Got gouda? I do!
Gouda cheese originated in the medieval Dutch city by that name, but of course it’s made all over the world now. Except, until recently, in my kitchen. I was afraid of gouda. It’s made by the “washed curd” method, and I’m afraid of any new cheesemaking method, which is why I’m writing this series of cheese challenge posts for New England Cheesemaking. I have to fulfill my monthly challenge and meet my deadline! No time for fear! Or procrastination!
The washed curd method involves removing whey from the pot and replacing it with hot water. This “washes” the milk sugar, or lactose, from the curds, lowering the acidity level and producing a creamy, mild flavor to the cheese. The cheese is then soaked in a brine, air-dried, and waxed. (Traditionally-made gouda in Holland is not waxed, however. It’s sold with a natural rind. I want to try some natural rind cheeses…..)
I’m using my well worn copy of Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll from New England Cheesemaking as my guide. Let’s go! (And don’t miss the giveaway at the end!)
How to make Gouda:
2 gallons whole milk
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter*
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
2 pounds cheese salt (for brine) — may be cheese salt or any non-iodized salt
1 gallon water (for brine)
*You can use regular mesophilic starter, but the special mesophilic starter designed specifically for soft ripened and fresh cheeses will give you more of the pronounced butter-like flavor you expect from a gouda.
1. Heat the milk to 90 degrees. Add the starter and mix well. Cover and allow the milk to ripen for 10 minutes.
2. Add diluted calcium chloride, if using. (If you have trouble with weak curds when using store-bought or home pasteurized milk, for a two gallon recipe add 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup cool water. Read more about using calcium chloride here.)
3. Add the diluted rennet and stir gently with an up-and-down motion for 1 minute. If using farm-fresh cow’s milk, top-stir 1 minute longer. Cover and let the milk set at 90 degrees for 1 hour, or until the curds give a clean break. Toward the end of the hour, start heating your pot of water for step 5.
4. Cut the curd into 1/2-inch cubes. Let them set for 10 minutes.
Curds are a beautiful thing.
5. Drain off one-third of the whey. I have no idea what one-third of the whey is as I pour off. I make my best guess at it.
Stirring continuously, slowly add just enough 175 degree water to raise the temperature of the curd to 92 degrees.
6. Let the curd settle again for 10 minutes. Drain off the whey to the level of the curd.
7. Once again, while stirring constantly, slowly add just enough 175 degree water to bring the temperature of the curd to 100 degrees. Keep the curd at 100 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring often to keep the curds from matting.
8. Allow the curds to set for 30 minutes.
9. Pour off remaining whey.
10. Quickly place the warm curds in a 2-pound cheese mold lined with cheesecloth, breaking them as little as possible. Press at 20 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes.
11. Remove the cheese from the mold and gently peel away the cheesecloth. Turn over the cheese, re-dress it, and press at 40 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes.
This is my new press.
It’s a spring-loaded press from New England Cheesemaking.
I really like not having to heft weights around anymore!
12. Repeat the process (turn over the cheese, re-dress it) but press at 50 pounds of pressure for 12-16 hours. Remove from the press. By the way, I keep one special piece of cheesecloth that I use for cheeses when going in the press for the final pressing stage. It’s a much smaller piece of cheesecloth, cut so that there’s very little excess material to clump and cause indentations on the top of the cheese during pressing.
I was so excited when I took this cheese out of the press. This is the best, smoothest pressed cheese I’ve ever made.
It’s a work of art! IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!!! But they can’t have it. It’s mine, mine, MINE.
13. Make a saturated brine solution by combining the salt and water in a noncorrosive (glass or stainless steel) container. Soak the cheese in the brine for 12 hours. I used an (unchipped) enamel bowl for my brine.
Flip the cheese in the brine occasionally. I also rested a spoon on top of the cheese to keep it under the surface.
14. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry. Refrigerate the brine solution for other recipes. Air-dry the cheese at 50 degrees for 3 weeks.
I’m still in the air-drying stage with my first gouda. I air-dry cheese on a cheese mat.
15. Wax the cheese.
16. Age it at 50 degrees for (at least) 3-4 months, turning it 3 or 4 times a week.
Yield: 2 pounds.
My experience: Gouda is an easy cheese! I’m afraid of washed curds no more! I’m thrilled with how my goudas have been coming out. I’ve made more since my first, which are in varying stages of air-drying, and I may even age one with a natural rind….. I’ll report back when my goudas have aged long enough to test! After my experience with letting one of my cheddars age six months before opening it, I am directing myself to let my cheeses age longer now. I’ll wait at least four months before breaking open one of my goudas.
My friend Astrid is from Holland, so she grew up with gouda. She makes it herself now from milk from her cow. Fascinated with the whole gouda thing and wanting to know how a real Dutch girl did it, I asked her how she makes hers. She makes it as outlined above except she doesn’t air-dry her gouda for three weeks. She air-dries her cheeses for a few days then either waxes them or goes with a natural rind. When making her natural rind goudas, she places them inside a plastic bag while they’re aging and watches for mold. She uses a toothbrush and some saltwater or vinegar to remove it, should any appear.
See how to make a homemade cheese press here. The spring-loaded press I use now can be found here.
See how I made my cheese cave here.
See all my posts in Cheesemaking here.
I get my supplies here.
This is my cow.
To help you get started making cheese, New England Cheesemaking is providing a package including (value of each item in parentheses): a hard cheese mold ($15.95), mesophilic culture ($5.95), veal rennet ($6.50), red wax ($5.50), cheese brush ($7.95), cheesecloth ($5.95), cheese salt ($2.95), and calcium chloride ($4.95). The total value of the package is $55.70. Note: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. ONE winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive the package. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow night (January 16). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time on Monday (January 17). Return to this post to claim your prize!
UPDATE 01/17/11: The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is #82, CD. Email me at CITRgiveaways(at)yahoo.com with your full name and address for shipping!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED TO ENTRY.