Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Cream City Cheeseburger

When you hear the term “Cream City,” you think it’s a reference to dairy, right?
Well, would you believe me if I told you it was really a reference to bricks?

It just so happens that the red clay so prevalent along the western shore of Lake Michigan turns a creamy white color after it’s been fired. And since many of the buildings in Milwaukee are constructed of locally produced brick, it got to a point (beginning in the 1870’s) that visitors couldn’t help but notice that the buildings in the city were virtually all cream-colored. Hence the city became known as the "Cream City," and the bricks, in turn, became universally known as "Cream City bricks."

Now, this story might be neither here nor there were it not for a recently developed recipe that we named after our beloved “Cream City.”

Although the city of Milwaukee’s rich heritage has been influenced by many cultures and traditions it seems best known for its German ties. During the middle and late 19th century German immigrants fleeing the Revolution of 1848 discovered both inexpensive land and freedom on the banks of Lake Michigan. And their settlement created a culture that washed over the city and gained widespread influence, particularly with regard to its food.

Nowhere is this more evident than along Old World Third Street, a three-block historic landmark zone just north of downtown. The city’s past is brought to life in the detailed facades of the 19th-century European–style buildings lining this cobblestone street, home to Usinger’s Sausage, Mader’s Restaurant, Wisconsin Cheese Mart, The Spice House, and the Old German Beer Hall

This burger is a tribute to all that makes Milwaukee, the Cream City, famous.

It begins with a simple burger made from fresh Wisconsin-made bratwurst, removed from its casing, shaped into a patty, and grilled. The burger is topped with beer-braised onions and a liberal serving of delicious beer cheese sauce made with Springside beer cheddar and Lakefront Brewery’s Riverwest Stein lager.
 Even the pretzel roll on which it is served has a German ancestry, with the word “pretzel” being derived from the German word “bretzel.” Because the dough contains no shortening, eggs, or milk, pretzels traditionally kept well, and their saltiness made them a favorite accompaniment to alcoholic beverages like German beer. These days, the Pretzilla pretzel roll is made by Miller Baking Company, an 88-year-old Milwaukee-based business known for its traditional German rye bread.

For the full Cream City experience, enjoy this burger on a warm summer night washed down with a cold beer and followed by a scoop of delicious frozen custard.

The Cream City Cheeseburger

We're pleased to say that this recipe is being featured on Wisconsin Cheese Talk, along with a series of other delicious recipes.  Check it out!

References Related to "The Cream City"
Milwaukee Architecture, Dr. Steven Ryer
Seeing the Light: Lighthouses of the western Great Lakes
Creative Commons License
©BURP! Where Food Happens


  1. Wow is all I can say. This would be a great recipe for the first Sunday of football coming up. I actually have some pretzel rolls in my freezer from Trader Joe's that I haven't decided what I wanted to put on. I think I know now....what a great idea here!

  2. As much as I love Miller's bakery (and I sure do!), I make my own pretzel rolls when I have the time. Got the recipe from Serious Eats and it's surprisingly quick and easy. Not as quick and easy as grabbing a pack of Miller's from Sentry, but still...

  3. I want to come to your house for dinner!


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