What Is Gouda Cheese and Does It Melt?

Way back in the olden days (1996), there was a movie called Spy Hard starring Lesley Neilson. It was a goofy, spy movie parody with a theme song performed by Weird Al Yankovich. It was awesome. At one point in the movie, a bad lady spy points a gun at Leslie Neilson and says, “You’re gonna look like Swiss cheese when they find you.” And Leslie Neilson smiles and says, “That’s no gouda.” That’s the moment I fell in love with gouda cheese. 

So, what is gouda cheese? What does gouda cheese taste like? Where is gouda cheese from? Let’s find some gouda answers!

What is gouda cheese?

Gouda is a semi-hard, Dutch cheese, typically made with cow’s milk. It is one of the world’s most popular cheeses. (According to cheese.com, it accounts for 50-60% of the world’s cheese consumption!) Gouda cheese dates back all the way to the 12th century and is probably the oldest cheese still being made today with an unchanged recipe. Gouda is named after a town named Gouda in the South Holland province of the Netherlands. Gouda wasn’t invented there, but back then Dutch towns would trade rights on certain goods, and the town of Gouda became the place you went to buy cheese. Gouda is also one of the most versatile cheeses with a huge amount of variety. Gouda can come young or old, smoked, rubbed in a spice, soaked in a wine, and just about any other method you could think of. 

How is gouda made?

Gouda cheese is made by adding bacteria and rennet to either pasteurized or unpasteurized milk. When curds form they are removed and washed in hot water. This removes some of the lactic acid and makes for a sweeter tasting cheese. Then, the curds are pressed into molds to create wheels, and soaked in a brine. Gouda can then be aged four weeks to be sold as a young cheese, or aged over a year and sold as a mature cheese. 

What does gouda taste like?

Young gouda tastes sweet, mild, and little fudgey. As gouda ages, the texture and taste changes. Aged gouda acquires a nuttiness and more caramel notes with even a slight tang.  

Is gouda a hard cheese? 

Gouda is generally classified as a semi-soft cheese, but aged gouda can be hard and flakey. 

What is gouda used for? Is gouda a good melting cheese?

Gouda is a great melting cheese! If you are making something ooey gooey and melty, gouda is a great choice. You can use it in a blend for mac and cheese, or to make an appetizer like beer cheese dip. The traditional Dutch way of eating gouda is just cut it into squares and serve with a little mustard on the side. 

How do you pronounce gouda cheese?

In the U.S., gouda is pronounced “GOO-da”. But the rest of the world pronounces it “GOW-da.” Well, actually, in the Netherlands, which is home to the city the cheese is named after, gouda is pronounced “HOW-da.” If you forget all that and still want to order it, just do what I do when I travel and point to stuff and grunt loudly.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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