If it is Gouda for you, then it is Gouda for me!…Part 1

December has come and gone, just as 2012 has turned to 2013, change is good, but certain things stay the same, I make cheese and I love it.  Recently I asked my readers to vote on which “washed curd” cheese I should make as my next cheese.  First I was surprised that anyone voted and that Fontina was a close second to the eventual winner Gouda.  Well if it is Gouda for you, then it is Gouda for me! I will have to write about this cheese in two parts.  The first part will cover the make itself and the first part of the afinage (aging) and the second part will cover the aging to tasting. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we will begin.

First what are “washed curd cheeses”?  Here is a general definition from the wonderful website Cheeseforum.org

 “Washed curd type cheeses are named for their making process of removing whey and adding water to wash the curds, other names are stirred-curd and soaked curd type cheeses. The original washed curd semi-hard type aged cheeses are Gouda and Edam originating in Netherlands, others examples being Havarti, Colby, Fontina, Danbo and Jarlsberg. They are typically commercially made in 4-14 kg wheels (Gouda) or 1-2 spheres (Edam) or blocks and are characterised by a limited number of regularly distributed small 2-10 mm diameter round eyes. They have a smooth texture when young (4 weeks) to medium matured, are easily sliced and have good melting properties. When older they develop more caramel flavor and amino acid crystals.

 Washed curd cheeses are historically made from cow’s milk using mesophilic mixed-strain starters cultures, which are rennet coagulated to form a curd. After curd formation, the curd is cut and then undergoes a mild low temperature scalding to control the moisture content and then part of the whey is removed and warm water added to “wash” the curds, which removes some of the lactic acid to create a sweeter cheese. The washed cut curds are then pre-pressed in the warm whey and then pressed out of the whey to form wheels. After pressing they are brine-salted to halt acidification and then historically aged unwaxed. The texture is mainly influenced by its moisture content, fat content, pH and age.” – Cheese Wiki on Cheeseforum.org

I have made several Gouda over the past few years, it was the first cheese I attempted and I have had great success with it. For this make I chose to use the directions in Gianalcis Caldwell’s Book  “Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking” which I reviewed for my site earlier this year.  I will not be posting the directions/recipe not because I want to be mean or petty, but as this is a new book I think you should get a copy as a companion book for your other books.

The make starts out almost the same as any other make, you heat the milk to a certain temperature then ripen, but here Gialaclis has you add the culture at one temperature then rise to another and then ripen.  This helps the cultures to wake up and be active prior to the ripening timing.  Once you have ripened the milk, then you add your rennet and again wait for your clean break and so forth (I love going out to Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese as they always have some work for you to do with other cheeses while you wait) I broke my high score on Santa Blast on my iPad.

Now comes the interesting part of the process, you heat some water to the temperature in the recipe, yes it must be non-chlorinated (boil it if you have to), then you remove whey from the vat.  The amount will be specific to the directions in the recipe.  In this case I removed 1/3rd of the whey.  I drank some and then dumped the rest.  You can save it for ricotta or for brine, but he rest will be useless for ricotta.  Then you add 1 cup at a time to raise the temperature of the whey in the vat to the prescribed temperature., in my case it took 3 cups of 70C water to hit the mark.  To be honest the next part is just like any other cheese, you stir for a bit, then you let it settle then you drain and hoop.  I chose to do something different.  I chose to press in the cheesecloth using the “Stilton Knot”(Gianaclis Caldwell has a section in her book about it and on her site here)

I did not take and pictures of the draining of the whey and washing.But here is the curd ready to be hooped.

I did not take and pictures of the draining of the whey and washing.
But here is the curd ready to be hooped.

Here we are ready to start the Stilton Knot

Here we are ready to start the Stilton Knot.

You gather up 3 corners and hold together, then you take the last one and wrap around the other 3.  You must go beneath each wrap to tighten the knot.

You gather up 3 corners and hold together, then you take the last one and wrap around the other 3. You must go beneath each wrap to tighten the knot.

Here we are ready to press.

Here we are ready to press.

Now the directions state that you should press using the same weight of the cheese, then double, triple for the last press.  I could not use my normal press for this, so I had to improvise something.

This was my first attempt, and I noticed 2 things.The tray would not hold a lot of whey & it was not enough weight.

This was my first attempt, and I noticed 2 things.The tray would not hold a lot of whey & it was not enough weight.

This was my solution, a plate on with the board, then the cans. and then the other board.  I think it was too much weight by then.

This was my solution, a plate on with the board, then the cans. and then the other board. I think it was too much weight by then.

