Dutchtype Cheeses

Among the most pleasant-tasting, colorful, and microbiologically complex cheeses are the so-called Dutch-type cheeses, of which Edam and Gouda are the most well-known. In fact, there are comparable cheeses produced throughout the world, using similar manufacturing procedures. Although eyes are usually present in these cheeses, there are fewer of them and they are much smaller than in Swiss cheese.The texture and flavor is also completely different from Swiss—these cheeses are softer, with a sweet, mild, buttery flavor. They are also easily distinguished from other cheeses by the characteristic red wax that covers the round wheels.

Although the basic manufacturing procedures for these cheeses are similar to those already described for other cheeses, there are several unique steps. The starter culture contains, in addition to acid-forming lactococci, one or more flavor-forming lactic acid bacteria. The latter include various species of Leuco-nostoc, including Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris and Leuconostoc lactis. Not only are these organisms heterofermentative, producing lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol, and carbon dioxide, but they are also capable of fermenting citrate. Fermentation of citrate by these bacteria results in formation of diacetyl (see Chapter 2), which imparts the buttery, creamy flavor that characterizes these cheeses. In addition, the citrate fermentation pathway generates carbon dioxide, accounting for the eyes that are often present.

After culture and rennet are added to the milk (held at about 30°C to 32°C), the curds are then cut and stirred. Next, a unique manufacturing step occurs.A portion of the whey is drained, and then hot water is added to raise the temperature to 37°C to 38°C and to very near the original volume. Stirring continues until the desired curd firmness is achieved, and the remaining whey-water mixture is drained.

This washing step reduces the lactose concentration in the curd, making less available for the lactic culture. However, by using hot water, the moisture content is not increased. Ultimately, the cheese will be sweeter, and less acidic, with a final pH between 5.4 and 5.6.

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