7 things you should know about our Squeaky Cheese!

If you are new to the land of cheese or are looking to get a loved one hooked,  you need to come in and try our Squeaky Cheese! Now, there is a chance you may not know what this noisy cheese is exactly, so I have compiled a list of a few things you really should know!

  1. Squeaky Cheese is a super fresh cheddar curd. When we make cheddar we separate a portion of it for squeaky cheese while the rest is pressed into rounds and aged for cheddar. 
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  2. Because of its freshness, it squeaks against your teeth when you eat it. This is how you can tell if your curd is truly fresh or not! 
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  3. We make it in two different flavors, plain, and garlic & dill!
  4. There are a few ways to enjoy your squeaky cheese, the most popular way (and easiest) is straight out of the cup! No slicing makes it the perfect low key, kid friendly, snack cheese.
  5. Personally, I think the best way to have squeaky cheese is battered and deep fried. Like a mozzarella stick, but SO much better! 
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  6. You can find this cheese in our store (of course!), all the Edaleen Dairy locations, as well as the Seattle Farmers Markets!
  7. For a few of the slower winter months we are on a bimonthly schedule, but for most of the year (including currently) we produce this treat every Thursday! If you really want to have squeaky cheese in its prime, pop into our store Thursdays after 4:00!

Once you know what it is and have tried it, you will not be able to live without it. I know because when you tell people the squeaky cheese is sold out, they melt into a puddle of misery. Okay, not quite, but it is pretty addicting! 😉

How the Story Began

Heinz Langerfeld

Heinz was a German immigrant who made his living distributing European specialty products to his fellow countrymen. There was also a market driven by many WWII veterans who had spent time in Germany during the war and returned home with a taste for German food. Heinz was working in the county when he heard a local farmer (Jack) was starting to make cheese. He thought it would be a good business venture to convince said farmer to make Quark, a staple in his homeland which was nearly impossible to find in America. I have no idea how that first conversation went, but I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall! Knowing these two strong willed men with their equally strong accents would have been a sight to see!

Long story short, we began making Quark in the early ’80’s. Quark is a soft creamy cheese and can be used in many ways.

Some of my earliest memories of Quark include the assembly line when I would “help” my dad and Pake in the Cheese Room. However my relationship with this particular cheese mostly revolved around the “bailing” process. Imagine a large tank, full of a milky jello-like substance that could be squished between your fingers. This is the early stages of Quark! Once it was in a cheese cloth covered basket, it would sit overnight, press the weigh out of itself naturally, and then be packaged. My job, along with whoever I suckered into helping me, (often my cousin, Marlies), was to get the Quark from the tank into the baskets. With a little gallon sized bucket. Now that was a work out! I can’t even imagine how many reps it would take to lift all that quark and fill ALL the baskets…but I do know I got some pretty good biceps out of the deal! Who needs a gym when you have a cheese room!

Elizabeth (Appel) Hayes
Elizabeth & Marlies helping in the Cami and John with Quark

Heinz was one of those characters you just never forget. We are so grateful he brought this product to the attention of a fledgling cheese factory. Without him we wouldn’t have Quark to help get the cheese business off the ground! We currently produce two different types of Quark. Traditional which is a full fat and a Low fat for those who are wanting something lighter.

Traditional and Lowfat Quark

There is a corner in my heart labeled “Gouda”.

Gouda has become a central part of my life over the years. I grew up nibbling wedges and when I was older, made it daily. We make a variety of flavors of Gouda. From traditional Mild to spicy Jalapeno, from the bold Black Pepper to subtle Sweet Red Pepper. Our wide variety of this creamy cheese makes it easy for us to find a good fit for almost anyone… after some sampling of course! This cheese has been in our family for years, and though we have a wide variety now, it had a much simpler beginning.

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My Pake’s absolute dream while growing up was to be a farmer. I doubt the thought of being a cheese maker even entered his mind! Born in 1927, Jack Appel was the eldest son of the local milk man. However, it was hard to pursue his farming dreams during the occupation of Holland in WWII.  Civilians were commonly drafted into forced labor so my Grandfather spent much of his teen years staying out of sight from any German soldiers. Hardly the time to find a farming job!

After the liberation of the Netherlands, Paka found a job with a local farmer where he worked and learned the basics of farming. A few years later, at age 19, he moved to France to assist another farmer. It was this farmer who also made cheese 6 days a week, so part of my Grandfather’s job was to assist with this process as well. It was here he first developed the cheese making skills he would carry with him for the rest of his life.

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Jack immigrated to America in 1950 where he knew he would have a better chance of being a farmer than in Holland. In 1958, after marrying his wife Audrey in 1957, the new couple made the big move to Washington State. Eventually he realized his dream by purchasing a farm here in Ferndale, in March of 1967. This is the same farm he and his wife raised their five children on, three of whom are still involved in the daily running of it!

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This is Jessie cutting the pressed Gouda curd into blocks which will in turn be pressed into wheels. Yes, Gouda rounds start out as squares!

Although farming had always been his dream job, Jack continued to make cheese as gifts for his friends and family. It wasn’t until he had sold the farm to his sons and was very much encouraged by those who had tried his cheese that he started to develop his hobby into a business. I suspect he had too much time on his hands… it’s hard to tell a farmer to stop working! Eventually his sons bought this part of the farm as well and have continued to build upon the foundation laid by their father.

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This is one of our brine tank racks full of yummy cheese ready to be submerged! At the end of the day, our Gouda goes directly from the presses to these racks and into the brine tank. After a few days, they are then transferred to the aging room.

If you ask me which Gouda’s are my favorite I would point out the Aged and the Cumin. Many of my cousins would probably say the same. Why? Because they are the ones that remind me the most of my Pake. The Aged is traditionally drier with a bite only known to lovers of aged cheeses. It’s also the only cheese we still seal with a traditional rind coating. The Cumin has a little more of a nutty flavor from the tiny seeds speckling the finish. These two are my favorites due to growing up on the excellent flavors, but also because they were first handcrafted by a man whom I will always remember with great love and respect.

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Someone asked me about a cheese with little “thingies” in it. Turns out they were referring to the Cumin Gouda!