Gouda (or ; from Dutch IPA: , or Goudse kaas [ɣʌudsə kaːs], "Cheese from Gouda") is a yellow cheese made from cow's milk. The cheese is named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, but its name is not protected. Gouda cheese is sold around the world.
The cheese is made from cow
that is cultured and heated until the curd
is separate from the whey
. Some of the whey is then drained, and water is added. This is called "washing the curd", and creates a sweeter cheese, as the washing removes some of the lactic acid. About ten percent of the mixture is curds which are pressed into circular moulds
for several hours. These molds are the essential reason behind its traditional, characteristic shape. The cheese is then soaked in a brine
solution which gives the cheese its rind and distinctive taste. The cheese is then dried for a couple of days before being coated to prevent it from drying out, then it is aged, depending on age classification, for a number of weeks to over 7 years before it is ready to be eaten. As it ages it develops a caramel sweetness and sometimes has a slight crunchiness from protein crystals that form in older cheese.
The term "Gouda" is now a generic name, and not restricted to cheese of Dutch origin. The term "Noord-Hollandse Gouda" is registered in the EU as a Protected Designation of Origin
. Strangely, the cheese itself was originally developed in Gouda which is in the Dutch province South Holland
, hence the registered name referring to North Holland
seems incorrect. However, Noord Holland is the recognised premium pasture area of Holland, being land claimed from the sea by the use of dikes.
Exported Gouda is usually the young variety (aged between 1 and 6 months, rich yellow in color and with a red or yellow paraffin wax coating). This cheese is easily sliced on bread with a cheese slicer. Exported Gouda has a pungent underlying bitterness, yet is still considerably creamier than other common cheeses, such as cheddar cheese or Edam cheese. Locally, old Gouda (aged between 12 and 18 months, orange-yellow in color and sometimes discernible by a black paraffin wax coating) can be obtained. This strong tasting cheese is hard and often too brittle to cut using a slicer, but it can be sliced by knife or served cut in cubes, with drinks. Smoked gouda which is a processed cheese and Leyden cheese are also popular variations.