week or two for the best quality.


Tools needed:

  • Bread cheese
  • Plastic wrap, freezer paper
  • Resealable freezer bags
  • Permanent marker


  • Wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap or freezer paper. 
  • Place the wrapped cheese inside a resealable freezer bag. 
  • Write the date and content on the bag using the permanent marker. 
  • Place the sealed cheese in the freezer.

Chew tip: Always use clean utensils when cutting or handling the cheese to prevent contamination.

The best way to store leftover bread cheese (juustolepä)

Note: If the bread cheese has been heated (often served warmed), allow it to come to room temperature before storing it.

Tools needed:

  • Leftover bread cheese
  • Plastic wrap, aluminum foil
  • Airtight container
  • Refrigerator


  • Let the cheese become cool if it’s warm.
  • Use plastic wrap or foil to cover the cheese tightly.
  • Place the wrapped cheese in a closed box or container.
  • Store the cheese in the refrigerator.

Where to buy bread cheese?

Depending on your location, you might be able to find bread cheese in various places:

  • Local grocery stores. Check specialty stores for unique cheeses like bread cheese.
  • Cheese shops. Cheese shops often offer various cheeses, including unique varieties like bread cheese.
  • Online retailers. Find bread cheese on Amazon or specialty food websites.

The bottom line

Bread cheese is more than just a dairy product; it’s a culinary delight that bridges cultures and flavors. 

Its ability to pair well with diverse ingredients while maintaining its own unique taste is a testament to its culinary appeal. 

Whether enjoyed as a simple snack or creatively incorporated into elaborate dishes, bread cheese continues to inspire food enthusiasts and ignite a sense of discovery in the world of gastronomy.

More About Cheese

How To Heat Up Bread Cheese In Air Fryer

How To Heat Up Bread Cheese In Air Fryer

Refer to this guide when you're planning to learn how to heat up bread cheese using an air fryer.


  • Bread cheese
  • Air fryer
  • Tongs
  • Serving plate


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  2. Place the bread cheese into the air fryer basket. 
  3. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. 
  4. Remove the hot cheese from the air fryer with tongs to the serving plate.

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