Cheese has that delicious flavor that few can resist. It is an excellent accompaniment to everyday meals or special occasion menus. We can never be without a good cheese to eat as an appetizer for a party or as a comfort food when we’re at home.
In restaurants or cheese boutiques we can choose from good smoked cheese, but have you ever tried cold smoking cheese with your smoker at home? In this guide, we tell you how to cold smoke cheese so you can enjoy this delicacy any time. After reading this article you won’t have to spend more on restaurant cheeses because you’ll be able to prepare your own every time you have a craving.
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Best Tips for Cold Smoking Cheese
Nothing goes better with a burger or nachos than a nice smoked cheese. Temperature control when smoking cheese is not the only factor to consider for an excellent result. That’s why we have these tips for you to get a smoked cheese better than the one in stores or restaurants.
1. Choose a Cold day for Cold Smoking
The ideal season to prepare smoked cheese is undoubtedly the autumn and winter months. That is when the outside temperature does not exceed 60˚F. Warmer seasons such as spring and summer can cause the cheese to melt.
2. Cut the Cheese into Small Pieces
Remove the rind from the cheese and cut it into small, long pieces. It will be enough if you cut it into small blocks 1 inch tall by 2 inches wide and 4 inches long. This will allow the smoke to penetrate the whole block of cheese without having to expose the cheese to smoke for a long time. Also, when you slice the cheese it will fit well on my favorite cracker.
On the other hand, if you want a soft interior and a smoky rind, cut the cheese into larger pieces.
3. Control Temperature
Use a smoke thermometer to keep the temperature of your grill at a constant, low. The smoker’s temperature should be kept well below 90˚F.
4. Turn the Cheese Constantly
Turn the cheese every 30 minutes so that it is evenly exposed to smoke on all sides. Be sure to smoke the cheese for approximately four hours or more for stronger flavors.
5. Choose the Right Wood Chips
Don’t underestimate the choice of wood for smoking. Choose a wood that matches perfectly with the cheese you are going to smoke. Just as it is important to choose a good wood for smoking meats, it is also important for smoking cheese. Sweet mild wood chips such as cherry, apple, or walnut are recommended for soft cheese. On the other hand, if your cheese has a strong flavor, choose more powerful wood chips such as oak, mesquite, or walnut.
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6. Wrapping and Refrigeration
One of the most difficult steps is to resist not immediately eating the cheese once it has been smoked. When you have finished smoking the cheese, the next step is to wrap and refrigerate it for one week. This will allow the smoked flavors to settle and soften. You will notice that the smoke flavor of your cheese will improve over time.
7. Use a Cold Smoke Device
Using a cold smoke device is a must when smoking cheese. Most smokers can’t generate smoke at temperatures less than 150 degrees. Consider a device like the Smokehouse Products smoke generator or an A-maze-n pellet smoke tray. I use both items for cheese and my other low and slow foods that I prepare.
What is the Best Smoking Cheese?
For best results, choose a harder cheese that is soft on the inside when smoked. Soft cheeses absorb smoke very quickly and may be difficult to handle. Also, a soft cheese can melt and spoil easily by acquiring an overpowering smoky flavor.
You can start with a soft gouda, pepper jack, or cheddar cheese. These cheeses are sturdy enough to withstand smoking temperatures.
At What Temperature is Cheese Cold Smoked?
Cheese usually begins to melt at a temperature between 80˚F and 90˚F. That is why when smoking cheese, the smoker should be kept below this temperature. With the help of a smoking thermometer, you will be able to maintain the necessary temperature so as not to melt the cheese when it is being smoked.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Cheese?
Smoking cheese takes between four and six hours, but this is not the time you will have to wait before consuming it. Once the cheese is smoked, it must be refrigerated for 24 hours immediately after it comes out of the smoker.
It must then be vacuum sealed and left to rest for one week or more before it is completely ready to eat. This waiting time helps the smoke flavor to mellow and have a delicate and delicious flavor at the moment you eat it.
How to Store Smoked Cheese?
The best option to store a delicious smoked cheese is to vacuum seal it and keep it for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. If you freeze the cheese, you can cause the cheese to fall apart and lose the smooth, creamy texture that we desire when we smoke cheese.
How to Eat Cold Smoked Cheese?
If your smoked cheese is ready to eat, you may be wondering how you can eat it. The reality is that there are many ways to enjoy a cold smoked cheese. Here are some favorite ways to enjoy it:
It may seem a little strange, but you have to try this combination of flavors. Apples or grapes are a perfect accompaniment to smoked cheese. Experiment with different fruits to find your favorite combination.
In a Sandwich
If you combine the flavor of smoked cheddar with a good quality ham, for instance, you will turn the typical sandwich into a spectacular delicacy. Add a sweet dressing to balance the smoke flavor.
On a Cheeseboard
Add an unexpected flavor to your traditional cheeseboard. If you build a board with different textures, adding a smoked cheese will give it an unexpected flavor twist for your palate or that of your guests.
On a Cracker
My favorite way to enjoy smoked cheese is on my favorite cracker. I go out of my way to cut the presmoked cheese in the perfect size to slice and have it as an after-lunch snack. Also, my favorite cheese is a little odd but it is swiss cheese because it goes great with my favorite cracker.
Most people can’t resist the taste of good cheese. Now imagine what you can awaken in your palate by adding smokiness to your cheese. If you follow our tips on how to cold smoke cheese, we assure you that you can have a delicious and quality appetizer in your refrigerator at all times.
Once you’ve tried cold smoking cheese, you won’t be able to stop making it. As time goes on, you can experiment with different types of cheese and woods for smoking – you won’t regret it!