Gouda belongs to a group of cheeses called washed curd cheeses. Since these are the cheeses that I have made the least of I decided I need to spend some time practicing on washed curd cheeses for the next month or so. I have gotten very good at the cheddars. Of course I should try to do some smoked cheeses and other varieties. Such as a washed curd cheese that is washed in beer instead of water. Sounds interesting and tasty
- 2 gallons whole milk (in the Willamette valley the best kind is from Lochmead farms aka Dari-mart)
- 1 packet direct-set Mesophilic starter
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
- 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
- non-iodized salt for brining
If you do not have a local brew store that has cheese supplies you can get them online at the New England Cheesemaking supply company they also have a good selection of other cheese making recipes and kits that you can buy.
Steps to make your cheese
- Gradually heat your milk to 90 degrees in a double boiler or a water bath. If you set it directly on a stove top you risk the chance of heating it unevenly and scorching the bottom.
- Once the milk is to temperature sprinkle the Mesophilic starter over the top of the milk. Let it re-hydrate for 5 minutes before you stir. Then stir for several minutes. Cover and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. To keep the heat in, you can cover the pot with a kitchen towel while you wait. The starter will multiply and divide and acidify the milk slightly during this stage
- Add in your calcium chloride. Since we are using store-bought milk this will allow the curds to form. If you are lucky enough to have fresh un-pasteurized milk you do not need to add any.
- Make sure you milk is still near 90 degrees. If not heat it for a short time to bring the temp back up. Now add your rennet to the milk and stir in an up and down motion. No making whirlpools in the milk. Then let sit and let the curd form for 60 minutes. If you don’t get a clean break after 60 minutes let it sit and check every 15 minutes for it. I have had a few batches I made with generic milk that took almost two hours to set up.
- Once your curd show a clean break cut into 1/2 inch cubes and then let sit for 10 minutes for the cut curds to rest and firm up
- Drain off one-third of the whey from your curds and add just enough water that is at 175 degrees to bring your curds up to 94-95 degrees. Keep stirring slowly the entire time. Then let settle for another 10 minutes
- Drain off the whey down to the level of the curds and add more 175 degree water until it hits 100 degrees this time. Keep it at 100 degrees for 20 minutes stirring every few minutes to keep the curds from matting
- Now you can drain off the whey and separate out your curds. Pour the mix into a cloth lined colander and allow draining for five minutes. Drain in a covered pot if possible to keep the curds close to temperature.
- Line a 2 pound mold with cheese cloth and scoop your curds into it. (your mold and liner should be ready before you finish heating your curds. Cap and press with 20 pounds for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cheese from the mold re-wrap and flip then press at 40 pounds for 20 minutes
- Re-wrap and flip and press at 50 pounds for 12 hours
- Add your finished cheese to your salt brine and let soak for 12 hours flipping once. Keep your brining cheese in the fridge. The standard cheese brine is 2 pounds of salt per gallon of water. You can also use the whey to make your brine. It will give a slightly different flavor then using just water. I prefer to use the whey mostly because I hate wasting any part of the milk.
- Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry. Then place on your drying mat and let it dry for 2-3 days or until it is dry to the touch. Then move it to your cheese fridge and allow it to form a rind while it ages. Turn it over frequently and check for mold often. If you see any mold form on the outside of your cheese just take a cloth and dip in vinegar and wipe it off. The molds that grow on cheese are easily killed and won’t harm you even if you eat them. For all of my cheese aging I use a wine fridge with the rack pulled out. It makes it easier to keep the temp at the right spot.
- Continue to let it age unwaxed in your cheese fridge for another 3-4 weeks then wax or vacuum seal. The purists will wax but those of us who don’t have the time to wax just seal the cheese in a vacuum bag and flip several times a week.
History of Gouda cheese:
Gouda cheese comes from Holland. It is named for the Dutch city of Gouda in the province of Zuid-Holland. In spite of that, the Gouda cheese with the highest regard comes from Noord-Holland. Gouda cheese is now a generic cheese describing the type and flavor of the cheese rather than its place of origin. The term “Gouda cheese” is registered in the European Union. The type of cheese it describes is yellowish and made from pasteurized cow’s milk.