Gouda is named for the Dutch town in which it was developed during the thirteenth century. It is a washed-curd semi-firm cheese with a tangy taste and creamy texture.
- Bring the milk to 90°F. Mix in the starter using up-and-down motions, making sure it is incorporated thoroughly. Cover the milk and allow it to ripen for 10 minutes.
- Add the diluted rennet and stir gently with an up-and-down motion for 1 minute. If using farm-fresh cow milk, top-stir for 1 more minute. Cover and allow to set for 1 hour, or until you have achieved a clean break.
- Cut the curd into 1/2-inch cubes and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Pour off about one-third of the whey, then add 175°F water back into the curds until the overall temperature reaches 92°F.
- Let the curds rest again for 10 more minutes. Pour off the whey and water again until you can just see the tops of the curds. Now add more 175°F water until the temperature reaches 100°F, and maintain the temperature at 100°F for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the curds from sticking together (matting). After the 15 minutes, allow the curds to set for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
- Pour off the remaining whey/water mixture. Line a 2-pound cheese press and rapidly fill it with the warm curds, being careful not to break them up too much.
- Press at 20 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes.
- Take the cheese out of the mold, peel away the cheesecloth, flip it over, rewrap it in the cheesecloth, and place it carefully back into the mold. Press at 40 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes.
- Remove, undress, flip and re-dress the cheese again and place it back into the mold. Press at 50 pounds of pressure for 14 to 18 hours. Remove from the press.
- Make a saturated brine solution (32 ounces of salt to one gallon of water), and add the calcium chloride to it. Mix it very well, being sure it is as dissolved as you can get it. Soak the cheese in it, flipping it every hour or so. Soak it for 12 hours total.
- Take the cheese out of the brine and dry it by using paper towels to gently pat the surface. Place your cheese on a cheese mat and allow it to air-dry for 2 weeks.
- Wax your cheese, then age it in a cool, dark place.
The cheese will be ready to eat at 3 to 4 months, but 6 to 9 months is a good full ripening period. This is a cheese that gets better with time, so patience will pay off.
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