Colby cheese or originally called Colby Swiss Cheddar is a semi-hard cheese that is native to the United States. Today, it is made in other regions of the world as well. It is somewhat like cheddar cheese but milder, moister, and more elastic.
Colby cheese was invented in 1885 by Joseph F. Steinward. He named the cheese after Colby, Wisconsin, where the first cheese factory in Clark County was built by his father, Ambrose Steinward Sr. It was a simple cheese factory that produced about 125 pounds of cheese every day.
Joseph was 16 years old when he started helping his father in the cheese factory and began learning about cheese making. He was also sent to a cheese-making course and when he returned, he tried cheese experiments in their factory. His experiments led to a milder, softer cheese than cheddar and Colby cheese was born.
Every year, there are Colby Cheese Days held in the town of Colby. It happens on the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of July.
How Colby Cheese is Made
To make Colby cheese, the first thing to do is pasteurize the cow’s milk then mix in a bacteria starter culture. After that, the milk will be heated and when it reaches 30 to 31 C, food coloring will be added. Then, to curdle the milk, rennet is then added. While the temperature is being raised to 39 C, the curds are cut and stirred. The stirring and heating will both encourage the whey to run off. While the whey drains off, the curd is continually cut and stirred.
After the heating and stirring, the curds are then washed with cold water so that they would stop clumping. Then, they are salted, packed into 40 or 60 pound hoops, and then pressed. There are also some that are made in 13 pound cylinders which are called “longhorns”.
Characteristics of Colby Cheese
Colby is a semi-hard cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It belongs to the family of cheddar cheeses. It is a rind-less cheese that has a firm, open, and springy texture. It is yellow in color with a sweet flavor and a mild aroma.
Colby cheese is often compared to cheddar cheese because of how it looks. However, the two cheese differ in taste because Colby cheese is more mild and creamy. It is also less tangy because its curds are washed, reducing its acid contents. It is also much softer than cheddar because it has a higher moisture content.
Also, Colby cheese should be eaten as young as possible because an aged Colby cheese becomes cracked and dry.
Colby Cheese Pairings
Colby cheese can go well will rye bread, and fruits such as apples and pears. Aside from that, it can also be used as a table cheese, and it also complements grilled sandwiches, hamburgers, fajitas, and chili because of its gentle flavor and texture. If you like blending different cheeses, Colby can also blend well with Monterrey Jack to make Cojack cheese.
When it comes to wine pairing, Colby cheese pairs well with Zinfandel, Shiraz, Cabaret Sauvignon, and Syrah. If you like white wine, you can enjoy Colby cheese with Riesling as well.
Colby is indeed a delightful cheese and it can be paired with a lot of foods and drinks. It is one of the great and must-have cheeses to be served during parties and events.