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Author Topic: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience  (Read 13454 times)

Offline pz

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First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« on: July 13, 2013, 10:15:27 pm »
This is my first time smoking cheese, and my attempt is due largely to the many posts on the forum regarding successful cheese smoking.  I have one 2-pound block of Costco mild cheddar, and two wedges of Costco Gouda for my first run.  I've used only a small amount of cheese because I didn't want to risk ruining a large quantity of cheese.  ;).  The cheese is loaded in the top rack, and I'm using pecan pucks.  My plan was to smoke for three hours.  The fact that I don't want to temperature to go much above 90F gives us an excuse to baby sit the smoker  ;D

[Click image to zoom]

After loading the cheese into the smoker, it was time to have lunch (it was around 1pm my time).  The sandwiches are made using smoked corned beef that I made yesterday.  My wife made the crusty European style bread, and the home made aioli containing mayo, pickles, horseradish, catsup, pickle juice, smoked paprika, sweet onion, and parsley.

Although you can't see it too well, the smoke is pouring out the top of the vent.

After an hour, the cheese began to develop color

At a little over two hours I decided to take the cheese out of the smoker because the temperature was climbing over 100F and I was concerned that they might melt. There were oily droplets that were sweating out of the cheese.

After a couple of hours cooling, the cheese was ready to seal using a Foodsaver.  However, I could not resist and cut a chunk to taste.  Although the smoke was strong, the cheese was delicious, and had a smoky taste that you cannot get from store-bought smoked cheese.  I can't wait to age the cheese for a few weeks and see how it tastes.

Are the oily droplets a bad sign that I did something wrong?  I'm thinking that I'll get the cold smoke accessory so I can reduce the heat in the main box a bit more.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 12:17:29 am by pz »
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Offline Ka Honu

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 06:47:07 am »
Looks good.  Two hours is usually enough smoke for me on cheese so I don't think you missed anything by pulling early.  I also find it easier to cut the blocks into smaller chunks (usually 8-12 ounces each) before smoking since I think the increased surface area takes on the smoke better and we rarely need a full two pound slab open for serving at a time.

Offline Saber 4

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 06:53:29 am »
This is definitely going on my list of winter smokes since it's been over 100 degrees every day this week in Texas, Although I may have to try it sooner with the tray of ice method of cooling the smoker.

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 07:19:42 am »
Nice smoke pz, it's best to keep your smoker under 90F for cheese so you don't lose those oils and have your cheese start to melt. Placing a container of ice in the smoker will help keep the temp. down  on those warmer days. Like Ka Honu, I slice up big blocks of cheese like 5# bricks of Tillamook etc. into 2" thick slices for good smoke penetration. I've even smoked cream cheese (which is delicious by the way) by keeping the smoker temp. cool.
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 09:02:10 am »
Thanks for the comments, guys.  ;)  The ice tray technique sounds like a good one, and I'm sure would have kept my temperature below 100F.  I also like the idea of cutting the blocks into 2-inch thick chunks for better smoke penetration (my wife suggested that just as soon as she saw the big block)
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Offline pokermeister

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2013, 11:56:55 am »
I have used a gal milk jug w/ frozen water and placed it on the drip tray. Works well in Vegas with daytime temps above 105. Smoker did not get above 75. You also have to remove the bottom rack.
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2013, 07:09:03 pm »
I have used a gal milk jug w/ frozen water and placed it on the drip tray. Works well in Vegas with daytime temps above 105. Smoker did not get above 75. You also have to remove the bottom rack.

Excellent idea; I have a chest freezer in my garage that would hold plastic jugs just perfectly. 
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013, 10:22:30 pm »
Well, I'm happy to report that my wife loves the smoked cheese.  We were on the deck this afternoon, and I suggested a couple of bites of cheese and she instantly and emphatically replied "YES!".  She says that the pecan smoke is unlike anything she has ever tasted, and that while she has kind of enjoyed smoked Gouda in the past, this is something completely different, and she keeps nibbling until the current portion is all gone.

I had cut approximately 8 ounces of pecan smoked Gouda before I FoodSaver-ed the rest.  The 8 ounces was intended to last a week or so while we samples a few bits each day to experience the progression of flavor development.  Unfortunately it is now all gone - we ate it all.  Now she's eying the rest...

I suppose this is all good, because she now has reason to approve of all I do with the Bradley  ;D
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Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 07:25:12 am »
Good news pz. I looked on the label of some commercially smoked gouda cheese and it said "liquid smoke". That may be why it was completely different.
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Offline fuzzy1

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2013, 10:22:17 am »
Good job PZ. Smoked gouda is one of my favorites too.
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 01:10:21 pm »
Good news pz. I looked on the label of some commercially smoked gouda cheese and it said "liquid smoke". That may be why it was completely different.

I'm not surprised Salmonsmoker; I am never surprised by what I see on labels, just astounded that the manufacturers try to pull the wool of consumer's eyes.

Good job PZ. Smoked gouda is one of my favorites too.

Thanks fuzzy1; the Gouda is so good, I'm almost hesitant to try the cheddar for fear that it will not compare.
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 08:58:31 pm »
  • Top right: smoked corned beef sliced thin for sandwiches
  • Bottom left: nasty Swiss cheese (not really nasty, it is tasty but just not smoked  :-())
  • Bottom right: pecan smoked Gouda - interestingly, the cheese had reabsorbed all of the oily "sweat" beads that had formed and had a perfectly creamy texture.  Smoked cheese is likely to be one of our staples for a long time to come

Now working on the second of our two corned beef briskets (almost gone).  Had to open the next sealed package of Gouda; my sweetie insisted  ;)

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Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 07:38:32 am »
The Swiss is going to taste Nasty if your eating it 2-3 days after smoking it. The harder or should we say more dense the cheese. The longer it takes for the smoke to flavor to sink in and equal out. Most will recommend waiting 3-4 weeks minimum before tasting any of the harder cheeses. I usually go 2-3 months before I open any of my vac sealed cheeses.
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Offline pz

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 09:41:02 am »
Thanks Tenpoint5; after reading many of the smoked cheese posts, I thought that the softer the cheese, the quicker the permeation of the smoke and equilibration of the flavors.  Makes sense - the harder the cheese the longer it takes to equilibrate.
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Offline rveal23

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Re: First time cold smoking (cheese) experience
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 11:57:39 am »
First off, your cutting board is amazing PZ!!!!

After looking at your Cheese, this is something I'm totally going to try.

The quick trick of frozen water is a great idea to use since it looks as
though my BDS runs hot. 

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