Colby cheese is a cow's milk cheese. It was originally
called Colby "Swiss" Cheddar.
Joseph F. Steinwand in 1874 developed a new type of cheese at
his father's cheese factory near Colby, Wisconsin. The cheese
was named after the village, which had opened three years
An 1898 issue of the "Colby Phonograph" noted that
"A merchant in Phillips gives as one of the 13 reasons why
people should trade with him, that he sells the genuine
Steinwand Colby Cheese." After the turn of the century
Wisconsin became known as one of the great cheese producing
centers in the United States.
Colby is similar to cheddar, but does not undergo the
cheddaring process. Colby is a softer, moister, and milder
cheese than cheddar because it is produced through a washed-curd
process. Colby is considered semi-hard. The washed-curd process
means that during the cooking time, the whey is replaced by
water; this reduces the curd's acidity, resulting in Colby's
characteristically mild, gentle flavor. Like most other cheeses,
it takes a little more than a U.S. gallon of milk to produce
just 1 pound (over 8 liters for a kilogram) of cheese. Monterey
cheese is produced in an almost identical fashion as Colby, but
is uncolored and softer.
Longhorn is the best known of the Colby cheeses. Colby should
not be aged. Colby dries out quickly, so it is best used shortly
after purchasing. Colby cheeses are typically sold in
half-rounds. Pinconning cheese is a sharp aged relative of Colby
Because it is such a mild cheese, Colby is seldom used in
cooking. It is used as a table cheese, for grating and grilling,
and in snacks and salads.
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