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  • The Dutch and cheese

    The Dutch eat on average no less than 19 kilos of cheese per year. With a ‘cheese slicer’ they scrape thin slices of bread, but they also cut ‘cheese cubes’ of it as a snack at the cocktail, with or without a piece of ginger, a slice of gherkin or a piece of pineapple or mandarin. They prefer to provide their cheese cubes with a ‘cheese stick’ with the Dutch flag. A little mustard – to dip the cheese – should not be missed. On a ‘cheese board’ they often combine different kinds of cheese – from young to old – to present their guests with cheese to their own taste.

    When heated, Dutch (especially Gouda) cheese melts very easily. That makes the cheese a popular ingredient in the kitchen. To give flavor to a bechamel sauce, for example. As a cheese fondue, or to gratin some dishes. And of course Gouda cheese is very much used to make Tosti (Grilled Cheese Sandwich). In short: with Dutch cheese you can go anywhere

  • Making cheese is a real profession

    Making cheese is a real profession, which was usually done by the farmer’s wife on the farm. To make one kilo of cheese about 10 liters of full milk is needed. For a whole cheese that is 150 liters. To this milk is then added starter for taste and shelf life, and rennet, which causes the solids in the milk to coagulate and form a thick mass. The latter happened after about a half hour.

    The ‘curdled’ milk is then cut into pieces and stirred well. The yellow moisture that comes free, the ‘whey’, is drained away. The cheese is made from the ‘curds’. It goes into a cheese mold, in which the cheese is pressed. This gives the cheese its final shape and a nice dense crust.

    Then the cheeses go into a brine bath. The salt from the brine pulls into the cheese. This is of course necessary for the taste, but also increases the firmness and shelf life of the cheese.

    When the cheeses have leaked out after brining, they go to a shelf in the cheese storage. There they are turned every day and they also get a thin plastic coating, which prevents dehydration and mold formation. By tapping the cheese with the fist, the cheese master hears whether the cheese has matured properly enough.

    This process now takes place mainly in factories. But there are still enough farms in the Netherlands, where cheese making still takes place in the old traditional way. Then the cheese gets the predicate ‘Boerenkaas’.

  • International quality seal for one of the world’s most famous cheeses

    To protect the original Gouda cheese, the European Union has granted a PGI-recognition to the genuine Dutch Gouda cheese with the term Gouda Holland.PGI stands for ‘Protected Geographical Indication’. Only products that owe their reputation to their geographical origin and are produced there can be considered for such protection. All the naturallyripened Gouda cheeses from DOC have this PGI-recognition. This can be recognized by the special Gouda Holland quality seal.

  • Why Gouda Tastes So Good

    Nearly 800 years after farmers in Holland first created Gouda, scientists have finally pinpointed the molecules that help give the cheese its creamy texture and long-lasting flavor.

    Named for the village in which it was first made, Gouda is a yellow cheese typically made from cow’s milk. When the cheese has been aged, it is described as having a mouthfulness, or heartiness, that is known as the “kokumi sensation.”

    For the past few decades, researchers have been trying to tease apart the key taste compounds that account for the complex blend of tastes in Gouda, including the kokumi sensation. Previous studies pinned down the molecules that imparted the bitter, sour, salty and umami (or savoriness) tastes in the cheese, but those responsible for the kokumi taste remained unknown.

    Researchers in Germany set out to identify the kokumi molecules by having a taste panel compare 4-week old Gouda to 44-week matured Gouda and then separating out the various molecular components of the two cheeses.

    The taste panel confirmed that the older Gouda had a much more intense kokumi sensation than the younger sample of cheese. A synthetic version of the 44-week matured Gouda also lacked the kokumi sensation, so clearly something was missing.

    Pinpointing peptides

    Using mass spectrometry and other instruments, the researchers identified six peptides (or protein subunits) that appear to be responsible for the kokumi taste of the older Gouda.

    These peptides were seen in much greater quantities in the aged cheese, and when added to the synthetic version of the 44-week cheese, they imparted the kokumi sensation according to taste panelists.

    The researchers also found that the full kokumi sensation wasn’t present unless the cheese also had the right pH (or acidity) and saltiness, showing that various taste compounds interact in the cheese.

    Because the 4-week old cheese doesn’t have the same mouthfulness to it, the researchers also concluded that the peptides responsible for the sensation develop during the ripening of the cheese.

    Study team member Thomas Hofmann of the Technische Universität München said that it took so long for researchers to identify the compounds because “the kokumi-peptides do not have any intrinsic taste. That means an aqueous solution of these pure peptides is tasteless.”

    The identification of the peptides could lead to the ability to technologically enhance the flavor of dairy products, Hofmann told LiveScience in an email.

    The results of the study are detailed in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.