Our first attempt at Gouda is the result of a little cheese-making accident. This was supposed to be another batch of Chipotle Goat Cheese, but we ran out of vegetarian rennet and had to revert to using junket tablets. Tristan followed the directions for using junket but he must have used too much because the milk had clabbered in an hour, instead of the 12 it's supposed to take for a soft cheese. These curds were too firm for making into soft cheese, so we changed courses and made a hard cheese. Gouda is a "washed curd" cheese, which means you heat the curds by removing the whey and adding varying amounts of hot water to replace them. Ultimately, you replace almost all of the whey with water. This method produces a smoother-textured, milder-flavored cheese. Colby and Monterey Jack are washed curd cheeses as well. After the washing, the cheese is pressed like any hard cheese, but unlike a cheddar, say, where salt is added to the curds before pressing, this cheese is brined in a tub of salt water after it's been pressed. The chemistry involved in making different textures and flavors of cheese is fascinating.
It's not traditional to make Gouda out of goat's milk, but I did find some evidence that it's been done and that the results were tasty. We would like to try smoking this cheese, which will be a first for us. We found some smoking wood chips in a St. John's free pile in the spring (what dorm-dwellers were doing smoking food, I have no idea).
This gouda will have to cure for 6 to 9 months once it is waxed. Oh, the agony!