Applewood Smoked Cheese
Its fall, cool weather is here and for me that means its time to smoke some cheese!
I love home smoked cheese. It has a much more delicate smoke flavor than the stuff in stores that's NOT NATURALLY smoked.
Applewood is definitely my favorite smoke wood for cheese.
This time I started with: Three types of Cheddar, Baby Swiss, Regular Swiss, Provolone and a block of Danish Blue. I cut it into 1/2 lb blocks which seems to work well for good smoke penetration, easy packaging and slicing.
I rubbed the cheddar & half the provolone with a good quality sweet paprika. I also coated one of the blocks of swiss with carraway seeds I call this smoked swiss & Rye). It sat for two hours on wire racks to dry and form a bit of a crust before smoking.
I waited for a cool day so I can keep the pit below 90° or else the cheese starts to sweat and gets oily. I also make sure to keep a light, almost blueish colored smoke going. Heavy white smoke = nasty creosote taste I suspect this isn't an issue with a pellet smoker).
I just use 6 or 7 lit briquettes with a few extra in the chimney in case I need to add more) with a chunk of applewood or foil packs of applewood pellets changing as needed.
How long I smoke depends on the ambient & pit temp. Cooler = longer. This time it spent about 3 hours in the smoker. around 70 - 80°.
The nose is the best tool for checking; Pick up a block and give it a smell.
After Smoking I put it back on wire racks to cool back down before wrapping or vac-sealing. The cheese gets even better and more mellow after about a week.