ARENA -- Most people are familiar with Colby-Jack cheese, but few people know the secret hidden in its dual-colored curd.
It was first crafted in Arena, Wisconsin by sheer economics. Bill Hanson is the Vice President of Arena Cheese Inc. He says, "Colby-Jack came into being in 1979 by the Peterson Family here at this plant. And really what happened was they were making Colby, and they were making Monterey Jack, being a white cheese." The extra curds left in both vats were enough to press together into one block of cheese, and Colby-Jack cheese was created.
Hanson explains the method to making Colby-Jack cheese. He says, "We put the rennet in so it gets mixed into the whole vat, then we put a divider in that divides the vat in half, and we put the color in half of the vat. And then the milk coagulates and thickens around that divider and when it's ready we can pull the divider out and continue with the cutting process."
Although similar to cheddar, Colby has a slightly sweeter flavor and an open texture. Colby-Jack is made with traditional Colby recipe and is mild in flavor and has a creamy texture. It's just another great example of Wisconsin cheeses.