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Squeaky Cheese and More at Clock Shadow Creamery

May. 16, 2017
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As one of the few urban creameries throughout the nation, Clock Shadow Creamery (138 W. Bruce St.) has, during its five-year existence, emerged as an award-winning cheese maker. Started by Cedar Grove Cheese owner Bob Wills, Clock Shadow Creamery’s signature products include cheddar cheese curds, plain and flavored quark, chévre and more.

Clock Shadow Creamery is named for the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, located just a few blocks from their retail store and production space. To the company’s knowledge, Clock Shadow Creamery is the only urban creamery that has ever existed in Milwaukee, said Eric Schuetz, sales and marketing manager. He explained that Wills grew up in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood and later married into the family that owned the historic Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, Wis. As sort of a homecoming, Wills partnered with developer Juli Kaufmann as the anchor business for her Walker’s Point eco-conscious building that includes a hybrid elevator, rooftop gardens and a cistern that uses gray water to flush toilets.

At Cedar Grove, Wills developed green initiatives that he eventually brought to Clock Shadow’s operations, such as geothermal wells, direct sourcing of milk to ensure it is free from rBGH and rBST, and The Living Machine which purifies and returns to the watershed all wash water used for cleaning equipment. Bob’s son, Bo Wills, handles Clock Shadow’s day-to-day operations. 

“Wills also incubated dozens of other cheese makers, including Landmark Creamery in Albany, Wis. Part of his vision is to help other folks get off the ground; basically, he jokes that it’s a terrible business model,” Schuetz laughed.

Clock Shadow’s cheddar cheese curds are known not just for their fresh cheddar flavor, but also for a unique squeak heard while chewing the curds. Schuetz said their Squeaks—a name Wills trademarked—are a true cheddar cheese curd and their technique is not rushed; cheese makers stack and restack cheddar cheese slabs, letting the whey drain to low levels. Curds are cut by hand, go through a salting process, and then go to market the same day they are made. Large glass windows around the production area allow customers to catch a glimpse of the process.

Squeaks flavors include garlic dill, habanero, pizza and spicy ranch, made on Wednesday. Cajun, jalapeño and tomato basil Squeaks are made on Fridays. For those willing to brave the heat, the scorpion pepper curd can be made to order.

Clock Shadow Creamery is also known for its quark, a spreadable fresh cow’s milk cheese that originated in Germany and has a consistency similar to cream cheese. Schuetz noted it is a healthier cheese, unprocessed with no additives or preservatives. The quark comes in plain, maple syrup, garlic dill and a variety made with SA Braai’s chutney. 

Other favorites include chévre, Sadie The Goat two-year aged cheddar made with goat’s milk (playfully named after the purported 1800s Hudson River pirate Sadie “The Goat” Farrell); double cream Colby; and cheddars flavored with Rishi Tea and Usinger’s Sausage. The new Chees-E-Que is Clock Shadow’s version of queijo coalho, a Brazilian cheese often grilled during beach get-togethers. It’s a high temperature cheese that can be cut into cubes and thrown right on the grill, kabob-style. The outside browns nicely while the cheese stays soft and does not get stringy or messy.

Customers can sample an array of cheeses made by Clock Shadow Creamery and Cedar Grove at the retail store. Wills believes in sustainable and socially just business practices, living up to his motto: “Enriching the culture by enriching the culture.”

For more information, visit clockshadowcreamery.com.

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