Gouda cheese is from Dutch: Goudse kaas "Cheese from Gouda")
is a yellow cheese made from cow's milk. The cheese is named
after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, but its name is not
protected. Cheese under the name of Gouda is made and sold all
around the world.
The cheese is from milk that
is cultured and heated until the curd is separate from the whey.
Some of the whey is then drained, and water is added. This is
called "washing the curd", and creates a sweeter cheese, as the
washing removes some of the lactic acid. About ten percent of
the mixture is curd which are pressed into circular moulds for
These moulds are the essential reason behind its traditional,
characteristic shape. The cheese is then soaked in a brine
solution which gives the cheese and its rind a distinctive
taste. The cheese is then dried for a couple of days before
being coated to prevent it from drying out, then it is aged.
Depending on age classification, it can be any time between a
number of weeks to over 7 years before it is ready to be eaten.
As it ages it develops a caramel sweetness and sometimes has a
slight crunchiness from salt-like calcium lactate or tyrosine
crystals that form in older cheeses.
The term "Gouda" is now a
universal name, and not restricted to cheese of Dutch origin.
The term "Noord-Hollandse Gouda" is registered in the EU as a
Protected Geographical Status. The cheese itself was originally
developed in Gouda which is in the Dutch province South Holland,
hence the registered name referring to North Holland seems
incorrect. However, Noord Holland is the recognised premium
pasture area of Holland, being land claimed from the sea by the
use of dikes.
Within the Netherlands itself,
a number of varieties exist, based on age. From young to old,
these are: "Graskaas", "Jong", "Jong belegen", "Belegen", "Extra
belegen", "Oud" and "Extra oud". The older the cheese, the
harder and saltier it gets. The younger, the creamier.
Exported Gouda has two varieties, the young Gouda cheese aged
between 1 and 6 months, rich yellow in color and with a red or
yellow paraffin wax coating. This cheese is easily sliced with a
Exported Gouda which has aged more has a pungent underlying
bitterness, yet is still considerably creamier and sometimes
discernible by a black paraffin wax coating. This strong tasting
cheese is hard and often too brittle to cut using a slicer, but
it can be sliced by knife or served cut in cubes, with drinks.
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