Everything you wanted to know about this Dutch cheese. Learn how it's made, what it tastes like, and why young gouda is one of my favorite cheeses.
We will talk about young vs. aged versions of this popular cheese as well.
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The wonderful world of cheese. It's a rather big world.
You can spend a lifetime trying different types of cheese and a fun lifetime it would be. It's amazing what you can do by just starting with milk.
My mission is to help you better understand some of them, so you can better know how to select them and use them.
Today, we are looking at that favorite Dutch cheese, Gouda!
Like many cheeses (such as Colby), Gouda is named after it's place of origin, the city of Gouda in the Netherlands.
This town has been a cheese center for quite a while. A weighing house, a place where one brings their cheese to be weighed, was built way back in 1668. This building has been restored and still stands to this day.
Most of the cheese that is produced in Holland today is Gouda. If you can find Gouda labeled Noord-Hollandse Gouda, then you know you are getting Gouda from southern Holland.
❓ How is It Made?
Gouda is made by a process of washing the curd. Here is what takes place:
- Some of the whey is drained
- It is replaced by warm water
- Then drained again
- More water is added
- Water is heated, which will help expel moisture from inside the curd
- The cheese is pressed for hours, even days (giving the cheese it's flat round shape)
- The cheese is aged on average from as little as 1 month up to 3 years.
The purpose of washing the curd is to reduce the amount of lactose in the cheese. Lactose is the naturally occurring milk sugars.
🥛 What Type of Milk
The majority of gouda cheese is made with cow's milk. But you can also find goat's milk versions as well. Some of the most stunning cheese in the cheese counter is the bright white goat milk gouda.
Less often, but not impossible to find is a sheep's milk gouda. Murray's Cheese sells the highly rated Ewephoria Sheep Gouda.
👅 What Does It Taste Like?
Never had Gouda before?
Well it has a sort of sweet, slight fruity taste that increases with age. The cheese become harder and more brittle. It's a creamy cheese, a lot more so than cheddar. The best Goudas will also be the creamiest.
Cheesemakers like to add spices to the milder young Goudas. Some popular choices are cumin and caraway. You can also find smoked Goudas at most supermarkets.
🕯️ Black Wax vs. Red Wax
Red Wax = 6 months; Black Wax = 12-18 months
Often you will see Gouda come in either a black wax or a red wax. These colors can be used as a guide. The red wax Gouda tends to be the younger Gouda, aged around 6 months or so.
While the black wax Gouda is an aged version, usually aged from 12-18 months.
When gouda is young it has a buttery flavor. As it ages it dried out and the flavor of a nutty flavor (Parmesan is an example of a nutty cheese)
📅 1000 Day Gouda
Sometimes you will see a gouda labelled as a 1000 Day Gouda. I have seen it at ALDI in the past, especially around the holiday season. This gouda has been aged for over 2 ½ years! If you want a nutty, sharp flavor this is one to try out.
The texture of the cheese will be more crumbly and not good for melting. It's best eaten paired with fruit like apples or pears. It's also good crumbled up on top of a salad.
Trader Joe's sells a 1000 day one year round.
🍝 What Is It Used For?
Gouda is a great melting cheese. I like to combine some with cheddar for mac & cheese. It works well on any cheese board. I sampled some recently along with some relatively mild cheeses and it went really well. I also have heard that it works well in cheese soups.
Smoked gouda is great for sandwiches, mashed potatoes, and most certainly burgers.
Gouda can be used to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
RELATED - Does Gouda Cheese Melt?
🐄 It Is Made with Raw Milk?
Most of the cheese that you find in the US isn't made with raw milk. In order for it to be sold as a raw milk cheese it has to be aged for 60 days.
You may be able to find some gouda that is made with raw milk, most of the time it's harder to find. Here is a list of cheese makers that do a raw milk gouda.
- Edelweiss Creamery
- Milky Way Farm
- Bunker Hill Cheese (I have had this one, it's pretty sharp)
If you know any others make sure to let us know in the comments below.
You may be asking what the best gouda is? Well that depends on your taste. Let me offer up a list of my favorites and then some more details about them
- Beemster Graskass
- Youngsters First Milk
- Jeffs Select
- Kerrygold Blarney Castle
On the top of the list is Beemster Graskass. This Gouda comes directly from Northern Holland. The unique thing about this cheese is the milk that is used for it. The milk is from the first milking of the spring, when the cows are released to graze the fields for the first time since before winter. This produces a cheese that is extremely creamy and delicious. I used 4 ounces of this cheese along with 4 oz of sharp cheddar to make the best macaroni & cheese I have ever made.
Also look for the similar Youngsters First Milk gouda.
Another top gouda that I recently tried is Jeffs Select Gouda. It has a bold, salty taste that I also enjoyed melting over some noodles.
One of my favorite finds at the St. Paul Farmer's Market in Minnesota was the delicious gouda made by Eichtens. I loved it so much that I ordered some in 2020 when I was stuck in my house, so now it's forever tied to that time period in my mind.
Kerrygold's Blarney Castle cheese is a gouda style cheese that you should check out if you are a fan of a mild gouda.
🧀 More Cheese
Learn more about these types of cheese: