Smoking cheese the Basics
What I am asked again and again is how to smoke cheese.
My question is always, why do you want to smoke the cheese.
There are different motives:
- For flavoring the cheese and to give it a nice color
- To make the cheese more durable
There are generally two types of how to smoke cheese:
- Smoking with cold smoke (the only really practicable way how to smoke cheese)
- Smoking with hot smoke
The big difference, as the name suggests, is primarily the temperature. But also in terms of duration, because smoking with cold smoke usually takes several days or even weeks.
Smoking cheese with cold smoke makes cheese more durable, colored, and flavored.
Smoking cheese with hot smoke is no suitable way how to smoke cheese, except for Paneer.
Because the cheese would sweat or even melt when smoked. This smoking process is used to give fish, meat, and sausage products a nice smoke aroma and color, and above all to cook them.
How to smoke cheese: different types of wood
Different woods and their properties when you smoke cheese:
- Beech: Mild smoke aroma, red-brown color.
- Alder: Strong, refined smoke aroma, beautiful intense red color.
- Spruce / Fir: is harmful to health and should only be used moderately. Black color very intense, slightly sharp smoke aroma.
- Applewood: Fine smoke aroma very benevolent, red-brown color.
- Plum wood: Fine spicy smoke aroma, red-brown color.
- Oak Strong: smoke aroma, yellowish color.
How to smoke cheese: Instruction
In order for the cheese to get a strong smoke note and color when smoking, the cheese must be young and still “soft”. This is the only way how to smoke cheese that shall have an intense smoke aroma. Only cheese that has a soft surface also takes up smoke and color when smoking.
When we’re at scents:
Young damp cheeses take on all kinds of smells very quickly and easily, and not just when smoking. So be careful with smells in the air, whether it’s perfume, smoke or other smells.
If you want to smoke cheese, it must not have a moist/wet surface, otherwise, it will get an acid taste. Only smoke cheeses that have been dried after salting and then no longer wetting (mostly through post-acidification). In order for the cheese to be smoked, place the cheese on gratings in the cupboard so that the cheeses do not touch. The grid must not contain any nickel, as the fat from the cheese releases this metal and, on the one hand, leaves green-black lines on the cheese and the cheese would later taste like metal.
When you are smoking cheese using the cold smoking process, the smoke temperature must be low. A maximum of 77 ° F for young cheese and a maximum of 68 ° F for mature cheese. This is the only way to ensure that the cheese does not “sweat” during smoking and remains in its original form. The best way how to smoke cheese is: the colder the better.
When you are smoke cheese, water is extracted from the cheese and the smoke settles on the outermost layer. These ingredients make the cheese more durable and aromatic when smoked.
When you smoke cheese, it is important that the ambient temperature is as low as possible. Because the still fresh cheeses do not spoil so easily and dry out too much.
When the cheeses are dry on the outside, you can start smoking.
Take wooden flour of the desired type of wood. For a smoking time of 6 hours, which is ideal to smoke cheese, a chip quantity of approx. 65 g is sufficient.
How to smoke cheese: lighting up shavings
The smoke flour can be ignited very well with a blowtorch. To do this, you have to point the flame at the smoked flour until it continues to glow on its own.
Another option is to use alcohol. Place a shot glass full (20 ml) on a spot on the edge and light it. Until the flame is extinguished, the chips should continue to glow on their own. But be careful if the lighting with alcohol does not work the first time:
Do not pour new alcohol into the hot smoke flour, otherwise, there is a risk of deflagration! If the wooden shavings don’t glow, wait until everything has cooled down before lighting it again.
Bio-kindling cubes can also help to make the smoke flour glow.
Make sure that smoking flour does not start to burn when you smoke cheese.
If it is too dry and wants to burn, use a brush to spray some water on the smoke flour.
Open the air supply only so far that the smoke flour slowly burns down, but does not burn. Make sure that the flour is slowly glowed up to keep it at a lower temperature and to keep the smoking time long. That’s the best way how to smoke cheese for a long time period.
When you smoke cheese, the temperature in the smoking cabinet should not exceed 68/77° F.
Otherwise the cheese will sweat very quickly, which can ruin the cheese. Ripened cheese in particular is very susceptible. The ideal temperature for smoking cheese is less than 68 ° F, the colder the better! Now let the entire smoke flour glow away.
When you smoke cheese, turning is very important, otherwise, it will not get a uniform color. If you only want to smoke cheese once, turn it after about 3 hours, which is about half the smoking time. If you want to smoke the cheese twice, turn it over after the first smoke, etc.
How to smoke cheese to make it more durable:
If you want to smoke a whole cheese to make it more durable, this happens after it has ripened. It must be clean and dry on the surface. If you smoke aged cheese, it hardly takes on color. The drier a cheese is when smoked, the less smoke and color it takes. The scent is also superficial and almost nothing inside. The ingredients of the smoke lie on the cheese and protect it. Since you usually cannot and do not want to eat the bark, you simply cut away the smoke aroma through the bark later. To get a color and taste in the cheese, you would have to smoke very often and for a long time. This is how to smoke cheese for better durability.
With this type to smoke cheese, it should not be warmer than 68 ° F in the smoking cabinet, otherwise, the cheese would sweat when you smoke it, which could ruin the cheese. The cooler the better, that’s how to smoke cheese that has already matured.
With each type of cheese smoking, the cheese is turned once a day. Remember to always take a break of 1 day between smoking the cheese. Smoking in stages brings a more harmonious smoke aroma. This is the best way how to smoke cheese for a pleasant smoky aroma. Humidity is also important when you smoke cheese. Make sure that it has no less than 60% moisture. If it is too dry when you smoke cheese, the surface of the cheese may crack. And this would lead to mold inside. There should also be no drafts when you smoke cheese, as this could also lead to cracks. So also make sure that when you smoke cheese, the trains are closed as much as possible.
When your eyes and nose tell you that the smoke is sufficient, the cheese smoking is over. But keep in mind, the smoke aroma diminishes with time and the cheese smells very strongly after smoking, this softens with the days.
Now you have an approximate overview of how to smoke cheese. More detailed information will follow.