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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seymour Dairy Products' Cheese Hybrid

Wisconsin company creates Weinlëse Cheddar Blue Cheese

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When Seymour Dairy Products President Mike Brennenstuhl sought to expand his cheese company's product line, he faced some considerable restrictions. As a company specializing in blue cheeses, the blue-mold spores in the air of Seymour's factory limit it to producing vein cheeses. But Brennenstuhl wanted to create something firmer and more functional than the typical blue cheese.

What he came up with was the company's new Weinlëse Cheddar Blue Cheese, a product with the sturdy texture and creaminess of a medium golden cheddar, but the distinct finish of a mild blue cheese. Weinlëse slices easier than blue cheese, so it is easy to serve on crackers, and it melts readily, making it an excellent cooking cheese and perfect for gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches.

“It's truly a unique cheese, a Wisconsin original,” Brennenstuhl says. “There have been cheese-makers who have tried to combine separate cheddar and blue cheeses together into one cheese, but Weinlëse is different because it's all made in one vat. That means we really have to give it very special attention when we cure it. It's handled much different from a standard blue cheese or Gorgonzola, and the process is very labor intensive.”

Brennenstuhl's growing Seymour, Wis.-based company staffs four cheesemakers who handle the bulk of production, but Brennenstuhl makes each small batch of Weinlëse himself, using organic, RGH-free milk from Red Barn Family Farms, a small Appleton-based dairy company. The labor and premium ingredients make Weinlëse Seymour Dairy Products' most expensive cheese by far, with a suggested retail price of between $25 and $30 per pound. It's available locally at select artisanal cheese retailers, including Larry's Market and some Sendik's stores.

“It's not a cheese for the masses,” Brennenstuhl says. “We never designed the cheese to be the big super hit. This is the cheese that is specific to somebody who wants to try something that is totally different from what they've had before.”
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