What is a “gouda” cheese?
Gouda, or "How-da" as the locals say, is a Dutch cheese named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. It is a semi-hard cheese celebrated for its rich, unique flavor and smooth creamy texture.
Gouda is typically made from pasteurized cow’s milk although some artisan varieties use sheep’s or goat’s milk. Boerenkaas is a typical variety of unpasteurized Gouda cheese produced by the farmers from milk of cow's grazing on the natural, low pastures of Netherlands.
What is the difference between unpasteurized and pasteurized cheese?
Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms.
Unpasteurized Cheese or “Raw Milk Cheese”
Raw milk cheese is made without pasteurizing the milk first, the way that cheese had been made for thousands of years until the 19th century. Proponents of raw milk cheese argue that the beneficial micro-organisms in the milk contribute unique flavors to the cheese, while the cheese making process itself serves to limit the number of harmful micro-organisms if done under sanitary conditions. Since the 1940s the U.S. has banned all raw milk cheeses aged fewer than 60 days, since it is thought that any micro-organisms living in the cheese would not be able to survive past that.
What is rennet?
Rennet is an essential ingredient in the making of cheese. Rennet helps in the coagulation of the raw material, milk, into solid curds and milky whey.
The most common form of rennet traditionally used in cheese making is animal rennet, which comes from the lining of the fourth stomach of a young ruminant, generally a calf.
Vegetable rennets are derived from plants with coagulating properties and although today’s method of extraction may be new, the use of vegetable or plant material is itself quite traditional. These plants could be: Fig Leaves, Melons, Safflower, Wild Thistles.
Some molds have enzymes that are similar to chymosin. These enzymes are extracted in a lab to make microbial rennet. Microbial rennet is not widely used because it can make the cheese making process more difficult and give cheese a bitter flavor.
What is the crunch or hard crystals found in aged cheese?
As Uniekaas cheeses age, an amino acid called Tyrosine forms. This crystallized protein is not dangerous to eat, in fact, cheese professionals across the world look for these in perfectly aged cheeses. They are a sign of a well ripened cheese.
Can I eat the rind on Uniekaas cheeses?
All Uniekaas cheeses are encased with a waxed rind which is not edible. This waxed rind protects the cheese from molding and ensures the cheeses freshness by retaining moisture in the aging process.
If cheese has mold on it, should I throw it away?
Yes and No.
If your hard cheese develops mold on the exterior, cut about ½ inch below the mold to ensure it is entirely removed; the remaining cheese will be fine. Just be sure to wrap it with new parchment paper to avoid contamination.
If you have a soft cheese that appears moldy, chances are it is not safe to consume. Trust your instincts, if the cheese looks or smells off, it probably is.
Can I freeze my cheese?
Freezing cheese is not recommended.
Although freezing will not spoil the cheese, its texture and flavor profile will change. If you must freeze cheese, allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use it for cooking, as the texture will become crumbly and dry after it is defrosted.
How long can cheese stay out of refrigeration?
Leaving cheeses unrefrigerated for long periods of time will dry them out and cause a thin layer of oil to emerge from and coat the cheese. It will also rapidly accelerate its shelf life. Harder grating cheeses have less moisture, allowing them to withstand extended periods of time outside of refrigeration.
We recommend refrigerating all your cheeses once you purchase them and only taking them out a few hours before serving.
How should I wrap & store my cheese after I buy it?
This may come as a surprise, but did you know cheeses are actual living things? It’s true… they sweat, age, and even breathe.
When cheese is wrapped in plastic it can no longer take in oxygen, thus leaving it to suffocate which can result in a not so great flavor. So if you shouldn’t wrap your cheese in plastic, what should you use? We recommend specialty cheese paper or parchment paper. Cheese paper is thoughtfully designed to allow cheeses to breathe while also protecting it from drying out. If you don't want to invest in cheese paper, parchment paper works just fine.
The recommended temperature range for storing cheese is between 35 and 40° Fahrenheit, at a high humidity level, preferably in the bottom vegetable/fruit bin which will have the most consistent temperature and humidity.
What is the best way to serve Uniekaas cheeses?
To fully experience all of the aromas and flavors Uniekaas cheeses have to offer, it is important to let them come to room temperature before consuming since refrigeration can often mask flavors. We suggest removing cheeses from refrigeration at least 45 minutes before serving.
Is there gluten in Uniekaas cheese?
Many of Uniekaas cheeses are from ingredients considered to be gluten free, but since we do not confirm this with testing, we do not make any such claims. We know this is an important subject to many of our customers so please check back with us from time to time as this is something we are working on.
I am pregnant. Are there cheeses I should avoid?
Doctors generally discourage pregnant women from eating raw milk cheeses or very soft cheeses, as they might be more prone to develop undesirable bacteria. Please consult with your doctor before consuming.