Hold on to your hats, people. I’m doing something new: posting a cheese recipe that I’ve yet to taste.
I think I’ve earned the right, though, considering I’ve made 70-odd cheeses in the last 9 months or so. I’ve had a few bad ones — though none that have been contaminated by coliform, knock on wood — and multitudes of mediocre ones, but more and more, I’m turning out perfectly decent cheeses. They’re not blow-your-mind delicious — I’ll reserve that level of awesomeness for when I have a real cheese cave and my cheeses can develop their own natural rinds — but they are still hold-your-head-high good.
So yeah, I’m getting brave.
And so: Gouda Divino! This recipe comes from a new cheesemaking book — the author lives not far from me, I hear — and called for a new ingredient: LM 57 Meso Adjunct, an enhancer that produces carbon dioxide and give Gouda and Blue Cheese its trademark buttery flavor. Which, I decided, sounded like the exact sort of secret weapon I’d like to have in my cheesemaking arsenal, so I ordered some and whipped up a batch of heavenly cheese.
And the cheese did, indeed, smell divine. Seriously! Every time I lifted the lid and got a whiff of that buttery-sweet goodness, I’d give a little squeal. I loved the process, too — straightforward and uncomplicated — so I turned right around and made a second batch, this time with cumin seed.
Apparently, Cumin Gouda — or Spiced Gouda — is a Thing. It originated in Holland, and the way people go on about it, it appears to have a cult following. (To make it, cumin seeds get simmered in water, strained, and then added to the curds before going in the press.) The combination of buttery curds and earthy cumin seeds did smell pretty darn amazing.
And now I just have to wait for three months before I’ll know if it’s any good.
I’m pretty confident, though. In fact, I’m planning to make another one soon. Something tells me I’m gonna be glad I did. In fact, while I wait, I may go ahead and make another, but this time I’ll spice it with red pepper flakes and call it Gouda del Diablo. (And yes, I just came up with that myself.)
One interesting note: To the Spiced Gouda, I added a quart of whipping cream and then used the calcium chloride and the resulting cheese was a full pound heavier than the regular Gouda Divino and its whey also yielded a huge amount of ricotta.
Which makes me wonder: should I be adding heavy whipping cream and calcium chloride to all my cheeses?
Spiced Gouda Divino
Adapted from Kitchen Creamery by Louella Hill.
I’m writing this recipe as I made it (author’s privileges) but you’re welcome to halve or double it (ha!), if you like.
7 ½ gallons raw whole milk
1 quart store-bought heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Flora Danica
¼ teaspoon LM 57
1 ½ teaspoons calcium chloride diluted in ½ cup water
1 ½ teaspoons rennet diluted in ½ cup water
½ cup cumin seed
Saturated salt brine, and extra salt
Put the cumin seeds in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain, discarding the water. Set the seeds aside.
Heat the milk and cream to 86 degrees over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches 86 degrees, take it off the heat. Sprinkle the freeze-dried cultures — the Flora Danica and the LM 57 — over the surface of the milk and let them rehydrate for 2 minutes. Stir. Cover, and let the milk culture for 20-30 minutes.
Stir in the diluted calcium chloride. Using an up-and-down motion, stir in the diluted rennet. Cover, and let it rest for 45 – 75 minutes, or until the curd is set: when a knife is inserted into the curd and lifted, the curd should break apart revealing clear lines, no mushy looseness. Cut the curd into ¾-inch cubes. Let them rest for 5 minutes to heal.
Set a timer for 20 minutes and begin to gently and slowly stir the curds, breaking up or cutting any too-large pieces of curd as you go.
Let the curds rest for 5 minutes, undisturbed, to settle to the bottom of the pot.
Scoop off 20 percent of the whey (save it for making whey ricotta — the whey from this cheese recipe yielded an abundance) and replace it with an equal amount of 140 degree water, stirring steadily. The goal is to bring the temperature of the curds up to 100 degrees. If it’s still not hot enough, remove more of the whey and replace with more hot water, or turn on the heat low to raise it the last couple degrees. Stir steadily!
Once the curds have reached 100 degrees, hold them at that temp and stir gently for forty minutes.
Again, let the curds rest for 5 minutes, undisturbed, to settle to the bottom of the pot. Pour off all of the whey (or save it for ricotta!), and gently stir in the cumin seeds.
Transfer the curds to a cheesecloth-lined mold. Press the cheese at low pressure (about 15-20 pounds) for 1 hour. Flip the cheese, increase the pressure to 20 pounds, and press for another hour or two. Flip the cheese and press at medium pressure — about 30 pounds — for a couple more hours. Flip once more and press at 30 pounds for 8 hours, or overnight. (These times and weights are guesstimates: you want to press the cheese for a total of 12 hours or so.)
Remove the cheese from the press and place in a saturated brine for 18-20 hours, or about 3-4 hours per pound of cheese (if in doubt, go longer). Salt the exposed surface and flip halfway through, again salting the exposed surface.
Remove the cheese from the brine and air dry for 1-3 days, flipping every 12 hours. Once it’s dry to the touch, vac-pack.
Age at 55 degrees for at least 3 months, flipping a couple times a week for the first month, and then once a week for the remainder of the time.