You may have bought smoked cheese from your local store and wondered how to make this marvel at home. It seems like a complicated process on paper, but the good news is that smoking cheese can be easy, with the right equipment.
We will share simple, do-it-yourself directions with you to help you get started cold smoking cheese. One of the key factors to note when it comes to smoking cheese is temperature control. It is a critical factor, and if you master it perfectly, you should be ready to undertake the task.
Choose Your Cheese
The great news with cold smoking is that you can use just about any cheese you want. You have the choice of going for your preferred type of cheese, from cheddar, Parmesan, Pepper Jack, or mozzarella. However, the quality of the cheese you pick also influences the outcome.
Soft cheeses are also a good option, but you will need to be extra careful while handling them. They melt easily, especially if the temperature rises, which can be an inconvenience.
Best Time to Cold Smoke
Cold smoking cheese is purely reserved for cold temperatures, preferably during the winter. This is because room temperature easily influences the internal temperature of the cheese.
But, sometimes, your cravings may not allow you to wait until winter for you to smoke your cheese. This leaves the need to create simple improvised ways to allow you to continue enjoying this savory delicacy.
If that’s the case, we recommend smoking your cheese during the early morning hours or late at night during the lowest temperatures of the day. You might also need to use tools that improve your smoker to only serve as a smoke chamber (that is why it might be a challenge with pellet grills and other smokers). The objective here is to help reduce the possibility of any heat sneaking into the cheese.
Our Bradley Smoker, designed to allow for excellent temperature monitoring, can be a great solution to keep temperature down with separated heating elements for cooking and generating smoke, perfect for cheese making. If you need it cold all the way, or having absolute control over temperature a cold smoke adapter kit makes it perfect, it separates the wood burning element while cooling the smoke
The Size of the Cheese
The size of the cheese you are smoking also impacts the overall quality of your smoked cheese. You will need to cut your cheese into smaller pieces, especially if you have big chunks.
Slicing the cheese into smaller pieces helps increase the flavored surface area by exposing more of the cheese to the smoke. This also makes it easier for the cheese to absorb more smoke, increasing the concentration levels.
Keep a Constant Smoke and Temperature
Maintaining a constant stream of smoke throughout the period is essential for a precise and delicious outcome. Remember, cheese is notoriously known for melting, so you don’t want to increase the temperature too much, as it can easily mess up the process.
Flip Your Cheese Frequently
Cold smoking is a way for the cheese to absorb the wood’s smoke; just be sure that all sides of the cheese are exposed. You may choose to flip your cheese every thirty minutes or halfway through the smoking process.
On average, you can smoke the cheese for 2–3 hours. The smoking duration is also influenced by the size of the cheese and the type of wood flavor you are using. Strong woods have a more concentrated smoke that infuses into cheese quicker.
Rest the Smoked Cheese
We recommend allowing the cheese to rest after smoking. Wrap it nicely, or vacuum seal if you can, and place it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. This allows the smoky flavors to settle in and soften the cheese. The key thing to note is that the flavor improves over time, so the longer you allow it to settle, the better.
The key is to allow the smoked cheese to come to room temperature before eating it. It’s also a good idea to let it breathe a bit after a long period of smoking.
Storing Cold Smoked Cheese
If you have smoked more than enough cheese for immediate use, you can go ahead and freeze it for later. We recommend vacuum sealing it to last for a few days in the fridge, or you can deep freeze it for up to eight months. Incredibly, vacuum-sealed frozen cheese tends to taste better and have a more concentrated flavor.
Generally, the secret to a high-quality cold smoked cheese is in the combination of various factors, from the quality of the cheese and type of wood used to the level of temperature control.
We have a few more articles about cold smoking cheese for you:
How To Choose The Best Wood For Smoking Cheese At Home
First-Time Cold Smoking for Beginners