Well, I have tried some goat cheeses, a bunch of different soft cow cheeses, and my Cheddar (see below) is nicely aging in its red wax in a little camping cooler that I am trying to keep at optimal temperature with a rotating ice pack. (It’s like a make-shift/jerry-rigged aging cave)
So, For my next cheese, I decided to go for gold with a gouda. I’ve always loved the smooth taste of gouda and especially love smoked gouda. I don’t think I can do the “smoked thing” in my Brooklyn apartment without getting some attention but someday I’ll try it.
I am making my Gouda from half cow and half goat’s milk that I got at Whole Foods. First, I heated up my milk to a nice 90 degrees. When it got to the desired temperature, I added my mesophilic (heat loving) bacteria and let it set for a few minutes to settle in and begin to work. Next, I added calcium chloride (to combat the homogenization) and vegetable rennet, stirred the whole thing up and let it set for an hour so that the curd could form.
An hour later, voi la, a nice curd had formed in my pot and I could “cut the cheese” (no pun intended).
Once the curd was sliced into cubes, I let it sit again and then began to pour off whey from the pot into a separate pot (you can use leftover whey to make ricotta!).Slowly, I began adding hot water to the pot to increase the overall temperature and expel more whey from the curds. After the pot reached more than 100 degrees (about 30 miuntes of adding water slowly and stirring), I poured off all of the whey so that just the curd was remaining in the pot. The hot water helps to rinse the curds and helps give gouda its smooth flavor but ridding the cheese of acidity.
Once the curds are all that remains in the pot, you can pur or scoop them into a mold for your cheese press. If you don’t have a cheese press, you can make one or buy one easily. This is the Cheese Press I have. I would like to make a wooden one at some point. Here’s a good guide for building one if you have the time and gumption.
I began to “turn the screw” and press my cheese unwrapping it and re-wrapping it a few times over the next hour. Then, I put it at a higher pressure in the press and left it pressing for about 12 hours (overnight).
In the morning, I unwrapped it and it felt pretty solid. Next, Gouda has to be soaked in a salt-water brine for another 12 hours. That’s where it is now. When that’s done, I’ll let it air dry for a few weeks and then wax it. Yay!
All in all, it’s not too hard to make this. It just takes a little time, patience, and some “gouda” luck never hurts either….