Cheese is one of the ingredients being used for most recipes globally. The best thing about cheese is that you can eat the cheese on its own or incorporate it in other recipes such as pizzas, pasta, and slices of bread.
The number of cheeses globally is countless, which is due to the production of cheese in many different countries. The methods used in making these cheeses have also been evolving from time to time, and this is primarily to meet the demand of consumers.
The various techniques used in the making of cheeses have a significant role in these cheeses’ specific characteristics. Some of the features you find in cheese that are influenced by the methods used in making cheese include flavor, texture, shelf life, and moisture content.
Everyone has their preferred type of cheese, but my main focus in this article is the provolone, Havarti, and gouda cheese. So, what makes these three kinds of cheese different from one another?
- 1 Provolone cheese
- 2 Gouda cheese
- 3 Havarti cheese
This cheese has its origin in Italy, and it is one of the most popular cheeses and comes from the family of pasta filata. Provolone is a semi-hard cheese that can assume many different shapes, and this is because it always is pulled or stretchered during its making.
The term provolone first appeared in the 19th where it was being manufactured in Italy’s southern regions. The updated version of this cheese usually has a soft rind.
Just like many other kinds of cheese from the pasta filata group, this cheese is made through stretching, and in this case, the provolone cheese is usually piled up before being hand-kneaded into different shapes.
This cheese variety is produced in other countries apart from Italy and usually comes in three different versions, which are the provolone Picante, provola, and provolone dolce. The Provola version of this cheese is the smallest, and it usually is made plain or smoked.
The classification of the three versions of provolone cheese is based on the ingredients used during the manufacturing process and the cheese’s age. Provolone Dolce is often aged between 2-3 months, whereas provolone Picante attains maturity at four months.
Provolone Picante is the best version of this cheese, and it usually has some similarities to the mozzarella cheese. It has a sharper flavor and taste compared to the other versions of the provolone cheese.
Its flavor is often very intense because it is the most aged of the three versions. The piquant flavor of this cheese comes from the lipase enzyme that is used during its production process.
Provolone Dolce is the youngest version of this cheese and usually the sweetest. It has a mild flavor brought by the use of a calf’s lipase enzyme during its production.
Provolone cheese is often molded into different shapes that are then hanged on the roof or ceiling boards for them to ripe. This cheese gets deep yellow color as it ages with a firm texture, and the flavor becomes more robust.
This cheese tends to melt quickly, and this is because of its smooth texture and creaminess. The buttery and tangy flavor of this cheese makes it a perfect topping for your pizza and sandwiches. It makes a perfect substitute for your mozzarella cheese.
When it comes to the nutrients of this cheese, it has several essential nutrients that are important, but it also contains saturated fats and oils, which may not be suitable for your health. The best will be to enjoy this cheese occasionally to prevent any health-related diseases.
In opposition to what many people tend to believe, gouda cheese is not manufactured in the city of gouda; and instead, it is bought and primarily sold in gouda, where there is a cheese market.
This cheese variety is one of the oldest, and it is said to have been produced way back in the 11th century. Traditionally, cheesemaking responsibilities and duties were mainly done by women who passed these skills to their daughters.
Gouda is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, and it originates from the Netherlands. It usually has a yellow rind with a mild flavor.
In recent times, gouda cheese is meant to refer to the methods used in making cheese instead of the cheese itself. Therefore, the term gouda is not protected, and it is used to refer to other cheeses with the same features as gouda cheese.
Variants of gouda cheese
The classification of gouda cheese is often based on the age of the cheese. The age difference is what most Dutch cheesemakers use when classifying gouda cheese.
Here is how this cheese is categorized;
- Young cheese
- Young matured cheese
- Extra matured
- Fully matured
- Very old gouda cheese
How is gouda cheese made?
The Dutch land’s northern and southern regions are known to be full of grassy pastures that are essential when it comes to feeding the cows. The cows are fed with these grassy pastures, which results in very rich milk.
The milk is then used in gouda production, which is one of the best cheeses in the Netherlands.
The milk is often left to thicken, which makes it turn into curds. Excess whey is usually removed and replaced by warm water. This is what is referred to as ‘washing the curd.’
The water should be warm because the high temperatures of the water change the flavor of the cheese.
Rinsing the curds with warm water clears away some lactose from the cheese, which means there is no room for any form of bacteria to feed on the cheese. This also stops the production of lactic acid, which adds a sweet flavor to the cheese.
These curds are often pressed to form circular-like molds, after which they are dipped in a salt bath, also known as brine. The last bit is usually the drying part, where the cheese is set to dry.
The coloring of the gouda cheese is brought by adding plant-based colorants like the annatto or carotene.
Gouda cheese uses
This cheese is usually versatile and can be used in very many types of dishes, and this is because of the mild flavor that it possesses.
It melts perfectly well, which means you can use it as a topping for your pizza, paninis, and macaroni. There are no limitations when it comes to this cheese, as you can use it almost anywhere.
How do you store gouda cheese?
Gouda cheese being a semi-hard cheese means it has some moisture content that needs to be preserved such that the flavor is not lost.
Wrapping it in plastic paper then preserving it in the freezer immediately is not a good idea because the cheese will need fresh air.
The best way is to preserve gouda cheese is by wrapping it in parchment paper, after which you put it in a freezer bag then place it in the freezer.
Which types of cheese can you substitute gouda with?
It easier to replace the younger version of gouda cheese, and this is because it usually has a mild flavor compared to the old versions.
Edam and cheddar cheese are suitable replacements for gouda cheese. Edam is the best between these two; most importantly, it is also a Dutch cheese.
When using cheddar cheese as the substitute for gouda cheese, remember to use a less sharp cheddar version because it usually has a pronounced flavor.
Havarti cheese is a semi-soft cheese that is manufactured in Denmark. The term Havarti was first mentioned in the 18th century.
The traditional Havarti cheese is often very different from the flodehavarti, with the main difference being that the cream Havarti is made from high pasteurized milk.
The whey proteins in the cream Havarti often get eliminated during the production process, which is not the case with the Havarti original version.
How is Havarti cheese made?
There have been no changes to the Havarti cheese recipe ever since it was born. Like several other varieties of cheese, Havarti cheese is made by introducing rennet in raw milk, which causes it to curdle.
The curds formed are then pressed to form cheese molds, after which the draining of whey is done. After compressing the curds, the molds are set to cool before washing the curd is done in saltwater.
Depending on what flavor and texture you want, Havarti cheese may be preserved for ages in a cool place. The aging time is usually from months to years. The older the cheese, the more pronounced flavor the cheese will have.
The original version of this cheese is usually made with nothing more than pasteurized milk; hence it usually is gluten-free, making it a good cheese for vegetarians, but you should check before you settle on using it.
What makes a perfect substitute for Havarti cheese?
When it comes to replacing Havarti cheese, you will need to have cheeses with a mild flavor to replicate the flavor of Havarti. The only problem with Havarti cheese is that finding them is not easy, but you can replace them.
Havarti is a Danish cheese which means to find the best possible alternatives; you will have to look for cheese that has been made with the same style. Gouda, Monterrey Jack, and Tilsit make perfect alternatives for Havarti cheese.
Uses of Havarti cheese
The best thing about Havarti cheese is that you can use it either when sliced, grilled, or melted. It makes a perfect table cheese that pairs well with many recipes.
When melted, you can easily use it in pasta dishes but use it when grilled for sandwiches. For your pizza, use it when grated together with mozzarella cheese.