Interesting Facts To Know About Dutch Cheese

A. Total cheese production in Holland is 30 million pounds per week.

B. All Gouda and Edam cheeses are made with animal rennet, except our Gouda Light (reduced fat Gouda cheese) which is made with vegetable rennet (non-genetically engineered, naturally occurring microbes).

C. The difference between Edam and Gouda is the fat and moisture content. Gouda has 48% fat In the Dry Matter (I.D.M.) and Edam only has 40%.

D. Why are Gouda formed into round wheels? The aging process is better and more even with this shape. Why are Edam Balls in a ball shape? For ease of storage on the original sailing transport ships; the round shape took less space and minimized damage. They were even reported to have occasionally been used in the Caribbean as canon balls!

E. Why is the taste different in mild Gouda compared to aged Gouda? The enzymes that are added to the milk in the cheese making process cut the peptides (milk proteins) in half, which releases the flavor. The older the cheese, the more peptides are cut in half, therefore, more taste is released into the cheese.

F. Standards for cheese aging:

4-6 weeks = Mild
8-12 weeks = Medium
12-18 weeks = Matured
6 months-12 months = Aged
More than one year = Extra Aged

G. What is the difference between Boerenkaas (Gouda made on the farm) and regular Gouda made in the factory? Boerenkaas is always made from whole, non-pasteurized milk from cows feeding outside in the meadows. Factory made Gouda is made from pasteurized, skimmed milk. There are only 15 cheese factories and 650 farmers still making cheese on the farm. Boerenkaas has to be aged a minimum of 60 days in order to be imported into the U.S.

H. There are 3 traditional cheese-making regions in Holland:

  1. The province of North-Holland, in the Nortwest
  2. The province of South-Holland, in the Southwest       
  3. The provinces of Friesland, Drente and Overijsel in the Northeast.

I. Why is cheese often in a red wax (paraffin)? It keeps the cheese from loosing moisture, thereby halting the aging process and preventing the formation of mold while it is shipped and stored. There are only two countries in the world buying red wax Gouda: the U.S. and the Canary Islands. All other countries import only yellow waxed Gouda.

J. Why is Holland also called The Netherlands? The Netherlands, meaning "The Low Lands" is the official name for the country, but it is also known as Holland. This is because the capital city, Amsterdam, is located in the province of North-Holland, and people throughout Europe would refer to their travels to the then busy shipping port as 'going down to Holland'.