FAQ About How We Make Our Cheese

Learn all about our cheese and the local milk that we use to make our cheese.

Where does Rosewood Dairy (Renard’s Cheese) get our milk from?
All of the milk used to make our cheeses comes from small, local Door and Kewaunee County family farms. Many of these farms are second and third generation, and have been with Renard’s Cheese since 1961 .
What type of cows do you get the milk from?
90-95% of our milk comes from Holstein cows and the rest of the milk is from Guernsey or Jersey cows.
Are the cows grass fed?
The cows are grass fed as the Wisconsin climate allows. They’re also fed a mixture of wheat and grains to enable them to produce the highest quality milk.
Is the milk hormone-free?
All of our milk is free of hormones (rBGH free). The farms that we get our milk from each certify that their milk is free from the genetically engineered hormone rBGH.
How much milk does it take to make one pound of cheese?
You may be surprised and the answer might even help justify spending a little more for our handcrafted cheeses. Each pound of cheese requires 10 pounds (or about 5 quarts) of cow’s milk. That’s a lot of milk!!
What kinds of cultures does Renard’s Cheese use when making cheese?
The first stage in making cheese is to ripen the milk. During the ripening process, lactose is converted into lactic acid. Cheese makers use starter cultures to control this ripening process. We use both thermophillic and mesophillic cultures. Which culture we use depends on the type of cheese we are making.
Mesophillic is a non-heat loving culture, and is used for making cheeses that are not heated to more than 102 degrees. This is the most common and is used to make 90% of the varieties of cheeses. Some of these cheeses include soft cheese, blue cheese, feta, farmers, colby, cheddar, brie and others.
Thermophillic is a heat loving culture and is used to make cheeses that can be heated to 130 degrees. It is used in most Italian cheeses, such as parmesan, provolone, mozzarella, swiss, monterey jack, etc.
What makes the cheese yellow? Is there dye in your cheese?

Our coloring comes from all natural annatto seeds. We do not use any chemical dyes. Annatto is a food coloring derived from the seeds of achiote tree, which is native to tropical regions from Mexico to Brazil. It is often used to impart a yellow or orange color to foods.

Tips for Traveling with Cheese

Imagine that you’re on vacation in Door County. You stop and taste the deliciousness that Renard’s Artisan Cheese offers. You find so many fabulous flavors that you can’t wait to take a bunch of it home to share with your friends and family, and some for yourself as well! But then you realize that you don’t know how to get all of this glorious cheese home without it spoiling. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Most cheeses are pretty low-maintenance, and we’re going to walk you through your options for getting it home.

Just because you’re flying doesn’t mean that you can’t take loads of cheese home with you. Of course it helps to come prepared…Some of our customers bring in a suitcase each summer for us to stock up with their favorite cheeses!

Flying with cheese

Let’s start with what the TSA has to say
~ Blocks of cheese, shredded cheese and cheese curds can go in either your carry-on luggage or your checked baggage, whichever works better for you. The great news is that you can bring as much cheese as you can fit in your bags! Trust us when we say that the Green Bay airport TSA agents will not be surprised.
~ Spreads and Dips, or as the TSA refers to them as “creamy cheeses” can ONLY go in checked luggage, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment. There is no quantity limit, but it’s recommended to pack them with ice packs to keep them cool. For your convenience, Renard’s Artisan Cheese sells ice packs that are already frozen and very reasonably priced. If the spreads are completely frozen they may be allowed in your carry-on bags. However, with the long delays involved with flying these days, this is not recommended.
~ Ice packs in your carry-on luggage must be completely frozen, or else they are considered liquid and may not be allowed on the plane. This rule does not apply to ice packs in bags that are checked.
~ If you are traveling internationally, verify the rules of your destination. Some places do not allow dairy products to be brought into their country.
~ During your travels, be aware that the TSA agents may need to inspect your cheeses, at their discretion.

Please note that the TSA has the ultimate authority to refuse and/or confiscate items, and this blog is no guarantee that your items will be allowed on the plane, as circumstances may vary.

Car travel with cheese

Ideally you’ll be able to keep your cheeses cool by storing them in your cooler, or perhaps a refrigerator at your hotel or rental. Spreads and shredded cheeses are a priority when it comes to keeping them cool, as spoilage can set in quicker with the softer varieties of cheese.

No room in your cooler for all your favorite cheeses? No problem! For your convenience we sell small and large pre-chilled hot/cold bags, and ice gel packs that are already frozen. We also sell 7# bags of ice cubes, in case you need to top off your cooler. If you’re planning ahead, you can bring your own hot/cold bag from home. Door County offers lots of opportunities to utilize it throughout your vacation!

Only driving for a few hours? Block cheeses that are sealed in their original packaging will be okay at room temperature during your trip. Keep them in the main part of the vehicle, where the air conditioning is running, not in the trunk.

Bonus: cheese curd tip

If you will be eating your cheese curds within 24 hours of purchasing them, do NOT refrigerate them. Cold curds don’t squeak, and because they are so fresh (we make them every day!) they will be absolutely fine at room temperature. Cheese curds should be refrigerated when they are older than 24 hours old, though they taste best if they are brought up to room temperature or slightly warmed before eating them.

General travel tips for cheese

~ Pack your cheese curds in a ziploc baggie, or a tied up plastic shopping bag. Whey can leak out of the original cheese curd packaging and make a mess.
~ Instead of buying larger blocks of cheese, buy multiple 1/2# blocks. That way you’ll only be opening the cheese you’ll be using soon, and the rest will remain sealed and fresh for a long time.
~ If you have any questions, our store associates are very knowledgeable and would be glad to help you out.

