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Bread Cheese: Juustoleipä!

This unique Scandinavian original is a new American comfort food, and may be the hottest thing from Finland since the sauna. It is Grilled Cheese without the bread!

Companies have been coming up with some pretty funny combinations to please the legions of people who are going gluten-free or cutting carbohydrates out of their diet. (No doubt you’ve seen the sandwiches that use chicken fillets or burger patties instead of bread.) But can you imagine grilled cheese without bread? They can in Finland, and they’ve been doing it for more than 200 years. Introducing “Bread Cheese,” otherwise known as juustoleipä!

Bread cheese shown on a skillet, on a plate with honey, grilled, and pieces skewered on a shish kabob with meat and veggies.

How to Pronounce Juustoleipä

In Finnish, Juustoleipä is pronounced as “yoo-stoh-lei-pah.” In American English, the word is pronounced “hoo-stah-lee-pah.”Here’s a breakdown of the pronunciation:

  • “Juusto”: Pronounced as “hoo-stoh.” The “oo” sounds like the “oo” in “too,” and the “st” sounds like the English word “stew” without the “ew” sound.
  • “leipä”: Pronounced as “lei-pah.” The “ei” combination is pronounced like the English word “eye.”

The name literally means “cheese bread” in Finnish, where it is also known as leipäjuusto, pronounced as “lay-pah-yoo-stoh.” Neither choice is very friendly for the average tongue in America, where it is simply known as “bread cheese.”

What is Bread Cheese?

In its birthplace in northern Finland, juusto cheese is traditionally made with goat or reindeer milk, or the very rich milk (“beestings”) from a cow that has just calved. Today this increasingly popular comfort food is made from pasteurized cow’s milk by several cheesemakers in Wisconsin.

Fresh juustoleipä curds are similar in texture to feta cheese before they are pressed into blocks—each roughly the size and shape of a slice of bread—and baked. A lovely toasted crust is formed when the sugars on the outside of the cheese begin to caramelize, with the resulting cheese looking much like a slice of French toast. In fact, Finns eat the cheese warm for breakfast, dunked in coffee or served with maple syrup or honey…much as one would eat French toast. It can even be offered as a dessert with a topping of jam.

Bread Cheese

How to Make Bread Cheese

There are several ways to eat bread cheese. You can serve juustoleipä cold—sliced or in chunks—in which case it will have that distinctive “squeak” when you bite into it, much like fresh cheese curds. But the best way to cook it is to heat it up in a pan or sear it on a grill for a warm, creamy treat. Just be aware that the cheese won’t actually melt, but will instead soften into a pleasantly buttery and creamy slice of goodness.

Juustoleipä is often compared to a grilled cheese sandwich without the bread, so consider using the same toppings you prefer on your grilled cheese. It’s a gluten-free alternative that satisfies a comfort food craving.

Here in America, “bread cheese” comes in a few flavors, including smoked, herb, and hot & spicy jalapeño, which makes a tasty appetizer or tailgate snack.

If you’d like to try “Juusto” in a recipe, here are two preparations developed by food blogger Hip Foodie Mom for

Where to Buy Bread Cheese

Bread cheese can be found in many specialty cheese stores or online food gift retailers like Wisconsin Cheeseman.

Baked Bread Cheese

Bread Cheese

This Finnish-style baked cheese looks like French toast but tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich without the bread.


So,“Hyvää ruokahalua!” That’s Finnish for bon appétit!


Comments (22)

Have current catalog but can’t find storage info for this item. If I order several as gifts for neighbors for Christmas, do I need to store it in my fridge until then? Storage method needed will determine quantity I can order.

Yes, you need to store it in the refrigerator.

I’ve followed the prompts, but cannot see how to order the juustoleipa. The description was great, and piques my interest; but no price, no quantity, no order number. If you want people to order your products, I think you need to be more clear.

We’re very sorry, but this is an old blog post and we very recently stopped selling bread cheese. We invite you to try our always-evolving assortment of Wisconsin cheeses at Thanks for writing!

It’s pronounced YOU stoe lay peh (due to the umlauts, otherwise it would be pah, but small spuds). I grew up in northern MN calling it squeaky cheese. I’m all Finn and was very happy to find this in a local store a few years ago!

The initial “j” is pronounced “y”, not “h”. This is Finnish, not Spanish.

Thanks – came here to say just that! [LAY-pa YOO-sto]

I am interested in carry the Baked Cheese in my two Organic Emporium stores in Texas! Any chance I can set up a wholesale account and get some product in! My two suppliers, UNFI and Kehe do not carry the Brunkow’s Baked Cheese!

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Phylis B Canion, Owner
361-564-8963 or 361-576-2100

Very sorry, but we don’t sell wholesale. I’m sure one of the bread cheese manufacturers would be happy to hook you up either themselves or through a distributor. We’re strictly a retail catalog. Thanks for writing!

My granddaughter has been diagnosed with celiac disease. She loves seafood and also cheese spreads. Are any of these from your company have glutten?

Thanks for writing! Information concerning food allergies and potential allergens in our food items is provided on the labels of all of our food products. If you wish to know this information before purchasing an item, please email Us or call Customer Service at 800-693-0834.

Whole Foods carries it.

I have picked it up at HEB and it is very easy to make as well.

Well, I loved this, but where can a person find such a thing?

Thanks! We’re happy to help you! Please visit this link:

I’m in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and while there aren’t as many cheese factories around as there used to be, there are plenty around, at least one per village. I’ve seen bread cheese around and I saw it the other day at the Shell station convenience store. So I looked it up. Can’t wait to try it. But I miss regular Harvarti. I really like brick and Havarti.

Enjoy the bread cheese! And just so you know, we have the Havarti you miss: has it available (and theirs is amazing) my favorite is the jalapeno bread chees grilled on a panini press, and topped with orange marmalade. You can also find it at specialty cheese stores, just beware of imitators, my grandma got some from a local chain store that was basically mozzarella, and just melted. If it doesn’t have the golden brown exterior it’s probably not bread cheese.

Jalapeño bread cheese with orange marmalade sounds awesome – that is definitely on my short list to try! Thanks for the tip!

Wegman’s sells it.

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