I always thought of the term Finnish Squeaky Cheese as folkloric, not actual food! The Finnish name is Leipäjuusto or juustoleipä which translates to ‘bread cheese’. It originates in Northern Finland and Ostrobothnia; one region in Finland.
When served, it was described to me as “milk from a cow who has just given birth”. Naturally, I didn’t ask any questions and kept eating. I ate it several more times before realizing that I was actually eating THE Finnish squeaky cheese!
The milk described to me referred to a cow’s beestings, although reindeer or goat milk can substitute, which is the rich milk after birthing a calf. The milk is low in fat, very high in protein, and provides many nutrients to newborns with small doses. The cheese is formed in a small round frisbee shape, fitting perfectly on a plate like a cheese pie. It is barely an inch thick but very dense in consistency.
If you stood in a quiet room full of people chewing Leipäjuusto, all you would hear is squeaking of cheese against teeth. Because of its density it’s quite chewy even when warm which causes the noisy friction between your teeth when you chew it; hence squeaky cheese.
I first ate it prepared authentically homemade by the family’s grandmother, meaning from beestings. Commercially bought leipäjuusto is made with ‘normal’ milk which could weaken the flavoring and appearance of the cheese.
I was served squeaky cheese as a dessert snack after dinner with tea and coffee; not as a whole meal itself or a dinner course. It was warmed briefly, cut and served in pie slices. The leipäjuusto itself was a bit salty. Homemade cloudberry jam made with wild hand-picked berries from Lapland, with vanilla ice cream created the perfect accent to the cheese. Combining salty warm cheese with cool sweet ice cream and tart cloudberries is absolute Lapland food perfection.