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1st attempt at cold smoked cheese

hillbilly69

Newbie
25
10
Joined Apr 27, 2014
Good morning, everyone. Today I am attempting to smoke cheese for the first time. I am going to practice with a block of cheddar and Gouda. I have researched this process quite a but bit but have seen a lot of conflicting information. Seems that there is a consensus on using apple wood for the smoke but I also have available to me cherry, maple, peach, mesquite, hickory and pecan if one of those would be more suitable. Where I am confused is about the smoke time. I have seen that some smoke cheese as much as 6 hours, others as little as 3 hours. Also, the amount of time to allow the cheese to rest before eating confuses me somewhat. To those of you in the know I would appreciate some guidance in smoking times, resting and any other information you deem pertinent.

By the way, I am using the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment because I have such a large supply and variety of wood chips. My preference would obviously be the AMNPS but here in Mexico I have no access to pellets aside from buying from importers which is prohibitively expensive. I should also mention that I am 5,000 feet above sea level, if that is even relevant to cold smoking.

Thanks for any help you can offer and have a great day.
 
Last edited:

SmokinVOLfan

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Feb 27, 2018
Welcome to the world of cold smoking cheese! The amount of time you leave it in the smoke is a personal preference. If you like strong smoke you can leave it in for longer. I have found that 3-3 1/2 hours is perfect for me and my family. I let mine rest for at least a couple weeks preferably a month to kind of mellow out the smoke. Some people like to eat it right out of the smoker. Grab a bunch of cheap cheese blocks and play around with it and see what suites your tastes. I prefer apple wood because it pairs well with the cheese...not overpowering and good smoke flavor but I wouldn't hesitate to try out peach or cherry wood. Here is a post of some that I did last week.


Keep an eye on your temps. You don't want the chamber temp to get up above 80 or so. The cheese starts sweating and then will eventually melt if it gets too high. You can add frozen 2 liter bottles in there to keep the temps down if need be. Not sure what the weather is like in your area but just a couple pointers. Good luck!
 

Baconyoulikeapig

Fire Starter
37
29
Joined Oct 31, 2018
Any fruit wood is generally a good call for cheese. Softer cheese requires less smoke time but is all personal preference. I usually use apple or maple pellets in a smoke tube and have found that anything over 2.5 hours for Cheddar or Munster is too much smoke for my liking.

I recommend starting with lots of cheese blocks and pulling some off in half hour increments starting at 1.5 hours to find the right smoke for your tastes. Remember let it rest for a few weeks vacuum sealed in the fridge to allow the smoke to work its way evenly throughout. There is no set time for this however if you eat it right away all the smoke flavor is going to be strongest on the outer edges of the cheese and it might taste like licking an ashtray.
 

5GRILLZNTN

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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746
Joined Sep 12, 2018
Both Smokin, and Bacon gave you solid advice. Good luck!

DAve
 

thirdeye

Smoking Fanatic
347
308
Joined Dec 1, 2019
I find that pellets produce too much smoke for cheese under most situations, so with your set-up add chips in small amounts. You want to keep the smoke very light. And you want a lot of draft so the smoke can flow though freely. I use one or two blocks as my sample pieces so after an hour, make a thin slice and discard it, take a second slice and sample it for smokiness. Repeat this until your cheese is to your liking. If at any time during the smoking if you can feel oils on the surface, remove the cheese to your refrigerator for 30 minutes, then cycle it back into the smoker. If the next day, your cheese is not as smokey as you want, you can give it an hour or two of additional smoke.

I rest my cheese on the counter for 2 or 3 hours, then move to the refrigerator uncovered so it can chill. If you wrap it too early you can risk condensation. Once it's chilled, you can vacuum seal. Properly smoked cheese should be edible throughout the process and can be enjoyed the next day, however allow at least 4 or 5 days of mellowing. The flavor will continue to mellow over time.

At the end of this VIDEO you can see how much smoke I'm using. This VIDEO2 shows a close-up of my sawdust generator and another visual of light smoke. This VIDEO3 has one row of dust burning. My smoking times can be up to 6 or 7 hours with one row of sawdust burning, and maybe 4 hours with two rows burning. Just let your taste buds be your guide.
 

Norwester55

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
225
186
Joined Jun 1, 2018
Pecan is my go to for cheese and I smoke for 3 1/2-4 hrs. If you see any oils on your cheese don't wipe it off, let it reabsorb.
 

bbqbrett

Master of the Pit
1,105
170
Joined Jan 17, 2013
Haven't smoked Gouda yet but have done a lot of cheddar. Actually like mine with hickory smoke. If you like the flavor of it on other things don't be afraid to give it a try.
 

crazymoon

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,985
1,531
Joined Aug 24, 2014
HB69, I'm late to the party but it is personal prefrence as others have said. I like 4 hours with apple,just keep your temp low so you don't get melt out!
 

hillbilly69

Newbie
25
10
Joined Apr 27, 2014
Better late than never, crazymoon. Thanks for the input and suggestion. Very much appreciated.
 

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