This $4 Aldi Find Is a Combination of Two of My Favorite Foods

published Oct 4, 2022
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I was working on a book about the cheeses of the world when I first learned about a cheese from Finland called juustoleipä, aka bread cheese. A few years after reading about it, I got to actually eat bread cheese during my travels in Helsinki, where the Fins serve it with cloudberry jam or dunk it in their coffee.

Bread cheese is similar to its Greek cousin, halloumi. It’s chewy and mild like cheese curds and doesn’t completely melt when heated. Classic versions are milky and delicious, and I recently found that Aldi has managed to improve what was already a perfect cheese with the addition of bacon.

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

What’s So Special About Emporium Selection Bacon Bread Cheese?

Aldi sells a variety of bread cheeses, including plain and garlic-flavored. Browned on both sides and stuffed with bacon, the bacon bread cheese stands out among the others. If you eat it right out of the refrigerator, it tastes a little bit like fresh mozzarella, but with a bacon-y flavor and a toothsome, chewy texture.

The best way to eat bread cheese, however, is to warm it. If you’re in a hurry, you can heat it in the microwave for 5 to 30 seconds, but the optimal cooking method is to slice it and quickly sauté it in a nonstick pan on one side only until just warmed through. (Overcooking can dry out the cheese.)

When bread cheese is warmed, it gets oozy and creamy without fully melting. It’s slightly squeaky when you chew it, just like fresh cheese curds, and is warm and milky with just a subtle hint of smoky bacon.

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

What’s the Best Way to Use Emporium Selection Bacon Bread Cheese?

If you’d like to eat in the traditional way, try it for Fika, the Scandinavian tradition of having a sweet snack and coffee break during the day. Start with a mug of sweetened coffee, then submerge pieces of cheese in the coffee to absorb all the flavors before being fished out and eaten with a spoon. The bacon may be a bit out of place in this tradition, but coffee and bacon are American breakfast staples, so it’s worth a shot!

The cheese also makes an elegant appetizer — especially if you sauté it and pair it with jam, honey, or maple syrup for a savory-sweet bite. For a meal where meat isn’t the main focus, bread cheese can even be the main protein. Swap it in for halloumi in a sheet pan dinner and roast it with your favorite in-season vegetables (looking at you, delicata squash). If you’re lucky, you may even have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Find it in stores: Emporium Selection Bacon Bread Cheese, $3.89 for 6 ounces

Do you have a favorite cheese that’s your pick-me-up? Tell us in the comments below.