If you've had a dairy share for a while, I know you can relate. It's time to enter your dairy order, and yet...gah! It's hard to narrow it down to just three selections. I've been there so many times, in fact, that now my family is a two-dairy-share family, and each week we get six credits to use. This helps. It means we can have milk for drinking, kefir for smoothie making, butter for everything, blue cheese to feed my addiction, cheddar for dinners, and yogurt for quick breakfasts. But it also means we still have to choose what to go without - because with all the good options out there, narrowing it down is somehow still tricky. And it's really the cheese that makes this so hard. Perhaps because each time I think I've figured out the perfect weekly order, it seems there is a new cheese offering that comes available and makes it all tricky once more. In light of all the fabulous new cheese offerings, I thought it was time for a Brookford cheese-guide. Covered here is a general description of each cheese, whether or not the kids will like it, and how well it will melt to cover your food in gooey goodness. Go forth and try them all!
Raw Cheddar - This is a cheddar that all cheddar-lovers must try. It is at once mild and rich, sweet and tangy, creamy and slightly dry. This is a classic that my family has loved for years. The texture is perfect for shaving over toast, stews, vegetables, or eggs, but it is also satisfying as a snack all on its own. It remains the staple cheese in my kitchen.
Will the kids eat it? Most will. This cheddar is approachable and not too sharp. It does have a nice depth of flavor, so picky eaters may resist.
Is it meltable? Yes. We eat it both ways, depending on what we’re cooking.
Smoked Cheddar - In my house, we call this bacon-cheese. There is no bacon in it, but it is smoked in sweet hickory at the Green Mountain Smokehouse, and to my kids, smoked = bacon. It’s definitely my children’s favorite of all the Brookford cheeses, but the grown ups around here love it too. It’s smoky, slightly salty, nutty, and a little bit sweet. It always disappears too quickly from the refrigerator.
Will the kids eat it? Yes. You may find yourself fighting them for it.
Is it meltable? Yes, and totally worth the trouble of delaying dinner by a few minutes to shred some of this onto...everything.
Gouda - Gouda is a Dutch yellow cheese named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands where it was originally traded. Gouda has been in production since 1184, and for good reason. Brookford’s gouda is mild, with a slight fruity sweetness and balanced nuttiness.
Will the kids eat it? Most will. Its mild sweetness will appeal to most palates.
Is it meltable? Yes. It’s especially good melted.
Feta - Brookford’s feta is a standout amongst its kind. Made with cow’s milk, rather than the traditional sheep’s milk, Brookford feta maintains the variety’s traditional crumble while adding some extra creaminess and depth of flavor.
Will the kids eat it? You may want to save this one for the adults. The crumbly texture, paired with the tangy flavor profile, may not sit as well with younger palates.
Is it meltable? Not really, though it will soften when heated. It’s so delicious crumbled over salad, though, that it won’t stick around long enough for melting to ever enter your mind.
Brie - I am a lover of brie, my husband is not...and yet we both enjoy Brookford’s brie. Brookford brie is milder than many, and while it is very creamy, it holds its shape well enough to be sliced and enjoyed on its own.
Will the kids eat it? Many will - and probably far more willingly than other, “stinkier” bries.
Is it meltable? Yes, while it won’t form strings like some melted cheeses, it will become softer and gooier - and even more delicious - with heating.
Camembert - This is Brookford’s one dairy selection that calls for two dairy credits, due to its more intensive production process. Brookford’s camembert is made in smaller rounds than the brie and offers a fuller, more complex flavor profile.
Will the kids eat it? Similar to the brie, here. Many will like it. It’s a great mild cheese for aspiring foodies.
Is it meltable? Once again, like the Brie, it will get softer and gooier with heating. We love to wrap this in puff pastry before popping it into the oven.
Cottage Cheese - If you’re a cottage cheese fan and haven’t tried this yet, you’re missing out. Other cottage cheese will taste salty and watery compared to Brookford’s creamy, milky, perfectly tangy offering. This is a personal favorite of mine that I try to hide in the back of the fridge. I love a scoop of it on my salad plate.
