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Cold-Smoking Cheese


Smoked cheeses are a favorite of mine, in no small part because it can make a "mediocre" cheese into something quite good, and with the right amount of smoke make a good cheese outstanding. As far as I know any cheese from semi-soft to very hard can be cold-smoked. Although I've never tried it, I would imagine that even fresh curd cheeses like ricotta would pick up the flavor if placed in a shallow bowl in the smoker. One exception may be the blues because I wouldn't want to risk messing with the taste of my favorite cheese. But then again you never know....


The easiest way to get the smoke in there is to toss in some liquid smoke when the curds have drained, but true cold-smoking is the way to go to get the best flavor and coloration.


What is cold smoking?


Exactly what it says. It's a technique (actually several techniques) that create smoke with very little heat so temperature sensitive foods can be smoked without "cooking" them. In the case of cheeses, you need a very low (i.e. below 80 deg. F) air temperature around the cheese to keep the butterfat from coming to the surface or worse yet, melting the cheese. Many other foods like fish and meats can be cold smoked prior to cooking.


I've summerized how I cold-smoke cheese below. However there are excellent resources on the web, some of which I've listed in the sidebar.



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