First Timer Cold Smoking Cheese

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by gavin16, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Good Day Everyone!

    Saturday looks to be a great weekend (50 degrees!) out here in northwest Kansas, so I may try to take advantage of it before the blizzard moving in Sunday.  I'v been wanting to try cold smoking cheese for a long time, however i could never get good airflow in my old analog MES 30 or my charcoal vertical offset smoker (maybe it was too big for my AMNPS??).  Now I have a MES 40 2.5 gen that has appeared to have great airflow for my AMNPS after a few cooks.  


    Above are my cheeses.  I may add gouda and muenster cheeses as well.

    I have read around a little bit on some tutorials on here on smoking.  I believe the softer cheeses I have to refrigerate to keep, and the cheddars I can keep in the pantry at room temperature when done?  I have a new vacuum sealer as well to properly store the finished products.  My plan is to get cooking sometime in the morning. If the smoke flows well I'll let them go until they turn a slight color on them.. Then I'll set out and pat dry.  Afterwards sealing up.  

    That is the plan at least.... Hopefully there will be more pics to come! 
     
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If the airflow and smoke flow slow down or stop...  turn the heating element on for a minute or three to get the draft going again....  once the draft is up and running, you can turn the element off...

    Warm your cheese to room temp before adding smoke...  moisture will condensate and collect on the cheese...  
     
    foamheart likes this.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good advise Mr. Dave, Thank you.
     
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You only need to smoke most cheeses for between 2-4 hours and so you can smoke both hard and soft cheeses without a problem providing you keep the smoker fairly cool. I regularly smoke soft mozzarella. Other soft cheeses, like brie or camembert are already covered in a mold and so are not a problem - you actually need to prick the surfaces with a toothpick to let the smoke penetrate to the cheese inside. 

    When you remove the cheeses from the smoker it is important to leave them to dry in the fridge for several hours before packing as the smoking will deposit moisture on the outside. If you do not it can lead to mold forming on the inside of the pack over time.

    I always store my cheese in the fridge however it really depends on the cheese. A traditional aged cheddar would be fine matured at room temperature but some of the mass produced cheddars and other softer cheeses are better kept chilled.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  5. pabstman80

    pabstman80 Newbie

    Pa
    I'm looking forward to seeing your results. I am getting ready to do my first round of cheese also. What type of wood are you planing to use?
     
  6. muralboy

    muralboy Smoking Fanatic

    Good luck. Don't forget to let them sit overnight in the fridge before sealing. Let mellow for a few weeks prior to digging in - you'll be happy you did.
     
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looking forward to seeing the finish!!

    Good luck!

    Al
     
  8. I will be paying close attention to it at the beginning.  My AMNPS has a tough time staying lit at first, and after some guidance from Bear I leave it on the bottom rack the whole time now.  Thanks for the tip! I have the cheese laying out right now, I did not think of that.[​IMG]
    Ahh I forgot to mention! I just received my nice array of pellets from Todd a couple weeks ago.  I think I am going to use a pecan/cherry/apple mix! 
    I need to prick all of the cheeses or are you referring to the brie and camembert? One thing I am thinking is putting them in baggies with the seals open.  I can them put them in the fridge over night and seal up tomorrow.  I was hoping the cheddars I could leave in the cabinets at room temp but that was a concern of mine since it is a mass produced cheese.  I do have room in the fridge if I can't.  

    Thanks all for the comments and tips!! I promise there are picks coming! I just got a bit of um..... late start to the day. Haha.  Pulling out the MES and getting everything going right now!
     
  9. First off, I'd just like to say how freaking excited I am that this window took me no more than 5 MINUTES to CLEAN!!! After spending 30 minutes trying to clean it one day with some windex type stuff, I scrapped that... Read around on the forums here, and went to town.  

    BEFORE


    All you need - Spray bottle, sponge/scrubber (2 sided deal), bowl of hot soapy water, bowl of hot clean water, and paper towels/cloth.  Use the spray bottle with vinegar to spritz the window and then use the scrubber side of the sponge to knock the tough stuff out.  Then rinse the sponge and use the spongey side to wipe down and clean up the window.  SO EASY!!! 

    AFTER


    HOW NEAT IS THAT?!?![​IMG]

    Ok Ok maybe I could've provided a little better view behind the curtain than my stone age Char-Broil grill (which also has a window!) hehe...

    NOW then.. It's on to business!! Beautiful day in northwest Kansas!  Shame it has to get cold again tomorrow! 



    Above is my pre light positioning.  Notice I have toothpicks in to mark my mozzarella and mild cheddars.  

