Who doesn’t love cheese? This dairy product is aromatic and delicious, and it perfectly complements many dishes with its creamy taste. However, there’s a way to enhance its flavors even more: smoking it. Smoked cheese possesses a unique flavor with subtle earthy, meaty, and toasty notes. It’s also another way you can make its shelf life longer. Below are some of your options if you’re interested in smoking cheese.
There is smoked cheese processed by industrial smokers readily available in shops. However, you can also do this process on your own at home. You will only need to prepare your Bradley Smoker with a cold smoke adapter kit. This will allow you to generate cold smoke for the cheese, which is otherwise not doable with just the usual food smoker.
Types of Cheese
There are many different types of cheese you can choose from, but not all are recommended for a smoking process. This is because variations that are too soft will disintegrate during the process or melt too quickly.
The best types of cheese to cold smoke include:
- Pepper Jack
About half an hour before you start the smoking process, unwrap the cheese of your choice and let it rest for a while at room temperature. This will allow some of the oil to be released to the surface, which can help enhance the flavor while it’s being smoked. Afterward, chill the cheese again for about 20 minutes.
The type of cheese will influence the resulting taste of the final product, but smoking intensity and duration are also important factors that can affect it. This is why, when you smoke cheese, you should follow the temperature and smoking time standards. Another essential factor that affects the overall taste of the cheese is the wood flavor.
At Bradley Smokers, we offer a wide variety of high-quality wood flavors, but not all will pair well with cheese. This is because some flavors will overpower the natural taste of the cheese. The best flavors are obtained by using the fruitwood types.
For instance, the Bradley Smoker Apple Wood Bisquettes have a mild, fruity, and sweet taste that perfectly complements the cheese’s natural flavor. If you haven’t tried smoking it before, apple will be the most ideal to try as it’s mild and adds a subtle sweetness. Cheese smoked with apple flavor will go well with sandwiches and salads.
There’s also the Bradley Smoker Cherry Wood Bisquettes. This flavor also has a rich, sweet, and fruity aroma, yet still mild enough to not overpower the natural flavor of the cheese. What sets cherry wood flavor aside from other fruitwood flavors is that it provides a rosy tint to the finished product. You can use that unique feature for aesthetic purposes.
If you want an intense aroma, you can try the Bradley Smoker Hickory Wood Bisquettes. It’s also sweet, but unlike the apple and cherry flavors, it has a strong taste, which is why it’s most commonly used for meat. However, despite not being mild, hickory wood won’t overpower the cheese’s natural taste. Instead, it adds the right amount of extra flavor.
Another strong-flavored wood that goes well with cheese is the Bradley Smoker Oak Wood Bisquettes, which is considered one of the most versatile wood flavors. It will also create a beautiful golden coating. However, make sure that you only use Oak with hard cheeses, such as Cheddar or Gouda, or else it will overpower the cheese’s natural flavor.
Once you’ve decided on which wood flavor to use for the smoking process, you can start preparing the food smoker. While placing the cheese inside, make sure that there’s enough space between it and the source of the smoke. This kind of setup will give it more protection and avoid melting the cheese before it is done.
Cold Smoke Process
The cheese will be smoked inside the cold smoking chamber for about five hours and 35 minutes, with the temperature at 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius. You can also let it sit inside the food smoker for six hours, but ensure that the temperature does not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius.
After about two hours, you might have already used up about five Bradley Wood Bisquettes. Next, check the temperature; it should be about 69 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius. Let the cheese smoke again for about two hours and 30 minutes before rechecking it. Repeat the process until five to six hours have passed.
Once you’re done with the smoking process, let the cheese rest by putting it in the refrigerator for about six hours to one whole day to allow the smoky flavor to firmly penetrate and set on the cheese. Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to dig in! Pair your delicious smoked cheese with some smoked sausage to make a delicious charcuterie board.
For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.