Celebrated in a wide span of culinary cultures, Gouda has its roots in the southern regions of the Netherlands. Typically made from cow’s milk, this semi-hard cheese is characterised by its aromatic and caramel-like flavour combined with its dense and springy texture. Hints of nuts with sweet and creamy notes embrace your palate in a graceful sensation and, depending on the age, the finish ranges from smooth to sharp.
Although categorised in multiple types, the essence of Gouda remains essentially the same throughout all of its variations. The flavours are imparted, to a great extent, from the natural pastures on which the cattle graze, and the development of salt crystals gives it a crumbling texture as the cheese ages.
Distinct in character, diverse in style, Gouda conveys a full-bodied and rich flavour, embodying versatility.
Immense attention to detail goes into the production of Gouda, all the way from the milking parlour to the creamery, with quality being ensured through comprehensive testing.
The process begins by pouring fresh milk into a large vat. Depending on the type of Gouda, the milk is either raw or pasteurised. Natural bacteria and rennet are then added to coagulate the milk and form the curd. When firm, the curd is separated and placed in a mould. The cheese obtains its characteristic density from being compressed by weights, and is then ready for brining. The salt from the brine slows down any unwanted bacterial activity and promotes the iconic Gouda flavour. A natural cheese coating is applied to help shield against contamination, before it is finally set to age. A steady lukewarm temperature encourages the flavours to flourish while simultaneously allowing the cheese to release moisture, resulting in a dense and consistent texture. Gouda can spend anywhere from 4 weeks to over 12 months maturing, resulting in vastly different outcomes.
Gouda comes in both pasteurised and unpasteurised variants. Similarly, production calls for either vegetarian or non-vegetarian rennet, resulting in cheeses suited for most preferences. Always be sure to check the label when in doubt.
By and large, sweet and buttery flavours are commonplace among a broad array of cheeses, and finding one that shares similar traits to those of Gouda should not take long.
Comparable in both appearance and taste, Edam is another Dutch semi hard cheese. It is characterised by its nutty and sweet flavour, and its dense texture. Made from cow’s milk, the flavours and aromas sharpen as it ages.
A sharper take on the Gouda flavour, Cheddar offers a similar density and texture. Less sweet, with stronger notes of butter and hazelnut, Cheddar works as a competent alternative to Gouda.
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