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Oven cheese with cloudberries The traditional Finnish oven cheese is a type of unripened cheese with a firm but soft, slightly rubbery texture and a mild flavour.

It is made by curdling cows' milk with rennet. The resulting curds are drained and pressed into a flat disk against a wooden plate. The cheese disk is then browned on its surface on both sides by broiling it briefly over open fire. In the northern part of Finland, also reindeer milk has traditionally been used to produce the cheese.

The oven cheese may be served either as a savoury snack or dessert with fresh cloudberries or cloudberry jam (see the picture). The traditional way of serving the cheese, typical to the region of Kainuu in the central-east Finland, is to serve it with coffee. The cheese is cut into small pieces and placed on the bottom of a coffee cup. The cup is filled with hot coffee. After the coffee has been drunk, the cheese is eaten with a spoon. The coffee lends its flavour to the cheese and softens it.

Another way is to serve the cheese baked in the oven until slightly softened. A dash of cream and brown sugar may be added to flavour the cheese while baking. The baked cheese is served hot, topped with fresh cloudberries or cloudberry jam.

The oven cheese contains about 20 to 22 % milk fat. Nowadays there are also lighter versions available, containing about 12 % milk fat.

The Finnish oven cheese may even be found in some parts of the United States among the Finnish/Scandinavian descendants, who may refer to it as "squeaky cheese" because of the squeaky sound and feel it yields when eaten. It may also be called by its two Finnish names, juustoleipä (= lit. cheese bread), or leipäjuusto (= lit. bread cheese).


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