ChefView – Oakdale Cheese

Chef View By Dana Johnson

Oakdale Cheese Factory & Specialties

Smile and Say Cheese!

Miss Dana~licious was eating her curds and whey, when along came a family of cheese makers, who sat down beside her…

The Oakdale Cheese Factory and Specialties has many time transcending characteristics of whimsy nursery rhymes reminding me of simpler times. Oakdale Cheese is made by hand in a vat from Denmark and has 4 family generations of experience creating their distinctive cheeses. I love that this quaint, yet traditional cheese factory that still gives free tours, (see schedule @ www., free cheese tasting samples, and for 25 cents you can get a handful of feed for the goats, sheep, chickens, geese, and a llama named Mocha that reside there on the 4 acre property. Guests may also want to feed the over 100 Koi fish in the pond. I found it most relaxing to gaze at the waterfall & fountain in the lush green backdrop. The grounds have 12 shady areas with tables for eating an outdoor meal away from home, what a concept, it’s called a picnic!

Big congrats to Walter and Lenneke Bulk for celebrating their 30 year wedding anniversary! The Bulks have been the OC owners since 1983 where it originally opened in Escalon. In 1995 they moved their successful business to a larger facility in Oakdale. The Bulks are 1st generation American immigrants from the Netherlands. Walter and Lenneke both love to make and eat cheese. Walter loves the aged Gouda while Lenneke favors the mild Gouda for its mellow smoothness with a hearty wheat bread she bakes at home. They have 3 grown children and their son John Dirk Bulk is now the head cheese maker. He has been following in his father’s footsteps since the age of 4. John graduated from dairy science milk processing in 2005. John recently wed his bride Jessica who also works at the cheese factory. I actually spied the sweet newlyweds strolling and holding hands while on a break enjoying the serene grounds.

Oh how so many of us love cheese! Did you know whey is the watery part of milk that separates from the curds, as in the process of making cheese? The curds can take up to a 12 hour to process. 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joe’s is used to flavor the curds. The curds also known as ‘squeaky cheese’ at OC are a favorite healthy snack especially among kids. Our own Chris Murphy is known to munch on them regularly as he buys them at the Modesto farmer’s market. OC is also well known for their10 different flavored Gouda cheeses like garlic basil, smoked, jalapeno pepper, Mediterranean, and cumin to tease you with a few. I’ve often enjoyed soft goat cheese and was eager to try hard goat cheese, loved it! Then another 1st for me ‘quark’ cheese, similar to cream cheese but more tart, kind of like a thickened yogurt, but not, a real original with only 2% fat content! Quark originated in Germany/Austria. OC sells quark by itself, while they also use it to make cheesecake sold whole or in slices. Love this versatile cheese as OC has a pesto quark and a lemon quark, too!

I imagine you may still be hung up thinking about that picnic concept! OC has a wonderfully stocked specialty store that has all the makings of a tasty picnic as you can get caught up in the moment! A lil wine, a soft baguette, and plenty of cheese to rotate through! I’d also like to suggest the grilled Gouda sandwich for only $2.99 on wheat or sourdough. If you are anything like me, next you will be craving a sweet treat! YES I’ll say the BEST chocolate truffle in the world! I have sampled them from all over & hands down, lips smacking, the head baker, Sharon Secrest makes the BEST chocolate truffles I have had thus far! I love you like Oakdale Cheese Factory Chocolate Truffles (inside joke, you know who you are!)!

Thanks to the Bulk Family for supporting local charities like Oakdale High, Lyon’s Club. Soroptomist. 4 H, and more! In the store you will find locally grown fruits & veggies. Also, local food specialty items from Sconza, Oakdale Olive Oil Co., Fontana Farms,and Angelo’s Genovese Style Olives.

Modesto View’s signature question: Beatles or Stones? Lenneke, “Stones! I never fell for the Beatles” That must be why this cheese is so rockin’!!! Lenneke mostly prefers classical music, but I think she can either way!

Oakdale Cheese Factory & Specialties 10040 Hwy 120 Oakdale, CA 95361 209-848-3139 Open daily Hours: 9am to 6pm<> Facebook: Oakdale Cheese & Specialties!

By Dana Johnson FB: Dana”s Family Kitchen See more free recipes @ Dana Johnson FOX 40

DUTCH FONDUE (serves 6) (recipe from Oakdale Cheese & Specialties)

1 clove garlic 1 3/4 cups dry white wine (any!) 3 tbsp. Kirsch (optional liquor) 1 lbs. mild Gouda, grated 1 lbs aged Gouda, grated 2 tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. white pepper 1.4 tsp. nutmeg salt to taste

2 loves crusty Italian- or French bread

Preparation: In a plastic zip lock bag, coat the cheese with the 2 tbsp. flour. Rub the inside of a heavy pan ( I love my electric skillet) with garlic and dispose the clove. Heat wine (and Kirsch) over medium heat until wine is hot but not boiling. Add handfulls of coated cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted. Mixture should have a light creamy sauce appearance. If Fondue is too thick, add more wine. If too thin, add cornstarch/milk mixture. Flavor the Fondue with salt and spices. Bring to a boil and turn down. Place skillet in the middle of the table and keep hot (we keep the skillet plugged in with extension cord)

Cut the bread into 1″ cubes. Use fondue forks to dip the bread cubes in this yummy flavorful Fondue



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