Gouda Cheese

The famous Dutch cheese

Cheese of the Gouda type is a firm, pressed cheese, cured in brine and at least six weeks old. Below some pictures showing "The making of", shot at a biological farm in the middle of France during the summer of 2002, and a short explanation of the process. Mind you, this is not a complete course in cheese making, just an impression. If you like this page, please link to it, do not copy without asking permission first. If you have an interesting site or blog on making cheese.or (the history of) food in general, I'll link back.

Introduction to cheese making, Milking, Herb Cheese, Fresh Cheese.

How to make Gouda cheese
The milk is heated slightly. Lactid-acid producing bacteria are added, half an hour later rennet is added. When the milk has curdled the curd is cut finely with a harp to the size of peas. The whey is partly removed, hot water is added, and again the whey is partley removed (with cow's milk this is done twice, with milk of sheep or goats it is done but once). The curd stands for a short while. The curd is then scooped out of the basin and put in cheese moulds wich are coverd in cheesecloth. The curd is pressed with the hands. The form stands on its top for five minutes. The very young cheese is then carefully removed from the form, and put back in upside down. The cheeses are now pressed more powerfully in a cheesepress, first with halfweight, and after a couple of hours, when the cheese is again turned, with full weight. The cheese is then taken out of the cheeseform, and cured in brine overnight. Again the cheese is flipped over the next morning. The cheese is now ready for the last stage: the maturing. This is done in a not too warm, well-ventilated space. The cheeses are turned daily. After six weeks you have a young Gouda cheese. When you have patience, and keep turning the cheeses, you get older cheese.


Cutting curdled milk, scooping off whey

Bacteria and rennet have been added, the milk has curdled. The curd is cut with a harp, the whey scooped off.

Curd and whey

Most of the whey has been scooped off. You can clearly see the granular structure of the curd.

Curd in a mould, and first turning

The curd is placed in a plastic cheese mould. After five minutes, the very young cheese is turned over and put back in the mould.

Wooden cheese mould

A wooden cheese mould must be dressed with cheese cloth before adding curd.

Cheese presses

These are simple, home made cheese presses. The weights are buckets filled with water, hanging from the lever.

Freshly pressed cheese

After a couple of hours, the cheeses are demoulded, turned over and put back in their moulds under the press.

Ceeses being cured and in the ripening cabinet

Curing is an important part of making cheese, to conserve it as well as enhance the taste. In the ripening cabinet the cheeses will rest for at least six weeks, being turned twice a day. The longer you let the cheese ripen, the more pronounced the taste will be.

If you'd like to become a cheesemaker yourself, I recommend American Farmstead Cheese , from Paul Kindstedt and the Vermont Cheese Council. More books on cheesemaking