¿What is Gouda Cheese?
Renowned for their delectable salty flavor and robust consistency, Dutch cheeses including Gouda have attained widespread popularity. Gouda cheese, in particular, stands as a testament to both healthfulness and exquisite taste, stemming exclusively from the use of top-tier ingredients.
Gouda cheese boasts an exceptional nature; while in its youthful state, it presents a soft and creamy profile, radiating a light hue. With the passage of time, it evolves into a rich caramel hue, a transformation that characterizes its extended aging. The origins of Gouda cheese trace back to the southern reaches of Holland, finding its birthplace in the city of the same name. Presently, its production extends across numerous nations globally.
Classified as a semi-hard cheese, Gouda should not be interchanged with tybo cheese—a counterpart that shares the comparable texture yet diverges in both flavor and outer rind.
¿Where does Gouda originate from?
Contrary to popular belief, Gouda cheese is not made in the city of Gouda, but is traditionally bought and sold in Gouda. Already in the Middle Ages, cities could earn the right to trade in certain products. The city of Gouda had the rights to trade in cheese, this was the place where people went to buy and sell cheese.
Today, “Gouda” refers more to the style or method of cheese making than to the cheese itself, as Gouda cheeses can vary greatly with age. For this reason, the name “Gouda” is not protected nor is it intended to define only cheese from Gouda. If you want to look for the original, it is the “Noord-Hollandse Gouda”, since this title is protected and can only represent the true Dutch Gouda made with milk from Dutch cows.
¿How is Gouda cheese made?
When cultured milk is curdled, some of the liquid whey is removed and replaced with hot water, which is then drained. This is known as “curd washing”, and helps to remove excess lactose, thus preventing the formation of lactic acid. After that, the curd is pressed into round molds and placed in a brine (salt water) bath. The cheese is then dried, covered with wax or plastic and left to mature for a month to more than a year.
Types of Gouda:
You may never have paid that much attention to Gouda cheese, but at a glance if you present them in a row it is possible to realize that they are differentiated by their age or ripeness. If you dig a little deeper, the Dutch classify their cheeses into six categories based on the maturity of the cheese:
- Young or new Gouda: 4 weeks matured.
- Young matured Gouda: from 8 to 10 weeks
- Matured Gouda: 16 to 18 weeks
- Extra mature Gouda: 7 to 8 months
- Old or fully matured Gouda: 10 to 12 months
- Very old or fully matured Gouda: more than 12 months
¿What is the taste of Gouda?
The freshest Gouda cheeses have a milder flavor and texture, soft and almost sweet. They are best for snacking, sandwiches or crackers. Older Gouda cheeses become harder, stronger and darker in color, and acquire a buttery, nutty flavor. The deep flavor of older Gouda makes it ideal for cooking (for example a corn and cheese omelet), with a baguette and accompanied by a good wine 😉 .
¿How to preserve it?
Cheese is a living, breathing being, so it is best not to cover it in plastic wrap. Wrap your Gouda in butter paper and then in plastic wrap without pressing. Place it in the least cold area of the refrigerator, for example in the vegetable section. Gouda should last 2 to 3 weeks. Freezing alters the texture of the cheese, so I recommend not to do it unless absolutely necessary, however it can be consumed without any problem.
Nutritional information for Gouda:
Serving 100 g (3.5 oz)
Carbohydrates 2 grs
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 25 g
Fat: 27 grams