Thursday, January 27, 2022

Incredible Gouda Cheese Facts 101

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Cheese and chocolate are everyone’s ultimate favorite. Just think how it would be if we never had them in the first place. Ahh! I know, it sounds like a nightmare, hehe! With having lots of cheese as a part of our cheat days, you might be living under a rock if you don’t know about Gouda Cheese. Even if you do, let me tell you some facts and the process of the creation of gouda cheese that you might be unaware of.

Gouda cheese

Facts About Gouda Cheese:

There are almost 2000 different varieties of cheese, yet more than 55% of people across the world prefer gouda cheese over any other type of cheese. Cheese are good sources of protein, calcium, and also of vitamins like A and B12, but we love cheese because our pizzas and burgers will be like Romeo without his Juliet, Sherlock without Dr. Watson, and Phoebe without her weirdness.

I never came across a single person who hates cheese. From cheesecake to cheese yogurt, we have our way to enjoy and style it. Well known for its fantastic taste and high calcium content in it strengthens our bones and is recommended to add in your diet too.

Some facts still claim that Gouda cheese is one of the oldest cheese, which is always made and  were first dated in 1184. Initially, making cheese was a women’s task. Moreover, the wives of the farmer used to do it, which was further carried by their daughters. Now it is produced industrially and is costlier, yet it is the most used cheese than the rest. Still, there are 300 farms in the Netherlands that have it in the same old fashioned manner and are well received by their buyers.

What is it named after? 

It is originally a Dutch cheese named after a city called Gouda and is primarily made from pasteurized cow milk. Its beautiful texture is what makes everyone it’s a fan! The primary market of buyers resides in Gouda. Cheesemakers used to gather around in Gouda not only because it was a good trading point that was the major attraction of customers, but also because rulers of that city used to grant monopoly trading rights on all cheese sales taking place in that area. Statistics say that every individual in Dutch consumes about 17 kilos of cheese every year. They are the major cheese lovers, without any doubt.

Most people get confused between Cheddar cheese and Gouda cheese, but its process is entirely different. It is more like a style of making a cheese rather than calling it a type of cheese. From the style of driving to the texture, we can observe the difference. 

To explain it in short, cheddar cheese is relatively hard and is off-white. It originates in the English village of cheddar and is also used diversely. It is less sweet than gouda cheese and has a strong buttery taste. 

How is it made? 

The very first step is called- the washing of curds, or we can also get it as the solution of whey, which takes away lactose sugar and lets the curd absorb well, also helps us to fetch open textured reduced acid cheese. While in cheddar cheese, there is nothing called as the washing of the curd. Following the tradition, the mixture which is obtained has about 20% of curd and is later pressed into circular shapes and then left for drying. At last, it is covered with yellow wax, which is paraffin was that obstructs it from drying out and makes it long-lasting. It matures after 16-18 weeks and then gets aged.

Gauda Cheese covered in yellow wax.
Is old gouda cheese good?

The more old the cheese is, the sweeter it is. Gouda Cheese that is a  year or elder, is also enjoyed with strong beers because of its natural sweet caramel taste. To make it last long, it’s essential to store it well. Though it is named after the city Gouda, it is not completed there. Instead, it’s sold there, and they have a Gouda cheese market for the same. Every Thursday from June till August, all the farmers of the surrounding region gather to sell, buy, and taste the cheese.

While buying cheese, they used the hadjeklap system where both sellers and buyers used to shout out the price and later used to agree at a point.

Gouda cheese can age for several weeks or even for years. Also, the most aged gouda cheese is a bit salty and has a strong flavor and smell, whereas the young cheese is more creamy and mild in taste. Few producers also add some spices while manufacturing this cheese, to add a new flavor touch overall.

To recognize the oldest cheese, just look at the wax; it’s covered with a black or darker coating. A piece of very young gouda cheese has red wax on it. It’s important to know that the older cheese is, the crunchier it will be compared to the young ones, which are moist and are advised not to store it in colder places.

What is it’s health benefits?

The vitamin B12 that it provides helps to keep our heart healthy by lowering down the levels of homocysteine, which is an acid that contributes to cardiovascular disease. It also synthesis hemoglobin and a fair amount of protein that helps in the structuring of our tissues and organs. 

No need to mention that protein is the body’s fundamental requirement. One ounce of this cheese provides men with 12% and women with 15% of their body’s protein requirement. With such a high content of calcium, it reduces the chances of blood clotting and maintains healthy blood pressure. 
Small pieces of Gauda cheese
Can it be made from goat milk? 

As I said earlier, gouda also refers to a way in which we make cheese. Majorly cow milk is used, but goat milk can also be used for the same, and it is also from Holland.

Comparing their tastes, the one made from goat milk is tangier than the one which is made from cow milk. This goat cheese gouda are wrapped in white or blue wax. It takes about five months for this goat cheese to mature, so it has an ivory color interior.

Are there any alternatives for Gouda Cheese?

It is mainly produced in Dutch, keeping it’s sweet,  caramelized, and semi-hard texture into notice; Edam is the one such cheese that falls on the same line, precious and semi-hard, and has a nutty flavor. Its mesmerizing aroma sharpens as it ages. So we can use Edam cheese in case we don’t have gouda cheese.

Another one would be Havarti cheese, which is highly appreciated in Denmark. Even this cheese is made from pasteurized cow milk. It has a beautiful nutty and creamy flavor and is pale yellow in appearance. Having significant similarities right from the primary level, it is also preferred by many people. 

Why does older gouda cheese have white crystals on it? 

The older the cheese is, the more crunchy it becomes. These crystals that are formed inside the cheese signifies that the cheese has grown old well. The best way to store it will be to wrap it in the parchment paper rather than suffocating it. Also, remember that freezing it, especially the aged cheese, will alter the texture of the cheese and may reduce the time for which it will last.

No need to say that we use it in every possible item like a burger, pizza, fries, cake, mac, and cheese( only young ones), and the list is endless. Apart from that, we can also use it by adding it to baked potatoes or with some crackers or bread for snacks. In a full cheese platter, it is served with soft blue cheese too. ( I know
cheese lovers can’t control themselves right now).
Pizza topped with Gauda CheeseAnother reason to love it is that it can be sweet and kind of spicy at the same time. That same cheese shows so many different variations in texture and looks that everyone would claim it to be the best cheese ever created.

Now that we know so much about Gouda cheese, it would be wrong if we don’t even know how to pronounce it correctly. So you can either pronounce it as goo-duh or how-duh. At the native place, it is also pronounced as ‘ How-duh. ‘

When it comes to serving, it’s best if we serve aged gouda cheese at room temperature while the young one, i.e., 1-6 months old, to be served cold. Topping the older ones with apple syrup or sugar is also being done as snacks.

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A quick tip also you would have guessed it as gouda cheese becomes crunchy as it gets old, it won’t be accessible at all to melt it( won’t be that difficult with young one’s), So when you’re craving for Mac and cheese, don’t go for gouda cheese precisely the
older one, it will make the entire serving very clumsy. It will also lose its taste and texture. You can use other cheese alternatives for this.

Now I believe that whenever you plan to visit Holland, you will add Gouda city as a place of visit and interest in your list. I hope that if you were anyway unaware of the existence of gouda cheese, this article made you tempt for it, and you will surely give it a try.

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