Producing (Dutch/Gouda) cheese requires a special manufacturing process. Do you want to know exactly how this delicious product is made? We’ll explain it to you in practical steps.
It all starts with the cow. Once the cow is milked, the milk is used immediately or heated for a short period of time. This is the difference between raw milk and pasteurised milk.
‘Did you know you need 10 litres of milk for 1 kilogram of cheese?’
Raw milk comes directly from the cow and contains bacteria. Pasteurised milk is heated briefly to kill these bacteria.
Starter culture and rennet
The milk is mixed with a starter culture and rennet. Rennet is a lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria give the cheese a longer shelf life and give it its flavour. This part of the process is called fermentation. Rennet causes the milk to clot. Adding these two ingredients separates the solids (the fats, minerals and proteins) from the liquid (the whey). This process is called curdling.
After curdling, the whey is drained and curd is produced. This is cut into small pieces. This ensures that the last whey is released. Next, the curds are pressed into a mould and the very last liquid is extracted, giving the cheese its shape.
Then the cheese is ready to be bathed. This process is called brining. A brine bath is a salt bath. On average, cheeses are left in a brine bath somewhere between 1 and 5 days.
The final step of the cheese manufacturing process is the ripening process. Our cheeses are left to quietly mature in our own warehouses. When the cheese arrives at our warehouse, it is first weighed and then stamped. This way, the cheese can be precisely tracked until it arrives in the cheese shop. After that, the cheese is given a very thin coating to protect the rind. This ensures the excellent quality and taste of our cheese and allows it to last longer.
After this initial processing, each cheese is placed on one of the cheese shelves (about 38 km) in our cheese warehouse, where it is periodically tended to and allowed to mature. The constant temperature and humidity ensure a delicious cheese! The ripening period varies from cheese to cheese. For example, a young cheese matures for only 4 weeks, but an old cheese is on our shelves for up to a year.