Monday, April 15, 2013

Homemade Gouda Cheese

Gouda is a very mild cheese that traces its origins to the town of Gouda in the northern part of the Netherlands.  The reason the cheese is more mild than other pressed hard cheese is because the curds are washed in water and left to sit instead of being left to sit in a stronger whey.  The only downfall to this cheese is that there is very little full strength whey that you have left to use for other purposes after you are done with the recipe, but I promise the end result is worth the less excess whey.

To start off, I partially skim the cream off my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.

Next, after sanitizing my cheese vat, the thermometer, and stirring ladle, I pour all 8 gallons of milk into the vat and set it to medium-high heat on my largest burner.  Until the milk is heated to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, I stir the milk every couple of minutes while checking the temperature.

When the milk gets to 85 degrees.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mesophilic culture over the top of the milk.  I get my cultures, rennet, and cheese making supplies from and have found his prices to be spot on competitive.  He also has great turn around on products and wonderful customer service.

Stir in the culture.  I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk.  Then, immediately I add the rennet mixtures which is 1/2 cup water plus
1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid rennet.  I use a vegetarian rennet liquid because it works well for me every time.  Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.

Now cover and let the pot sit for 30 to 40 minutes maintaining the 85 degree temperature.  Just a note on maintaining temperature.  If you are making a small batch of cheese you will not be able to just turn off the heat and expect your cheese to maintain the same temperature unless your room is 90 degrees also.  But if you make a large batch with 8 gallons, it takes a long time for that must heat to disburse.  I have found that making larger batches is just easier for me since I have so much milk on hand and temperature maintenance is not a problem.
 After 30 to 40 minutes, the cheese should have set and it should look like milk jello (notice the time range - this is to make sure the cheese curd is firm before cutting) .  With a sanitized knife, I then cut the curd into pieces.  

Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the curds to firm up.

 Then, gently stir the curds for 5 minutes and then let them settle for 5 minutes.

Now, remove 12 cups of the whey, keeping some to use for cooking and lacto-fermenting.  I find it is helpful to use a sanitized strainer and glass measuring cup so that only the whey is taken out and not the curds.

Next 12 cups of water is heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and is then added back with the cheese curds and whey to bring the temperature up to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The curds and diluted whey are stirred for 10 minutes and then allowed to settle for 10 minutes.  At this time they diluted whey is removed from the top of the curds until just the top of the curds are visible (for this recipe I ended up taking out 40 cups of diluted whey to reach the top of the curds).
Next add back into the curds enough 110 degree Fahrenheit water so that half of what you removed is added and the temperature of the curds and diluted whey reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir for 20 minutes and then let settle for another 10 minutes.

Next, drain put the curds and then put them into a large tomme mold with a natural cheese cloth. (I did remove some at the request of my son so some of the curds could be salted and eaten right away and that is why there is a lot less after they sat draining for only a few minutes.

Press then at medium weight for 1 hour.

After an hour, take the cheese out of the cloth, turn it upside down and re-wrap it with a poly cheese cloth - it is much easier to remove the final cheese from this type of cloth then the traditional cloth, but I do use the traditional cloth for the first step because it is bigger and it makes wrapping and moving the curd a much less messy process.

Now the cheese, in the mold, sits on my counter under medium pressure for 8 hours.

Finally, I take the cheese out of the mold.  Cut it in half (it is the only way I can shrink wrap my cheese since the full round is too big), place it in a brine made of 1 cup of pickling salt with about 2 inches of cold water in a plastic container (see below).  The unwrapped cheese goes into the salt water brine for 6 hours on each side.

After being in the brine for 12 hours, take the cheese out, place it on a sanitized mat and put in the refrigerator for a few days to dry.  Then flip and dry for a few more days.


The cheese, when completely dried, will be ready to eat or store.


  1. Wonderful tutorial! We adore Gouda!

    When you remove the first 12 cups of whey, do you have the 140 degree water ready to go immediately? (Are you heating the water "meanwhile", or do you heat it starting after you remove the whey?) Can I use raw milk from my soon-to-freshen Guernsey, or do I need to pasteurize it first for this cheese to work properly? Thanks! Love your blog! :)

    1. Welcome happygardener! I am so glad that you are enjoying my blog and all the recipes.

      Here are some answers to the questions you have asked:
      Yes for the hot water. I can pull that hot of water out of my tap, but if you can't then it would be good to have it ready on the stove when the recipe reaches that point.
      Also, yes for the raw milk. All of my recipes are made for use with raw milk or very mildly pasturized milk. If you were to use higher pasturized milk then calcium chloride would have to be added to the cultured milk right before the rennet is added.
      Finally, just a hint for a new will want to wait a week into milking before using your Guernsey's milk for making cheese because the colostrum in the milk will affect how the cheese cultures and sets.

      Happy milking and cheese making!


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