Making Gouda on the Woodstove

Rainy Days and Nights make for great cheesemaking. Today I will be making a Gouda cheese following Riki’s recipe. You may go to her website to get the recipe ; or just follow me here.

Woodstove cheesemaking
Woodstove cheesemaking

Begin with a nice hot fire; load the stove as you will be using it all day.

I have two stockpots filled with my utensils to sterilize everything as I will be making a RAW cheese. This means the temperature will never go above 85; and the milk and equipment must be scrupulously clean. You can also see I am multitasking; with a venison pot roast started for dinner tonight, tea pot for my tea breaks and the lid is raised to get the fire going hotter for my sterilizing.

Here you see I have a temperature guage in the water to bring the temp up to 185 for sterilizing all equipment.

I will be using milk from this am; which is less than an hour old but already at 35 degrees; you can also see the squash I canned yesterday. Notice we have wax paper between the milk and the metal lids. this is so the acid in the milk will not leach into the milk.

Add 2 gallons of milk into the sterile pot, stir to heat evenly and use a thermometer to gauge your temperatures. I have a large trivet under my stockpot to ensure the milk heats slowly and evenly.

I have all my sterile equipment on a towel to drain and stay clean. Heat the milk to 86F. Use a thermometer, do not guess. As the temperature in the milk slows you add more wood to the fire and/or move the pot around the stovetop. I now have the trivet out and the pot closer to the woodbox.

Add 1/2 tsp of mesophilic culture and ripen for 30 min.

You put the rennet into 1/4 cup of cold/cool water, then pour it through your slotted spoon and then stir up and down for about a minute.

Let set for 40 minutes quietly on the back of the stove at 85F

Meanwhile make yourself a hot chocolate with whip cream and relax.

After 40 minutes your curd should separate smoothly in a clean break. If it is not clean, then wait another couple minutes.

Now cut into one inch slices one way, wait 5 minutes

Using a ballon wisk, stir the curd for 15 minutes. Remove 1/3 of the whey, then add water at 130 F over 15 min. for a final temp of 98-102. (Higher  temp for drier longer aging cheese). This is a very important step since it also removes some of the lactose or milk sugars which can be converted to acid by the lactic bacteria.

Continue stirring for 30 minutes.

Mold filling is initially done under the whey to insure a tight curd mass with fewer mechanical holes. Prepare molds and draining cloth and place into a pan large enough to retain whey.

Then pour free whey into the molds to warm them. Fill molds, allowing whey to rise 1-2” over top of curds.
Add the follower plus 6 lbs of weight on top (approx 1 lb. of weight per lb. of final cheese yield) then allow this to consolidate the curds for 15 min.

Pull the form and the cheesecloth with curds out of the pot of whey and place into your mold with 9 lbs of weight for 15min.

Now here are they official directions: Remove from press turn the cheese rewrap and press at 16 lbs. for 30 min.

Remove from press turn the cheese rewrap and press at 25 lbs. for 30 min.

Remove from press turn the cheese rewrap and press at 25 lbs. for 6-8 hrs. (For drier long aging cheese this can be increased to 50 lbs and pressed overnight).

Remove weight and cloth and allow the cheese to rest overnight in mold at 50F.

Now I have a cheese press that does not have weights on it; So here is what I do. I flip the cheese and re wrap at the times required, but I press down on the screws until whey comes under the mold. This gets me pretty close to the weights needed.

Next morning place the cheese in saturated brine for 18 – 24hrs (3-4 hrs per lb. of final yield).

Remove from brine

Wax or prepare natural rinds when cheese is dry to touch (3-7 days). I keep a dedicated wax pot, and dip the cheese; allow it to dry then dip again until all of the cheese is covered.

For aging requirements targets are 56-64F … 80-85% humidity.
Some small internal holes may develop during aging. The higher the temperature during drying and aging, the greater chances for the eye development.
The cheese will be ripe in 60 days to 6 months. For drier cheeses 12 months to 4+ years. This one was perfect at 6 months.

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