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    This interactive explains the final processes involved in making traditional Gouda cheese. Find out more about the initial steps in the cheese making process in this related interactive.

    Making cheese - the final steps interactiveMoulding the cheese - videroCoating and maturing - videoBrining - videoPackaging and storage - videoMaking cheese - first steps - interactive


    6. Moulding the cheese

    Miel Meyer – Meyer Gouda Cheese

    By removing the whey, you end up with a lot of curds left over. We bunch that up into the cheese vat, and then we cut that into squares, and then we end up putting those square blocks into the round cheese moulds. So you’ve still got a lot of whey in that curd, which is quite solid – you can hold it at that stage. And then we put lids on it and then put them into the presses.

    Pressing is an important part of the process – it helps the moisture continue to be pressed out of the cheese. It helps form the shape of the cheese, and the pressing helps also develop a thin rind. So you can imagine if you’re pressing the curd that the outer edge is actually going to be pressed a lot more than the inner cheese. So you’re actually developing a rind, and that’s the first protective layer that the Gouda cheese gets.

    7. Brining

    Miel Meyer – Meyer Gouda Cheese

    Cheese is a way of preserving milk. Brining is another part of that process – getting the salt onboard the cheese. Some people would put salt directly into the cheese vat. The way we do it is brining. Brining is, once the cheese has been pressed and moulded, we take the cheeses, put them into the brine racks and lower them into the brine.

    The brine is saturated with salt, and the cheese will take up a certain amount of salt until it’s full. We give it about 3–4 days depending on the type of cheese. It’s definitely really crucial for the preserving of cheese but it also adds to that flavour.

    The salt also helps develop a bit of a rind. The salt is more concentrated on the outer edge of the cheese than it is in the centre, and again that’s another barrier of protection on the Gouda cheese.

    8. Coating and maturing

    Miel Meyer – Meyer Gouda Cheese

    Coating is the protection of the cheese. It’s semi-permeable, so moisture can still leave the cheese and the cheese can breathe, as it were, and so the maturing process can continue.

    Maturing of the cheese is just leaving the cheese on a shelf and letting it age, developing those flavours, giving the time for the curds to knit together in the cheese. The bacteria can still grow inside the cheese, moisture is still released and then the flavours concentrate. If you mature it for a long time, you get a stronger flavour.

    Between 16 and 18 degrees is what we feel the best temperature for the maturing process. Humidity is about 80%. The humidity dictates the rate at which moisture is released. If the humidity is too low, moisture’s going to come out too quickly– too high, and it’s not going to come out at all.

    The turning of the cheese is very important. If you’ve got a cheese sitting there, the under layer still wants to release moisture but obviously it’s sitting on something so it can’t do it effectively. If you flip the cheese every day, then both sides have just as much chance to release the moisture. You end up with a good full-bodied flavour throughout the cheese.

    9. Packaging and storage

    Miel Meyer – Meyer Gouda Cheese

    Once the cheese is mature, we want to stop it from maturing any further, so we package it, vacuum pack it, remove the oxygen – so oxygen is one of those things that help the maturing process – remove it from those elements and then put it into a 4 degrees chiller, and that stops the bacteria from working. It doesn’t kill them, but the 4 degrees sort of stops everything.

    Traditionally, packing of cheese would have been cheese coat and that’s it. Nowadays, we’ve got supermarkets, we’ve got delis, everyone wants a nicely presented cheese or a pre-packaged cheese, so we do everything from whole wheels right through to 150 gram prepacked pieces, with plastic stickers on it, best before labels, and that’s all part of the food chain in the supermarket industry.

    Rights: University of Waikato Published 8 May 2012, Updated 10 May 2017 Size: 330 KB Referencing Hub media