The recipe for making Gouda cheese is very simple and well known but to make a consistently good cheese under varying circumstances during the dairy season requires skill and experience. It is like wine; the recipe is very simple but to make a consistently good wine is a very different story.
Gouda cheese is made from fresh cows milk and pasteurised before use.
At 29 degrees Celsius we add cheese-starter and rennet. These coagulate the milk after just 30 min. The coagulated milk is cut into small blocks the size of a bean. These are called curds. During this process a watery fluid comes free.
This is called cheese-whey. By heating up the mixture and diluting the whey under constant stirring the curds become smaller and harder until they are hard enough. The whole process from adding starter and rennet to the hard curds takes 3 hours. Now the curds are gathered and put into cheese-moulds. These Gouda cheese-moulds (imported from Holland) give the cheeses their distinctive flat round shape. The curds in the cheese-moulds have to be pressed for 3 hours to form a solid block of Gouda cheese. Now the new cheeses have to develop for another 4 hours in their moulds.
At 7pm the cheeses have to go into a salt-bath (brine) to receive salt and to form a protective rind. No other additives are used. The cheeses stay in the brine for 3 days altogether. Although the natural rind is a good protection for the cheese, we still give them an extra coating to make them easier to care for and better looking. It is recommended to cut this rind off with a cheese slicer or knife before consumption.
We make our Gouda cheeses the traditional way (which we feel is the only way for a quality cheese) that is a brine salted cheese with a natural rind and a protective cheese coat to prevent it from getting mouldy. The cheeses are cured on wooden shelves at 15 deg. C for up to 18 months, and require a lot of tender loving care during that time. They have to be turned every day! This way the cheese gets its character and full-bodied flavour.
We received our cheese-making course in Holland by a cheese master from Gouda in the early 1970’s. We know our cheeses compare with the best of our native Holland not in the least because of the excellent milk quality in New Zealand.