Gouda vs. Mozzarella

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Aaron

From the picturesque canals of Gouda in the Netherlands to the sun-kissed landscapes of Campania in Italy, one stretches effortlessly on your pizza, while the other melts into a rich, caramelized treat.

First of all, gouda comes from the Netherlands and can range from soft to hard, with flavors that get nuttier as it ages. Mozzarella is an Italian cheese that’s soft and stretchy, often used on pizza. While Gouda can be aged and develop strong flavors, Mozzarella is usually mild and eaten fresh.

Gouda:

  • Young or Graskaas Gouda: A few weeks to a couple of months. It’s mild and soft.
  • Matured Gouda: About 4 to 10 months. It becomes firmer and develops a richer flavor.
  • Aged or Old Gouda: Over 10 months to several years. It has a hard texture, strong flavor, and might develop amino acid or calcium lactate crystals.

Mozzarella:

  • Fresh Mozzarella: Not aged at all. It’s meant to be consumed within a few days to a week after production.
  • Low-Moisture Mozzarella: This type is dried more than the fresh version and can be stored longer. However, even this version isn’t typically “aged” for long durations like traditional aged cheeses. It’s often aged for a few weeks to achieve the desired moisture content and texture.

Gouda has a waxed rind that is usually yellow or red. The rind is not meant to be eaten. Fresh mozzarella does not have a rind. However, low-moisture mozzarella (often sold as blocks or shredded) can have a thin skin due to the drying process.

Before we move further into detail, here is an at-a-glance comparison table:

MozzarellaGouda
OriginNaples, ItalyGouda, Netherlands
TextureSoft and stretchySemi-hard and firm
TasteMild, milkyMild to nutty
ColorWhite or slightly yellowPale yellow to amber
Source of milkTraditionally water buffalo; commonly cowUsually cow’s (but can be sheep’s or goat’s)
Aging timeUsually aged for months or yearsTypically eaten fresh; several weeks
PriceYoung: $
Aged: $$$
Specialty/Vintage: $$$$
Regular Cow’s Milk: $
Buffalo Mozzarella: $$
Imported di Bufala: $$$

How is Mozzarella Different:

Mozzarella stands distinct in the diverse world of cheeses. Originating from Italy, it’s uniquely crafted using the “pasta filata” method. In this process, curds are heated until they attain an elastic consistency, then stretched and kneaded to perfection. This results in mozzarella’s signature stringy, stretchy texture.

Unlike many cheeses that are aged for extended periods, traditional mozzarella is best consumed fresh, often just days after production, boasting a high water content that lends it a soft, creamy nature. This explains why it’s often retailed submerged in whey or water.

A particularly revered variant is the Mozzarella di Bufala, made exclusively from the milk of water buffaloes in Italy’s Campania region, and distinguished by its PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status.

Mozzarella’s melting qualities are legendary, making it the star in dishes like pizzas and lasagnas. Its mild, milky flavor ensures it complements rather than dominates, evident in the delectable caprese salad. Beyond the quintessential fresh mozzarella and Mozzarella di Bufala, the cheese world also celebrates its low-moisture variant. Aged a tad longer, it’s preferred in many commercial pizza and pasta dishes, attributing to its unique melt.

You can actually make mozzarella at home using 3 or 4 simple ingredients in just 30 minutes, watch how it’s done.

What about Gouda?

Hailing from the picturesque Dutch town that shares its name, Gouda represents a rich European cheese tradition.

Gouda’s production journey weaves a tale of milk curdled, drained, and then meticulously pressed into iconic circular molds. Once formed, it’s encased in a waxed rind (edible but not recommended), which not only serves as a protective barrier but also indicates the cheese’s age through its color and also to locks moisture.

Young Gouda, recognized by its red or yellow rind, promises a soft, creamy texture and a mildly sweet flavor. As it ages, transforming into mature or even vintage Gouda, it adopts a harder texture and a deep amber hue, with flavors becoming robust, nutty, and complex. This aging process can also lead to the development of delightful crunchy crystals, an unexpected treat for the palate.

It’s not just the age that diversifies Gouda; the milk source, be it cow, sheep, or goat, introduces subtle variations in flavor and texture. A special mention is deserved for “Boerenkaas” or “farmer’s cheese,” a raw milk variant that promises an authentic, richer taste experience.

Gouda’s versatility is another feather in its cap. From being a staple in sandwiches and snacks to playing a starring role in cooking, served with dark chocolate and toffee, its adaptability is commendable. The legacy of Gouda isn’t just about its taste; it’s a testament to centuries of Dutch cheesemaking craftsmanship.

Nutritional Comparison

*Based on 1 slice (1oz or 28g) serving

Gouda (by Great Value)Mozzarella (by Belgioioso)
Energy100 Kcal70 Kcal
Protein7 g5.01 g
Total fat8.01 g5.01 g
Saturated fat5.01 g3 g
Carbohydrate0 g1 g
Calcium200 mg150 mg
Sodium240 mg85.1 mg
Vitamin A200 IU200 IU
Cholesterol30 mg19.9 mg
Data sampled from USDA: gouda and mozzarella

Gouda is generally denser in calories compared to Mozzarella. This might be attributed to Gouda’s higher fat content. So, if you’re watching your caloric intake, Mozzarella might be a preferable choice.

Gouda has higher caloric, fat, calcium, sodium, and cholesterol content than Mozzarella. While Gouda has a slight edge nutritionally, Mozzarella is lighter in calories and fats. Both cheeses are low in carbohydrates. The choice between the two might depend on individual dietary needs: Gouda for higher calcium, and Mozzarella for lower fat and sodium.

Uses and Culinary Application

Gouda and Mozzarella are both tasty cheeses but are used differently in food. Gouda is great in sandwiches, snacks, and sometimes in cooked dishes because it melts well. Some people even use a special smoked Gouda in soups for a unique taste.

On the other hand, Mozzarella is famous for pizzas because it melts and stretches beautifully. You’ll also find it in pasta dishes like lasagna and in salads with tomatoes and basil. Mozzarella is also used in some snacks and in dishes where you want the cheese to become soft and gooey when heated.

In short, Gouda is often chosen for its rich taste in sandwiches and snacks, while Mozzarella is loved for its melty texture in pizzas and pastas.

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