The history of the province and the cheese are interlinked. In the 12th century, many farmers settled there and it is believed that they were the inventors of the cheese. Then for decades, the cheese travelled far and wide on ships as a delicacy when men were away from home. It was the most popular between the 14th and the 18th centuries.
The province of Edam once had as many as 33 ship yards. This is probably what helped this cheese to travel long distances and be a part of cultures and cuisines far and wide.
Every week an exciting cheese market is enacted in Holland and is a popular place for tourists to see and relive the glorious past of Edam. This market which was closed sometime ago has been recently reopened to give the people an idea of what goes behind the scenes when it comes to their favorite cheese. The market however is only functional during the summer months.
Edam cheese is known for a variety of things but the most important properties of the Edam cheese are:
It does not spoil easily. Edam cheese can be kept for as long as an year and once opened the shelf life is about a month long.
- It is a great travel companion as it is easy to carry and handle.
- It has almost no distinguishing smell.
- It has a mild, salty to taste with a slight nutty essence.
- It is low in fat value and has only 28% of fat content.
- It is rich on protein content with about 25% of it.
The low fat content makes it easy to cut and slice and a lot softer when compared to other cheese.
It is highly popular in areas of North America and the Nordic countries. The exports of this cheese to all other parts of the world are high also.
Aging is an important process when it comes to cheese making. When the cheese is all ready to go out, it is given a aging time. It is this aging period that defines the flavor, taste and aroma of any cheese. Edam cheese ages well and with time it is much better. Different cheese varieties have different aging periods. Some take 10 weeks and some much more. A specific variety of Edam cheese which takes an aging process of 17 weeks is coated with black wax and not the traditional red or yellow.
Though originally of Holland, today the Edam cheese is produced all over the world with specific variations. The major varieties include American and French.
So go ahead and indulge in some Dutch or not so Dutch cheese delights.
How to Make Home Made Edam Cheese Making Recipe
You will need about 3 ½ gallons of whole cow or goat’s milk. It may be raw or pasteurized. You can also use whole homogenized milk bought from the store.
Using a hot water bath, bring the milk’s temperature to about 29 degrees C. Now add 1/8 tsp annatto coloring (mix coloring with ¼ c. cool water before adding to the milk). Add ½ tsp mesosphilic type III powder (also called lactic bacteria) to a bit of the milk in a cup and then stir into the rest of the milk. Only use 3/8 tsp. of mesosphilic powder if using goat’s milk.
Let the milk sit to ripen for 30 min. keeping the temperature the same.
If using homogenized milk add 1 tsp. Calcium chloride to ¼ cup water and then mix into milk to help set the curd.
Now add 1 tsp. rennet. Mix rennet with ¼ cup cool water before adding to the milk. Only use ¾ tsp of rennet and calcium chloride if using goat’s milk.
Keep the temperature the same and let set for 45 min.
When curd is set and you get a “clean break”, cut the curd into ½ inch cubes, stir for 5 more minutes.
Over a 20 minute period, slowly bring the temperature up to 33 degrees C stirring all the while.
Let the curds settle for a moment, and then remove half of the whey saving it to use later. Now add water that is 44 degrees C to replace the whey and stir well.
Bring the temperature of the hot water bath up to 37 degrees C and hold for 25 minutes. Do NOT stir during this time. When you can easily form the curds into a ball in your hand, drain the curds in a sanitized colander or large strainer.
Place the curds into your cheese press and using firm pressure, press for overnight.
Take the wheel of cheese out of the press and place into the whey you have now warmed to 47 degrees C. Hold the wheel in the whey for 5-10 minutes. Rewrap the wheel with a clean cheese cloth and return wheel to press for another 5 hours.
Take wheel of cheese out of press and float in a very strong salt brine overnight.
Take the wheel out of the brine and let dry at room temperature. Then coat with wax and store in a cool place. Edam cheese will be ready to eat in about 2 months.
© Copying 2008 All Rights Reserved Content & Photos By www.cheesemakingrecipe.com Joyann Mast