What gives Gouda cheese its flavor

Cheeses are satisfying: they have a richness of flavor and feel good when eaten. Thomas Hofmann and collaborators have recently published some of the compounds that give Gouda cheese that feel-good sensation. They called those molecules kokumi peptides after a term used by a Japanese company to promote umami flavors with good mouthfeel.

If Gouda cheese is aged for only 4 weeks it lacks the complexity and body of a Gouda that has matured for 44 weeks. Hofmann and friends took a 4 week old Gouda, ground it in a mortar with what they felt where the wanting kokumi compounds, and pressed the paste back into shape. The new and improved young Gouda was very similar to the 44 week old cheese.