By the time I got to the 3rd pressing I had the weight right and it was time to let it go for 8 hours.

By the time I got to the 3rd pressing I had the weight right and it was time to let it go for 8 hours.

It is the waiting that is the hardest thing to do.  Luckily it was the start of my Christmas Break so I had some things I could do around the house and I could play with my children.

So later in poor light I took off the weights and it was now time to see the results.

So later in poor light I took off the weights and it was now time to see the results.

Here we are with a little rustic belly button cheese.

Here we are with a little rustic belly button cheese.

It then went into a brine bath for 9 hours (3-4 hours per pound), I have some pictures, but who hasn’t seen a brining cheese.  As always I have more pictures on Much To Do About Cheese’s Facebook page here.  Then it was up early and I took it out of the brine for a little picture show.

This is the side that some people aren't too keen on.

This is the side that some people aren’t too keen on.

This is the back side and some people like this better

This is the back side and some people like this better.

I air-dried this little beauty for a day and then it was into the cave for a few days while I decided how I would age it.  I could try my hand at waxing it (which I suck at and I would lose some of the features to the wax), I could vacuum seal it, or I could do a natural rind with a bit of a spice oil mix.  So I chose to rub the rind with a mix of Olive Oil, Kosher Salt and Turmeric.

Here is the spice mix waiting to be painted on.

Here is the spice mix waiting to be painted on.

My wife is the artist not me, maybe I should have had her do it.

My wife is the artist not me, maybe I should have had her do it.

Two days in and the colour is spectacular, I love the golden hue.

Two days in and the colour is spectacular, I love the golden hue.

Even the belly button looks better with the colour.

Even the belly button looks better with the colour.

Now comes the hard part, the waiting I am hoping to do a follow-up on the Gouda when I open it up for tasting.  When that happens I will have tasting notes and the rest will be vacuum sealed for further aging.  I love aged gouda, or I just might give some to Sailor Rick to put in the smoker and see how that turns out.

In the mean time go make some cheese!

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19 comments

  1. How fun! My dad is making my mom and me a double cheese press and I can’t wait. I am sure this is a very novice question, but while I love Havarti, Colby, Fontina, and Jarlsburg, I am just not that fond of Gouda. What is the difference?

    1. Hi Laurel,
      Well the cultures are similar, though Fontina & Jarlsburg are thermophilic cheeses, it has to do with the temperature of the “wash water”. Some are cold water, same temperature as the whey and others are done with hot water. Havarti has salt added to the whey during the make, Edam is submerged in hot water the next day, Colby is a cool water washed cheese. Wall things like that can change texture and flavour to some extent. You might find you like your Gouda but not a store bought or the opposite of hat with a Colby.

  2. Love the pictures of how you made your press. This has been a mystery of the process for me – how to press without a press!

    1. Is is the first time that I have used this method for pressing. I am pleased with the results, but I would not want to do it with a cheese like a Parmesan, the thermophilic cheeses tend to stick to cloth cheesecloth. There are other ways to press without a press.

    1. Chris, go for it. Cheese making at home is very rewarding and make great gifts for any occasion. You could even use homemade beer as a rind treatment as well.

  3. I am looking forward to making Gouda – but am so surprised my how white it is!
    And the spice mix? Didn’t know they get brushed on. Am amidst a mould crisis on my Asiago – check it daily – and today it is covered with grey fuzz!!!!!

    1. Gouda or any washed curd cheese are actually fun to make in my books. The colour is due to the milk used, when I try a new recipe I use grocery store milk. For this one I used 14 litres of pasteurized/homogenized milk, any chance of colour would have to come from another source. I brushed on the mix (my choice as I have issues waxing) so at the oil/salt/turmeric mix would get an even coat and given turmeric stains I did not want to use my hands or a cloth.

      As for your mold issue, I would clean it off with a dry salt treatment. Rub salt on the rind then brush off or use a simple brine. Then once it is dry and the mold is gone, oil the rind with some good quality olive oil. It is more traditional than brine washing. Don’t be afraid if the mold, you could let it go for a while and then knock it back later. I had a similar conversation out at Smoky Valley on the 27th

  4. Great post Ian,

    I will probably try the same recipe in a few weeks. Just let me know if you want some smoked (coincidently I just bought some Gouda today to smoke). I’m experimenting with more exotic smokes looking for something new and exciting. I will keep you posted.

    1. Thank you very much, I appreciate the kind words. I had to vacuum seal the Gouda the other day, it is a shame, but where I live has low humidity and I had issues with my “cave”, mind you the Turmeric colour intensified.

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