Gouda cheese is one of the oldest recorded cheeses in the world that is still being produced today. The first mention of Gouda cheese was in 1184. Gouda is a mild-flavored cheese made from cow’s milk and has a pleasing yellow color that is often associated with regular cheese. Today, the term Gouda cheese is used for any cheese that is produced in the traditional Dutch method. While the name “Gouda” was taken from the city of Gouda, the cheese wasn’t made there. Gouda was where cheesemakers gathered to sell their cheese since the city acquired the market rights on cheese.
- The cheese weighing and selling continue in the City of Gouda until this day. Every Thursday from June to August, artisan cheesemakers still gather in the city to sell their cheese just like they did hundreds of years ago.
- Gouda cheese can be aged from several weeks to seven years with the taste becoming saltier and more pungent as it ages.
- Gouda is usually used in wine tastings at wineries to cleanse the palate.
- The wax coating on the exterior of Gouda cheese is an indication of the age of the cheese. Lighter coatings mean younger cheeses, darker coatings meant more mature cheeses.
Gouda Buying Guide
Most Gouda cheese nowadays is industrially made around the world. The game Gouda now refers to the style of the cheesemaking rather than the source of the cheese. If you want the real-deal, made in Gouda-Gouda cheese, look for the name “Noord-Hollandse Gouda” as this is the only protected name for Gouda cheese that’s made in North Holland and with 100% North Holland Milk.
If you find that North Holland Gouda is out of your reach, there are still Boerenkaas, literally translated as farmer’s cheese, which is also protected under EU trade laws. To date, there are about 300 producers that can label their cheese Boerenkaas and still produce their cheese in accordance with the traditional production methods.
Now if you can’t find any of the truly authentic Gouda cheeses, the next best option would be to get Gouda cheese that’s produced by local Cheesemakers in Texas.
Gouda Production & Farming in Texas
Due to the presence of a lot of family farms in Texas, as well as milk producers, you can easily find local artisanal Gouda cheese at your local farmers’ markets. While they might not be produced up to the standard that the European Trade laws set, they are made with some of the best organic raw materials this side of the country and are handmade with very strict standards.
While cheesemaking doesn’t typically involve the use of preservatives and chemicals, the larger industrial producers will resort to using them to keep up with the large commercial demand. Local producers don’t have this problem as they produce Gouda cheese in small batches and usually just produce enough for their local communities and markets.
Chemicals, Additives, and Preservatives:
One of the most common preservatives in cheeses, especially commercially produced Gouda cheese is Natamycin. This is a mold inhibitor that is added to the surface to prevent nonessential molds from growing on the cheese. Several grocery chains have already banned any Gouda product that contains this additive.
Another common additive in commercially produced Gouda cheese is food coloring. This is added to make the cheese more visually appealing to the shopper.
Depending on the production method, Gouda cheese may have a coating made from wax to protect the cheese from air and contaminants. Commercially produced Gouda cheese may be sliced into wedges and vacuum sealed. Some large commercial Gouda producers make Gouda cheese in the form of cheese slices that are individually packed like the typical American sliced cheese that’s used on burgers.
Gouda cheese can be eaten with fruits and other deli items like on a cheese platter. Gouda is also great on sandwiches (think melty grilled cheese sandwiches). Gouda can also be added to vegetable dishes to give it a nice salty kick. While not traditionally added to mac and cheese, we recommend adding some Gouda the next time you make some.
The best method to store Gouda cheese is to wrap it in parchment paper and loosely wrapped in cheese. Store in the warmest section of your fridge, we suggest near the bottom part of the vegetable drawer or the furthest away from the cooling vent. Stored like this, Gouda cheese should last for a good two to three weeks before unwanted mold grows on it.
How is Gouda Cheese Made:
Of course, we won’t go through the step-by-step in making Gouda cheese from start to finish, but we will give a brief overview of how to make it.
Gouda cheese is made with three ingredients namely cow’s milk, starter culture, and rennet.
The milk is warmed in a large tub before rennet and starter culture is added to it. After a while a solid mass will develop, this is called the curd. This is slowly stirred until the required substance is formed. The excess liquid is then drained out and then the curds will be pressed into circular molds to attain the nice wheel shape as well as to remove the excess moisture. The cheese is then brined until it has reached the right maturity and taste that is required.
Pairings with Gouda:
Since Gouda cheese has a mild nutty and fruity taste, it is best paired with full-bodied wines such as Red Zinfandel, a rich Porter, or a bright flavored Grenache. For food pairings, Gouda cheese is best with Piquillo peppers, salted almonds and pecans, and locally produced country ham.