National Grilled Cheese Day showcases MSU Dairy Store sandwiches
On Mondays, when music performance senior Ryan Gerhardt works behind the counter at one of the two MSU Dairy Stores, he makes hundreds of grilled cheese sandwiches.
As long as supplies last, every Monday, the MSU Dairy Store gives a free cup of tomato soup with every grilled cheese.
“We have five types of bread, we have sourdough, whole wheat, rye, english muffin and multigrain. So you pick a bread and then you can pick any of our four types of cheese, which are cheddar, jalapeno, smoked cheddar and colby jack,” Gerhardt said. “I’ll usually suggest a cheddar on sourdough, especially if people don’t know what they want.”
Tucked away behind the ice cream counter of the Anthony Hall Dairy Store is the Dairy Plant, where Josh Hall, the dairy operations coordinator, said staff members made tens of thousands of pounds of cheese last year.
Hall said 100 percent of the milk in Dairy Store cheese comes from MSU Dairy cows from both on campus and from the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.
"You can’t make a great cheese from poor quality milk, that’s just how it is," Hall said. "The first step is really securing a milk source that is high in quality and we really feel our dairy farm produces consistently good milk and reliably provides us with the amount of complements we need to make a good cheese."
The process used for making cheese at the Dairy Plant is ancient, Hall said. It’s been vetted through hundreds of years of production internationally. Above the Dairy Plant, there is an observation deck where people are welcome to observe the cheesemaking processes.
Hall said pasteurization makes sure milk is clean and safe before bacteria are added that start to eat the lactose. Enzymes called rennet are added and additional processes fully separate the curds and whey. The curds are then salted to inhibit bacterial growth and contribute to the flavor and put in cheese hoops to set.
Dairy Store Manager Brekelle Wiedenmannott said in an email that what makes an MSU grilled cheese sandwich so special is that it’s the best deal around. She said all the ingredients are made on campus and the quality is superior.
"We use bread from the MSU Bakers and of course our own cheese," Wiedenmannott said in an email. "Then, you can’t forget the real butter and lots of love!"
The Anthony Hall Dairy Store location is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The MSU Union Dairy Store location is open weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.