Will the kids eat it? If they like cottage cheese, yes.
Is it meltable? Most folks don’t melt their cottage cheese, but yes, it will soften if you heat it, and yes, it is delicious. I like to use cottage cheese in place of ricotta in lasagna. (Shhhh! Don’t tell the purists!).
Quark - For those who aren’t familiar, quark is a fresh farmer’s cheese. Similar to ricotta or cream cheese, quark is a lot of fun to cook with. It is also delicious spread on toast, bagels, sandwiches, and crackers. Brookford offers three varieties: plain, horseradish, and garlic and dill.
Will the kids eat it? Absolutely, if you prepare it in the right way. Because it is SO versatile for cooking, quark can be used to make everything from dessert to quiche. Many kids will also enjoy it “as-is,” spread on crackers or toast.
Is it meltable? Not in the traditional sense, but once again, it will soften when melted, and is very adaptable to a variety of recipes.
Shades of Blue - Brookford’s blue cheese is my absolute favorite. Where many blue cheeses are so crumbly that they cannot be sliced, Brookford’s Shades of Blue has a creamy, sliceable texture. It melts beautifully, has a very well balanced flavor profile, and comes in nice big wedges that disappear far more quickly than I would ever imagine possible. It is both tangy and nutty, without going so far as to become sharp. If you even remotely like blue cheese, you must try this one. I melt a slab of it onto everything I can remotely justify melting it on. My current favorite way to enjoy it, though, is tossed into a bowl of sauteed cabbage. A little Maldon salt sprinkled on top and a drizzle of olive oil, some tiny bits of bacon, and a more perfect bowl has never existed.
Will the kids eat it? This one’s probably for a more mature palate, although mine will eat it in small quantities mixed with or melted on other food. But honestly, I try not to share this with my kids. ;)
Is it meltable? Totally. Ooey, gooey, melty and perfect.
Maasdam - I had never heard of Maasdam before the farm started offering it. Maasdam is a Swiss-style Dutch cheese that forms internal holes during the ripening process. Brookford’s Maasdam is a mild cheese with a sweet, slightly pungent, nutty flavor. It is similar to other swiss cheeses and could be used in any recipe calling for swiss, keeping in mind it is less sharp than many swiss options. I really enjoy it sliced on its own, alongside a glass of white wine and some fruit, but it’s equally delicious melted.
Will the kids eat it? Likely, especially if it’s melted. Kiddos who prefer their food bland may find this too sharp.
Is it meltable? Definitely.
Clothbound Cheddar - This is a really exciting addition to the Brookford cheese lineup. It is a traditionally aged cheddar that has been swaddled in cheesecloth and aged for over six months. It has a wonderfully dry texture and rich, complex flavor. My favorite thing about the clothbound cheddar is that it has those delicious little calcium lactate crystals that sometimes form in nicely aged cheese. I love the satisfying juxtaposition of a gentle gritty crunch amid the creamy and crumbly texture. It is a delicious addition to any cheese platter.
Will the kids eat it? Yes, if they like cheddar and sharp flavors. Mine like it...though perhaps not as much as my cat. True story. And no, I didn’t share this delicious option willingly - our cat is rather persistent.
Is it meltable? Probably, but why would you mess with perfection? This is a cheese to enjoy as-is. Unless you’re shaving it over lobster mac and cheese.
Raw Jalepeno Cheddar - Made with organic peppers, this is a really fun and fresh option among the newer offerings. This cheese doesn’t lose the rich cheddary flavor when the peppers are mixed in. While it’s not overly spicy, the flavor of the peppers is full and lively. It’s great on its own or for cooking. Try it melted on eggs with a little salsa on the side.
Will the kids eat it? Probably. The pepper flavor, while not spicy, may be too intense for young palates - but when melted, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Is it meltable? Yes. I do love this cheese either way, but melted is my preference.