Edam

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Photo of Edam Cheese

Yvwv, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Edam, renowned alongside Gouda as a popular Dutch cheese, shares its name with a historic cheese market in northern Holland. Known for its sweet, slightly rubbery texture, Edam becomes crystalline and Parmigiano-like when aged. Originating from 1439, it was primarily made with skimmed milk for export, favored for its durability during long sea voyages.

Traditionally shaped in round wooden presses designed to eliminate edges, this technique extended its shelf life and protected it from damage during transport. A key innovation in its production, the scalding of pressed and salted cheese in hot whey, enhances its signature texture and longevity. This practice was well-established in the Netherlands by the seventeenth century, predating similar methods in English cheese-making.

Edam's distinctive red rind, historically achieved with a turnsole dye mixed with urine for its alkaline properties, is now created through waxing—a method similar to sealing wine and bourbon bottles.

Globally acclaimed for its mellow flavor and appealing texture, Edam owes much of its fame to Dutch trading prowess. While delightful when young, Edam matures into a hard cheese with rich caramel and nutty flavors if aged longer. Its versatility makes it perfect for breakfast tables, melting dishes, or as a staple on cheese platters, ideally paired with fruits or wines, reflecting its enduring popularity and the adaptations it has inspired worldwide.

Important Facts

Country of Origin Netherlands
Specific Origin North of Holland
Milk Type Cow's Milk
Milk Treatment Mostly pasteurized
Rind Smooth, waxed
Texture Rubber-textured to crystalline
Flavor Sweet, milky, nutty, buttery
Colors Red
Forms Round
Age 3 months to longer

Recommended Pairings for Edam Cheese

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