Cheese Slippers Are A Can't-Miss Kansas City Comfort Food

Cheese slippers aren't what you think they are. While they might sound like the greatest type of footwear of all time, the truth is that they're actually a totally-edible, doughy delight. The ultimate comfort food for Kansas City natives (and anyone else who tries them, for that matter), here's what you need to know about the salty and savory delicacy.

Like an ultra cheesy ciabatta, cheese slippers offer all the goodness of a freshly baked loaf of bread, but with a whole lot of pizzazz. Almost like a pizza without the sauce, the loaves are the ideal vessel for any number of add-ins and toppings. Incredibly rich and bursting with flavor, cheese slippers are a must-try.

As for that quirky name, let's look at the etymology of the word, ciabatta. According to The New York Times, ciabatta is the term for a rustic, oval-shaped bread with a light crumb and crusty exterior that's perfect to enjoy on its own or to split horizontally and craft panini — ciabatta also happens to be the Italian word for slipper. Playing with double meaning, Kansas Citians have taken a creative spin on the edible slipper that's sure to intrigue many.

A Brief History of the Cheese Slipper

A staple bakery in Kansas City's Westside, Fervere Bread Company was once the cheese slipper hub. The Pitch reports that owner and operator of the bakery, Fred Spompinato began selling cheese-laden ciabatta (affectionately dubbed cheese slippers) on Saturday evenings throughout the spring and summer months over a decade ago. Inspiring many to wait hours in line for the chance to get their hands on the decadent offering, On The Grid shares that cheese slippers became an instant hit.

When Spompinato eventually sold the bakery to Ibis Bakery owners Chris and Kate Matsch in 2015, many were unsure if that would be the end of the cheesy treat. But, given the overwhelming love of the ooey-gooey loaves, the new owners decided to keep the tradition of cheese slippers alive. Since 2017, Messenger Coffee Co explains that the mouthwatering morsels have been available during First Fridays — an evening dedicated to celebrating local artists — at Ibis' Crossroads location at Messenger Cafe.

How to Make the Iconic Cheese Slipper

Crafted by hand, cheese slippers are a definite labor of love. Following Spominato's original recipe of house-milled flour, yeast, organic wheat starter, water, and sea salt, The Pitch explains that the ciabatta isn't complete without an abundance of cheeses including (but not limited to) regular shredded cheddar, Alma Creamery smoked cheddar, Tillamook medium aged cheddar, and even Cedar Grove garlic cheese curds. 

Even without the addition of anything else, these slippers would be heavenly, however, more often than not, the ingredient list doesn't end there. In fact, Messenger Coffee Co shares that local herbs and seasonal produce are often mixed into the dough. Like a blank (albeit cheesy) canvas for creativity, the bread can be loaded with all sorts of creative toppings from heirloom tomatoes to eggs, and all the way to classic Kansas-style barbecue

While these drool-worthy loaves are easy to track down when in Kansas City, you don't necessarily need to make a trip to Missouri. Simply whip up some ciabatta dough, grate a bunch of cheese, and remember that more is more when it comes to mix-ins and toppings!