Boeren-Leidse met sleutels PDO

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The Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO is a hard or semi-hard farm cheese made with partially skimmed raw cow's milk, with the addition of cumin.

Production Method

The milk used for the production must come from not more than two consecutive milkings. Once milked, the milk is cooled to 10°C and skimmed by hand after 12 to 24 hours, because the composition of the cheese should be 30 to at most 39,5% fat in dry matter.The milk is inoculated with a starter of lactic acid bacteria and with liquid calf rennet in appropriate cheese vats. Once the coagulation process is completed, the curd is broken for 15-20 minutes until small lumps are obtained, hot water is added and the temperature raises from 30°C to 35°C . The mass is then extracted and part of the whey is drained off. At this point, before adding 75 gr of cumin seeds per 100 litres of milk, a portion of the curd is separated to obtain the "white base" which coats the cheese so that the cumin seeds do not appear on the flat sides of the form. After filling the moulds the cheese is pressed in the moulds during some hours to get a close rind. After this pre-pressing a second pressing during about 12 hours follows in the so-called zakpers. This pressing is essential, to get the right shape (flat upper and under surfaces and curved side and sharp edges) and to press the specific trade mark with "the crossed keys" into the cheese. After pressing the cheese is immersed in brine bath during some days until it has absorbed the right concentration of salt. Ripening lasts at least 13 days, after which the cheese is coloured with annatto or other suitable product for it to assume the typical red-brown colour and coated with a cheese coating. A fully ripened Boeren Leidse has an age of about 6 months.

Appearance and Flavour

Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO has a spherical shape with sharp edges and is flattened on the bottom and the upper surface. The weight of the form is at least 3 kg, normally 10 - 12 kg. The rind has a characteristic red-brown colour, given to it at the end of processing, and a semi-hard to hard consistency.

Production Area

The Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO production area includes the districts of Rijnland, Amstel en Vecht, Delfland, Schieland, Woerden, Leidse Rijn; the towns Westerkoggenland, Giessenlanden and Udenhout.


The origin of Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO is related to the history of many cheeses in the Netherlands. In fact, originally the production of butter was the main activity. Next to it the production of the low fat cheese developed to give an added value to the skimmed milk. This cheese is an important source of food protein. The Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels was already produced in the Middle Ages being exported from the ports of ancient Zuiderzee to many oversea counties.


To maintain its organoleptic properties, Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO can be stored in a fresh room for about some weeks at a temperature of at least 12°C. This cheese is consumed fresh, is excellent as a snack as well as a dish and is widely used as an ingredient in salads.


The product is sold as Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO. It is marketed fresh .

Distinctive Features

Boeren-Leidse met Sleutels PDO is the result of an artisan process, perfected over centuries of experience. The milk used also contributes to its distinctive quality, the result of a territory that for its climate and the soil is particularly suited to milk production.