Branched Oak Farm Gouda is a raw-milk, natural rind cheese aged in our cave for a minimum of 60 days. It’s a firm cheese with a nutty taste. Raw milk really allows the great flavor of the milk to come through. Nutty, with medium flavor, it leaves a long enjoyable“finish” in the mouth, as the flavors continue to develop during the eating process. A glass of wine wouldn’t hurt, either! Gouda, or “How-da” as the locals say, is a Dutch cheese named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. If truth be told, it is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of the world’s cheese consumption. It is a semi-hard cheese celebrated for its rich, unique flavor and smooth texture. The original cheese markets in Gouda is one of the last standing commercial cheese markets in the Netherlands. Since the name is not protected, it has become a generic classification for all cheeses produced and sold under the name Gouda.
Gouda is typically made from pasteurized cow’s milk although some artisan varieties use sheep’s or goat’s milk to produce cheeses that are going to be aged for a long time. Boerenkaas is a typical variety of unpasteurized Gouda cheese produced by the farmers from milk of cow’s grazing on the natural, low pastures of Netherlands. There are seven different types of Gouda cheese, categorized depending on age. Graskaas is young Gouda ready to be consumed within weeks of production. On the other hand, is the extra aged, Overjarig cheese which has a full-flavored, hard, golden interior and salty flavor reminiscent of a toffee. This is the one most similar to the one we make. Between the spectrums is a variety of Dutch Gouda’s classified as per the texture and age – Jong, Jong belegen, Belegen, Extra belegen, and Oud. Each cheese gets increasingly firmer in texture and richer in flavor than earlier classification. The waxed rind of the cheese also changes by the age as soft, younger Dutch Gouda cheese are identified by yellow, orange, or red wax rinds white mature cheese have black wax coverings.