    12:20 pm MST - Lit the AMNPS with pecan/cherry/apple

    12:35 pm MST - Blew out AMNPS, and placed in smoker.  

    It took me a little extra time with the AMNPS to make sure it was lit.  Especially with the tougher to burn wood of cherry.  I'll closer monitor it for the first half hour - hour to see what it does.  So far it is smoking nicely!  I did also pull out the Drip pan at the bottom - and the chip loader half way on the MES
     
  10. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You only need to prick the cheeses that have the white mold rind (e.g. brie ad camembert. Once they have been smoked the holes will grow over again. Do not bother to try smoking any wax covered cheeses - unless you remove the wax first.

    Try some at room temperature and some in the fridge. You will see if they start to grow inside the pack. How long do you think it will last anyway once it has finished maturing? [​IMG]. Some on here say that they have had their smoked cheese maturing for decades in the pantry - but in our house they barely last a month or so before I need to make more.
     
  11. Well I was hoping to keep most of it around for at least a couple weeks or a month before I tried it.. Then again I realized the Super Bowl is next week... Haha! I have a couple small chunks leftover from cooking few weeks ago that I placed in there to be my taste testers.  If this goes good next time I will invest in some better cheeses.  Those cheeses will be stored for a very long time... As possible.  

    It's about 70 degrees in my MES.  I'm kinda thinking I did this backwards... Should've cooked some meat today and smoked cheese in the frigid blizzard tomorrow! Ha
     


  12. There ya have it.  Smoked for about 3 hours, pulled it around 3:45 pm MST.  Now they are sitting in their freezer bags (unsealed) and in the fridge overnight.  Tomorrow we shall seal them up!  I left the sharp cheddars sitting out in their bags.  
     
  13. Not sure I like the idea of putting the cheese in the fridge overnight.. As it now has all sorts of condensation inside and out of the bags.  I have set all the cheeses out and they'll have to go back to room temp and hopefully dry before I can seal.  The cheddars that I left out all night I was able to seal up this morning.  Next time I think I will just wipe them down with a paper towel and leave set for a while.. then seal.  There shouldn't be much moisture n my smoker when cold smoking anyways at 70 degrees and no water pans in the cooker.  

    Is it ok for the cheese to smell like a charred smoke?  Hopefully I didn't ruin all this cheese.. Maybe it just needs time to set in.. [​IMG]
     
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I dry the surface of the cheese and let warm to room temp....   wrap in saran and vac pack....   Seems the saran fits very tight to the cheese... then the vacuum tightens it more...   several chunks go into the same bag and that makes them easier to remove also....

    Wash your hands good or use gloves when wrapping the cheese...  that will help to reduce the bacteria added to the surface....
     
  15. I did not think about saran wrap.  I will see if I have any and use it on the rest of the cheeses.  Unfortunately I put each thing of cheese in its own quart bag... So I test using at different periods in time when I use.  The quart bag is too big but the smallest I could find, next time I will put 2 in each. The cheese I already sealed seemed pretty airtight though when vacuumed.  

    Thanks for the advice Dave! 
     
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dave is an untold wealth of knowledge.......
     
  17. And I am very thankful for his as well as everyone's advice!! I managed to finally get everything vac sealed this afternoon after putting a fan on the cheese.  Unfortunately I think I got some moisture in my cheddars which I left out over night and bagged early this morning.... If I use it within a month or less it won't be large issue I hope.  It's also stored in the fridge.  

    My only concern right now is that the charred smoke smell I sense right now doesn't carry over into the taste.... I have some pieces I left in a baggie to try next week.  Unless that is what it is suppose to smell/taste like? 
     
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Let the cheese sit as long as you can so you won't be disappointed....
     
  19. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    See what I mean! Wisdom plain and simple.
     
  20. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There will always be some moisture in the cheddar - or it would be cheese powder. What you are trying to avoid is obvious moisture that is on the surface. Vac packing to a high vacuum will also sometimes bring moisture to the surface  - a bit like squeezing a damp sponge. If you do get mold growing inside the packaging it will be obvious and, as Dave said, wash your hands well and wear gloves when handling the cheese to avoid cross contaminating it with bacteria and mold spores as much as possible.

    Do not worry about the smell at this stage - it probably smells like you have just wiped out an ashtray with it. It will take 3 or 4 weeks to fully mellow but if you are impatient you could try a piece after 2 weeks - but don't be tempted before that. With smoked cheese it is the time that works the magic [​IMG]  
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016

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