My first attempt at cheese. I will not say it was a rousing success but for the temperatures we have here to deal with, and my lazy attitude about building a heat exchanger, it went better than expected.
Lets start with the cheeses as it makes a difference. AND that is never so obvious as in the forth comming pictures. I went from really dense to medium dense in a a nice progression.
I stayed with one manufacturer so the cheese would be of the same quality throughout.
I have more cheese sitting in the project reefer but this was a first attempt and I didn't want to waste it all if I really screwed up. Besides I wasn't even sure it was cold enough to do this.
I believe I even have them in the proper progression as to relative density.
For the smoke I chose the new AMAZIN adjustable oval tube aux. smoke generator in the MES40 w/ Q-mats. Thinking on it now, I had just purchased some apple dust to use in a tray and completely forgot. I went with the oval because it has show to produce copious amounts of smoke while requiring very very little air, it makes its own cirrculation. LOL
This week is probably the last possibility I will get to attempt cheese for another year, so I pounced in there as usual at the last minute making a command decission, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!
Weather day time, upper 60's but at night high 30's, It was chilly last night so I charged up that hill!
I had the cheese sitting in the reefer, out the wrappers and cut hoping for a chance, three days ago was hoping for a good cold front, had prepared the cheese for smoking even bringing to room temperature only to put it back in the reefer. The reefer did do a little dehydration but so I am guessing you need to have a better handle on when to prepare than I did.
From left to right; Colby, extra sharp, sharp, and medium. LOL... I had been cussing you guys from the Great NM Territories for having this cheese I always se you using. Not too much cheese produced around here. We eat ice cream I guess. Then I find out that Walmart and NOT Sams is a national distributor, boy did I have egg on my face. Guys from the GNWT, I appoligize!
I waited to the most cherry time to put the cheese on. 2 AM. I had started up the oval and it was really pouring out that smoke!
No heat, no power to the unit ( Thanks a load to a friend for teaching me, that which would have no doubt bit me in the butt).
I had to open the door and allow a minute for all that old white smoke out so I could take a picture! I have seen river fog that thick but not too many times. AND let me say before someone jumps me, the vent was in the full open position. That way it allowed both the heat generated and the smoke out. Of course it also made more fresh air available to generate more heat...LOL
An Hour later still smoking, box is at 64 degrees...... I am starting to get a little antsy. Not the Maverick remote, I am NOT going to turn the smoker on, even for the light! <Chuckles>
I can't see any change in color, this is three hours into the smoke and the Maverick went off. I had it set at 70 chamber temp. I jumped up, having visions of a smoker with a soft cheese center and ran out, damn it was chilly! Throw open the door A huge cloud of smoke envelopes me, eyes water knees chatter, and as the smoke clears I still have cheese. BUT no noticable color change. The chamber immediately cools down to 60 again. The tube has maybe an hour and a half possibly 2 left in pellets, I didn't intend to smoke a lot. Besides Its cold and I gotta pee!
I close it up, and go inside and go to bed. I knew it would not get that hot again, I thought that the little smoke would be maybe about right, you know, less color but a small delicate flavor.
LOL... BTW note those Q-Mats they are the berries! Also note the the lazy cheese. Its no longer straight and tall but (especially the colby), squating down like its carrying a have load.
It is all very well oiled which I asume is NOT a good thing and means that it was or was very near a critical moment it its journey. I wiped the oil off.
I also to my surprize I had some cheese flaking. I had not seen or anticipated this. Yes there was some skin cracking. I assume to the reefer dehydration. I broke off a flake and popped it in my mouth, OMG its an ashtray! Like jerky and smoked nuts, I am guessing it has to mellow some before packaging.
Lets see if I can put two next to each other.
So it did sneak that color in there. Guessing its a temperature thingie like everything else 100 to 140 is magic.
The medium cheese, some surface cracking probably for the two day dehydration in the reefer.
The sharp cheese, it did some flaking, really strange IMHO. It may have been a manufacturing FUBAR also.
The extra sharp No sagging, no cracks or flakes, took a nice color of course remember it is the most dense. And it is dense.
The colby cheese just sagged and squated down.
All cheeses have a nice color even if they smell like an ashtray.
Notes to self.
Next time a shorter smoke will cure most of the problems I had here.
Do not unwrap and cut untill ready to put on the smoker
Allow to come to room temp in the wrapper.
Needed to be colder tha 38 outside or attempt a cracked door smoke. I think with the new oval it is well within the realm of possibilities.
Remember that this one was done in a semi-white smoke.
Need to try the dust vice pellets.
Anything I missed please let me know. I am guess a few days or longer breathing then I will wrap.
I am wondering though. if I vacuumed now would it not give a great penetration? Wound the ashtray not mellow in package abeit slower? Lots of questions still to know.\.
Thanks for looking in, thanks to Mr. Tom, and to our smoking Marine bauchjw. Thanks for helping enough so I could try it for myself and not waste the cheese.