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Colby cheese is a cow's milk cheese. It was originally called Colby Cheddar. [1]


Joseph F. Steinwand in 1874 developed a new type of cheese at his father's cheese factory near Colby, Wisconsin. [2] He named the cheese for the location that his father had built northern Clark County's first cheese factory three years before. [3]

An 1898 issue of the "Colby Phonograph" noted that "A merchant in Phillips gives as one of the 13 reasons why people should trade with him, that he sells the genuine Steinwand Colby Cheese." After the turn of the century Wisconsin became known as one of the great cheese producing centers in the United States, and Colby cheese became known around the world.


Colby is similar to cheddar, as both cheeses undergo the cheddaring process. Colby is a softer, moister, and milder cheese than cheddar because it is produced through a washed-curd process. Colby is considered semi-hard. [4] The washed-curd process means that during the cooking time, the whey is replaced by water; this reduces the curd's acidity, resulting in Colby's characteristically mild, gentle flavor. Like most other cheeses, it takes a little more than a U.S. gallon of milk to produce just 1 pound (over 8 liters for a kilogram) of cheese.

Longhorn is the best known of the Colby cheeses. Colby should not be aged. Colby dries out quickly, so it is best used shortly after purchasing. [5] Colby cheese are typically sold in half-rounds. Pinconning cheese is a sharp aged relative of Colby cheese.


Because it is such a mild cheese, Colby is seldom used in cooking. It is used as a table cheese, for grating and grilling, and in snacks and salads.


Colby is sometimes mixed with Monterey Jack to produce a marbled cheese often called Colby-Jack or Co-Jack.


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