Monday, January 5, 2009

Swollen Gouda

This is the Gouda I made on December 6 and wrote about here. It is obviously swelling up due to gas formed by the Clostridium tyrobutyricum bacteria. I started to see the first signs about two weeks ago and now one of the cheeses is even showing cracks.
Apparently there is a product on the market called Holdbac, which has proven to inhibit growth of undesired microoganisms. It is said to have a positive effect on cheese flavour and texture. Thus it can be used instead of saltpeter which is known to prevent cheese blowing. I spoke to a well respected cheese maker and supplier recently who suspected that the Dutch use saltpeter in great quantities in their Goudas and Edams. They feed the cows a lot of silage, the main cause of the gas forming bacteria. I remember it well. Growing up, all over the Dutch countryside were these heaps of fermenting grass, covered with black plastic weight down by old tires.
In most parts of Switzerland and France it is forbidden to feed the cows on silage to produce an AOC cheese.

1 comment:

Anton said...

Being from the Dutch countryside myself originally I remember these silages as well. One of sich silages was very near to our garden and when it started to ferment after a while it smelled like hell. The smell was so disgusting that I (as a child) could not imagine that any living being could eat such stuff :)

There was not grass in it, but leaves and stems of corn / maize. It was fed to the cows in winter when they were in their stables. Whether the milk of these cows was used to make milk I can't remember. Perhaps the milk was sold for it, but the neighboring farmer did not make cheese from it himself.