How is Gouda Cheese made?
Gouda cheese is wheel-shaped and weighs 1 to 16 kg. Gouda cheese contains at least 48% fat (usually 51%) in dry matter. This means that Gouda cheese contains this percentage in fat without moisture. Fat content including moisture is 32% on the basis of weight. As the Gouda name is not protected, the cheese can be produced worldwide. Gouda cheese contains predominantly calcium, but also vitamins A, B, D and K2.
How is Gouda cheese made?
To make Gouda cheese you need milk, starter culture and rennet. Hot milk is collected in a large tub, after which rennet and starter culture are added. Rennet is required to create a hard substance and starter culture is needed for flavour and longer shelf life. When rennet and starter culture are added to the milk, a thick mass (curd) soon develops; this thick mass is cut and stirred to create the right substance. Next, the remaining moisture (whey) is removed. The hard substance is squashed into the cheese mould to obtain a nice shape and to squash the remaining moisture out of the cheese. To flavour the cheese it is given a brine bath and left to mature until the right taste has been achieved.
Pasteurised cheese means that the milk with which the cheese is made, is heated for a few seconds to a temperature over 72°C. This is done to kill the bacteria so health risks are avoided. This is the only way to guarantee a food-safe, dairy-made cheese.
Some farmers opt for thermising their cheese. This means the cheese is heated to a temperature between 40 and 72°C. This will guarantee a constant taste of the cheese with characteristic properties for each farm.
Raw milk cheese
Cheese made out of raw milk must not be heated over 40°C and can often be recognised by its name ‘farm cheese’. For French cheeses this is ‘au lait cru’. Strict demands are made on the preparation of raw milk cheese, as this process may generate bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella. For this reason, it is not recommended for people with health problems and pregnant women.
Cheese is usually made of rennet from the stomach of a dead calf. The calf is not killed for the rennet, but the rennet is collected as a by-product of the slaughter of calves. The shops of Old Amsterdam Cheese have a great variety of microbial rennet from micro-organisms, which means it is vegetarian.