You wonder how?
Here we will tell you how you can easily transform into a magician in your own house and turn a regular $15 of cheese into a gourmet $50 of cheese with just one simple trick.
That trick is smoking cheese in an electric smoker.
Smoked cheese is a food that you can add to anything, from your breakfast to your midnight snack. You can add it to your omelet or scrambled eggs, you can eat it in your sandwiches or shredded it in a lettuce salad, and you can put it on crackers, on nachos or serve it melted as a chips dip.
Mouthwatering, isn’t it? So, how do we do it?
Well, that is the magic we were talking about. Regular cheese is a delicious food, but when you smoke it, it becomes one of the most beloved and best-tasting food in the world. In addition to that, it also becomes one of the priciest foods on the store shelves. If you do not believe us, just check it out at your local supermarket and you will see. So, if you want to dine as a king, you need a smoked cheese on your table. To do that, we have to undergo a special process, that is really simple, if you, as we said previously, own an electric smoker.
- Smoking can be done with, as we said, any kind of a cheese, as long as the temperature is kept cold enough. The main reason of this is a melting point of butterfat, which melts at cows body temperature, 98.6F. Actually, cheese can starts melting at a mid 60’s F temperatures, and since we do not want to eat cheese without its main nutrient, we wont to preserve the fat by keeping the smoking process as cool as possible.
- So, when you’ve bought your cheese, it is time for us to start our work. You will need to cut your cheese into blocks. The size of the blocks can be a topic for debate, but one thing has been proven: the larger the sizes are, it takes longer time for the smoke flavor to penetrate through the cheese. It would be the best if you use pieces that are not bigger than are on an inch (2.54 cm) thick and 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) wide. Remember: the smaller the pieces are, the better it may turn out because, with a small piece, you can get two sides of an extra smoke layer on every block of your cheese.
- Before putting the cheese on to a rack and into your smoker, the good advice is to keep it at a room temperature for a while, but not longer than few hours. This will help the cheese to develop some sort of a very thin form of skin on its upper layers, that will be useful when you smoke it because it will help to protect the cheese from premature melting once you put it in the smoker.
- Arrange your cheese on a top grate of your smoker, with about one inch of a space between the pieces to allow the smoke to come through and circulate. You could put the cheese just on the racks, but you can also use the cold smoke plate or a foil boat if you have any concerns that your cheese may melt and make a mess in your smoker. If your cheese is in foil boat or smoke plate, you can stand up your cheese blocks and make the circulation of a smoke even better by making the extra room for more cheese to be added to the process.
- In the process of smoking, you will need a good wood. The best one and the most used ones are hickory, oak, and pecan, but you can use any of the nut woods or the hard fruit wood in the process as well. Since you will be doing the cold smoking, you just need the smoke, not the high temperature, so using the sawdust pellets or chips is also an option. We recommend you to fill your wood boy with a cup of pellets or chips. You may soak the wood in the water for an hour before using it because that will help you generate more and better smoke in a no time.
- The process of smoking may vary because of the type of an electric smoker you own. With some of them, you will have to use ice tray or ice in a thin, to help the temperature in the smoker not to get to high. You will load your smoker in a way that you will put the ice tray on the lowest rack, right over the heating element. The other smokers may come with the optional attachment for cold smoking, and that would make the whole process even easier.
- When you arrange your smoker, by putting the cheese on the top and optional ice on the bottom of racks, you are ready to start smoking. After turning on your smoker, you can set the temperature to 225F. It really does not matter which temperature you will choose because you will not be heating the cooking chamber and you want just the smoke. So, after the 15 minutes, turn in off, because the stream of a steady smoke will appear right about then and it will be used for actual smoking. Do not leave your smoker on for more than 20 minutes, because the temperature may damage your smoker and even create the safety hazard.
- After turning the smoker off, let it settle for 45 minutes to an hour. The cheese inside will be getting the smoke flavor. Depending on how much smoke flavor you want, which smoker do you use and what type of a wood are you using, you can either do one or two more cycles of smoking, using the exact same time for the process.
- When the smoking is done and the cheese is ready to be taken out, the best thing to do is to wrap it in a plastic wrap or put it in a ziplock bag and put it in your refrigerator. Some of us can not face the temptation, so they will try their smoked cheese right away, but for the best results, it is better to allow it to spend some time in the refrigerator for all the flavors to settle in. The longer you wait to taste the cheese, it will be more delicious. The usual time is around ten days, but the best results are when you leave your cheese in the refrigerator for the complete month.
So, voila, now you have your smoked cheese ready for any occasion. You can serve it to your friends and you can make so many excellent dishes with it.
If you want to impress your friends with a cheap and easy to make gourmet dish, then the smoked cheese is the best thing to serve them. With our recipe, you will get your know how that you will be able to use in future. You just need an hour or two of your free time, a block of any cheese and an electric smoker and you are ready for a delicious adventure in your own home.