Still couldn’t get all the cheese you wanted? Order online 24/7 on our website. We ship year-round to anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. We ship cheeses, wines, sweets and various other local goodies so that you can have a taste of Door County whenever the mood strikes.

Don’t forget- next time you’re in Door County, stop at Renard’s Artisan Cheese and stock up! Your friends and family will thank you! Comment below and let us know what your experience has been while traveling with cheese.

Cheese Curds 101

Who loves cheese curds? You do! It’s apparent that you, our amazing customers, can’t get enough of these bits of creamy, salty, squeaky cheese. Here at Renard’s Artisan Cheese they are our biggest seller. During our busy summer season we can sell over 300 pounds of them in a single day! So we’ve put together some of the most popular questions that people ask us about cheese curds, so you can learn too. Ready? Here we go…

What are cheese curds? How are they made? Curds are one of the earliest stages of cheesemaking and are made from only three ingredients: fresh pasteurized milk, starter cultures, and rennet. Rennet is a natural ingredient, used to coagulate the milk and turn it into cheese. After the cheese solidifies, it’s cut into pieces, resulting in curds and whey. The liquid that you sometimes see in your bag of cheese curds is the whey.

Why do they squeak? When fresh cheese curds squeak, it’s them saying they love you too 🙂 But scientifically, the squeak is caused by proteins in the curds being tightly bound, and your teeth rubbing against those proteins creates the sound. After the first day or two the proteins start to break down. That’s why curds eventually stop squeaking, and also explains why curds taste best when they are fresh. At Renard’s Artisan Cheese we make our cheese curds fresh every day. That’s why they’re so delicious!

Should I refrigerate my cheese curds? Cheese curds do not need to be refrigerated until they are 24 hours old. After that, it’s recommended that curds are kept in the refrigerator. That being said, they taste best at room temperature. Warm them up by either microwaving them for a couple of seconds or let them sit on the counter for a bit before enjoying them.

What’s the difference between yellow and white cheese curds? Both our yellow curds and our white curds are made of cheddar cheese. The only difference between them is annatto, which is a plant-based coloring agent that makes the cheese yellow. Although the yellow and white curds taste the same, some guests have a distinct preference for one over the other. Renard’s Artisan Cheese offers white curds on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Yellow curds are available every day.

Why does Renard’s sometimes run out of cheese curds in their store? Our cheesemakers start in the earliest hours of the day, since it takes about 5 hours to make a batch of fresh curds and get them bagged up for sale. Planning ahead is essential for us, but sometimes we are much busier than expected, we get a tour bus that comes through unexpectedly, or some other reason that causes us to sell out of curds. Don’t worry, we’ll make more the next day! If you just can’t wait to taste that squeaky goodness, our curds are also available at several businesses throughout the area.

Do you have flavored cheese curds? We absolutely do! When you’re in our stores, just take your curds over to our Sample Table, and our associate will add the flavoring. While you wait, sample some of our amazing cheeses and our tantalizing homemade fudge. You can also order our most popular flavored cheese curds on our website.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed Renard’s Cheese Curds 101! Did we miss anything? Feel free to ask us in the comments below.

Mixing fresh curds in the vat at Rosewood Dairy

Meet our Melt Bistro

Renards Cheese Store Sandwich
Renards Cheese Store Sandwich

Renards Cheese Melt
locations deli cheese melt sandwich

“A sweetened cream cheese & sourdough sandwich dipped in French toast batter, grilled, then topped with Door County cherries, toasted almonds and whipped cream. Served with a side of maple syrup.”

“Macaroni and cheese topped with bacon, pulled pork, chicken & shredded medium cheddar, baked until bubbly, topped with golden panko bread crumbs, drizzled with BBQ sauce and sprinkled with scallions.”

And so begins your introduction to Melt Bistro (Did I just hear your stomach rumble?) These delectable dishes are just two examples of the mouthwatering options that you can find on our menu. We use fresh, local ingredients and our famous handcrafted cheeses to create homestyle comfort foods that you’re sure to enjoy.

What is Melt Bistro, you ask?

Over the last few years, the deli inside of our Sturgeon Bay location of Renard’s Cheese has grown up. It debuted a new look, a new menu, a new dining room, and also a new name- Melt Bistro! Named after the hot sandwiches that are featured prominently on our menu, it’s a great option for a quick snack, a sit-down meal, or grabbing food to go. We’ve even got all day breakfast choices.

You can enjoy your fare in our newly built dining room or outdoors on our patio. We’ve got plenty of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade in our spacious front and back yards, or bring a blanket and have a true picnic on the grass. We’ve got lots of space to spread out and enjoy the Door County sunshine! Want to call in an order for pickup? You can do that too! Call Melt Bistro direct at 920-825-7272 x105.

If you’re planning to entertain, Melt Bistro can make custom cheese trays and charcuterie boards that will be the envy of your friends. Just give us at least 24 hours notice and we’ll take care of the rest.

Sweet Treats TOO!

If you’re just looking for a treat, we’ve got something for you too. Melt Bistro sells hand-scooped ice cream made right here in Wisconsin by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. This super-premium, award-winning ice cream is rich and creamy and tastes absolutely sinful! The flavors are something to behold. How about This $&@! Just Got Serious (salted caramel ice cream with sea salt fudge and salted cashews) or Munchie Madness (cake batter ice cream with Oreos, M&M pieces and peanut butter cups) or Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (cheesecake ice cream with a sweet raspberry ripple, Oreos and soft chocolate chunks), just to name a few?

Check out our Melt Bistro menu here.

Melt Bistro is open the same hours as Renard’s Cheese. Our hours are Monday through Friday 8 AM – 5 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 4 PM. Next time you visit our Sturgeon Bay location, be sure to stop at Melt Bistro to satisfy your hunger.

Comment below and tell us about your experience at Melt Bistro!