Here is everything you need to know about the infamous Dutch dairy, Gouda cheese! The making, types, flavor, how to store it, nutrition info, and more.
I’ve been calling the Netherlands home for a whole month now, so it’s time we get cooking again! And what better way to kick off life in the Netherlands than by celebrating with cheese! Gouda cheese, of course. So as always, we’re kicking off this Gouda cheese cooking spree with a rundown of the basics of Gouda cheese. Here’s everything you need to know!
Where Does Gouda Cheese Come From?
Contrary to what you might think, Gouda cheese is not actually made in the city of Gouda, but rather, it is traditionally bought and sold in Gouda. Way back in the Middle Ages, towns could earn the rights to trade certain commodities. The town of Gouda had the right to trade cheese, so that’s where people went to buy and sell cheese!
Nowadays, “Gouda” refers more to the style of cheesemaking than the actual cheese, as Gouda cheeses can vary widely depending on age. For this reason, the name “Gouda” isn’t protected or meant to define only the cheese coming from Gouda. If you want the real deal, look for “Noord-Hollandse Gouda”, as this title is protected and can only represent true Dutch Gouda made with Dutch milk.
Here is everything you need to know about the infamous Dutch cheese, Gouda cheese! Variations, how to store it, nutrition information, and more.
How Is Gouda Cheese Made?
So how is Gouda made? When cultured milk curdles, some of the liquid whey is removed and replaced with warm water, which is then drained. This is known as “washing the curds”, and it helps to remove extra lactose, therefore preventing some of the lactic acid formations. The curds are then pressed into round molds and are plopped into a brine (saltwater) bath. The cheese is then set out to dry, coated in wax or plastic, and aged for anywhere from one month to over one year.
How Do You Pronounce Gouda?
And if you’re trying to be a real cheese connoisseur, you’re going to have to pronounce it right. While in America we pronounce it “g-OOO-dah”, it’s actually pronounced “(g)h-OW-da”. We don’t have anything like the sound of the Dutch G in English, but it’s almost like you’re clearing the back of your throat or are gargling. Cute right?
Types Of Gouda Cheese
Perhaps I’d just never paid as much attention to cheese in America as I have since lived in the Netherlands, but I’ve noticed that the common classification of cheese in the grocery is either “jong” (young) or “oud” (old). Digging a bit deeper, the Dutch actually classify their cheeses into six categories based on age:
Young or New Gouda: aged 4 weeks
Young Matured Gouda: 8 to 10 weeks
Matured Gouda: 16 to 18 weeks
Extra Matured Gouda: 7 to 8 months
Old or Fully Matured Gouda: 10 to 12 months
Very Old or Very Aged Gouda: over 12 months
What Does Gouda Cheese Taste Like?
The younger Gouda cheeses will have a more mild, soft, and almost sweet taste and texture. They’re best on sandwiches or crackers. The older Gouda cheeses become harder, stronger, and darker, taking on a buttery and nutty flavor. The deep flavor of the older Gouda makes it great for cooking (like in some Gouda mac n’ cheese), with crusty bread, or with wine.