It’s a Gouda Thing

Having successfully made – or at least processed – cheddar cheese, I decided to try making gouda, which differs from cheddar by being a washed curd cheese. I’d take advantage of the heat wave which had rendered my kitchen almost unusable to maintain the incubation temperatures the cheese required.

I started by heating the milk to 90°F in a sink full of water at 100°F. I added a packet of mesophilic starter, mixed, and let the milk ripen in the covered pot for ten minutes. I mixed in a half teaspoon of liquid rennet (diluted in a quarter cup of unchlorinated water), covered the pot, and let it sit at 90°F for an hour.

I cut the curd into half-inch cubes and let them set for ten minutes.

Here’s where the process diverges from the cheddar method. I poured off a third of the whey and slowly stirred in 175°F water until the temperature of the curd reached 92°F. I let the curd settle for ten minutes, then drained off the whey again, to the level of the curd.

I stirred in more 175°F water, until the temperature of the curd reached 100°F. I kept the curd at that temperature for fifteen minutes, stirring to prevent matting. After stirring I let the curds set for thirty minutes.

I poured off (and saved) the remaining whey, transferred the curds to a cheesecloth-lined mold, and pressed at twenty pounds of pressure for twenty minutes. I unwrapped the cheese, inverted and re-dressed it, then applied forty pounds of pressure to twenty minutes.

Because the curds hadn’t been milled (mixed with salt), they didn’t release as much water, resulting in a slightly taller cheese.

After a final re-dressing, I applied fifty pounds of pressure and let the cheese sit overnight.

After sixteen hours I unmolded the cheese.

I soaked it in a saturated brine (two pounds of sodium chloride, one tablespoon calcium chloride, one gallon of water) for twelve hours. The cheese floats, so I weighed it down with an inverted plate.

I removed the cheese from the brine, patted it dry, and air-dried it at 50°F for three weeks in my cheese fridge. (You can see the cheddar on the lower shelf.)

After three weeks it had hardened and yellowed (seen at the top of this post), so I waxed and labeled it.

Not including the three weeks of air drying, I intend to age this cheese for at least four months, which means I’ll have gouda for the winter holidays.

In the meantime…

The suspense was killing me. The cheddar I made looked right, but how would it age? Today, after nine weeks of aging, I cut it open and had a taste.

It looked right, it had the correct density and crumbly texture, and it tasted like cheddar cheese. It was mild, but superior to the rubbery supermarket stuff. There was a bit more acidity than I expected, probably due to the short aging period. Still, it was a success.

I think I’ll wind up making at least one cheddar a month. If I start now, I’ll have tasty aged cheese come next spring. If I can wait that long.

It's a Gouda Thing on Punk Domestics
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14 Responses to It’s a Gouda Thing

  1. Yum! So when is the wine and cheese party?

  2. Ken Meltsner says:

    Clearly you belong here in Wisconsin.

  3. Malea says:

    This is fantastic! But, I have a couple of questions. I am severely allergic to dairy. Do you think a 13 year old boy could make this on his own (or just with supervision but not actual help in the process)? My son is 13, and not allergic to dairy. He LOVEEEEESSSS cheese. Could the drying process be done in my regular fridge, or would that be too cold?

    Thanks in advance for any advice or thoughts…

    • David says:

      I think a thirteen-year-old could do it, as long as he kept everything clean. As for the fridge, you really need the temperature between 50 and 55 degrees. Any colder and the cheese won’t age.

  4. Robin says:

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing this journey in cheese making. You make it look so easy ~ Such Beautiful and tasty end results of your hard work!

  5. Annie says:

    That’s a nice looking cheddar. I need to put Gouda on my list to try making. Today it’s a “traditional” cheddar, as opposed to the farmhouse cheddar I usually make. Thought I used up almost all the milk in the house only to open the other fridge and find yet another half gallon staring at me. Guess it will be fromage blanc tomorrow…

    • David says:

      The gouda and cheddar aren’t that different. My next cheddar will probably be a stirred curd version instead of the quick farmhouse method. If that works, I’l move on to the traditional method.

  6. Sissi says:

    I have seen your Gouda photo on Punk Domestics and instantly jumped into your blog. I am so impressed! (Me, who was very proud of doing my own curd cheese…) Have you used raw milk? (Is it a maki rolling mat I see under the cheese? 😉 )
    By the way, the idea to make Julia Child’s recipe every year on St Julia’s day is wonderful! I have read Julia’s biography and her cookery book (I have bought an old edition for the equivalent of 2 dollars before the film was made and before everyone got hooked on her) and I am still in awe of her passion and patience for food. I hope you will not mind if I copy your tradition 🙂
    Congratulations for the fascinating blog!

    • David says:

      I don’t use raw milk, I use pasteurized (but not ultra pasteurized) milk, which works well. Yes, that’s a maki rolling mat, the cheese supply places sell then as draining mats, and they’re cheaper than buying them at Japanese markets.

      Everyone should cook on Julia’s birthday.

      I like your blog. You should try making the watermelon and lemongrass cocktail I had at Next (

      • Sissi says:

        Thank you, David, for the answer. I will try making the cocktail next time I have some watermelon. It sounds very interesting (the light green colour you mention is maybe due to the fact they used the white part just under the rim… it’s used in making jams by some people, I have even tasted once, but found it has completely lots the subtle flavour during the cooking process). I am very glad you like my blog 🙂

  7. JO'N says:

    But here’s the important question: do you pronounce it [guÊ·dÉ™] or [ɣʌuda]? I certainly want to avoid potential fox paws.

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