No pictures and haven't updated, but I'll post it so you can ask questions and we can improve it.
You can cold smoke just about any cheese, my favorites are cheddar and mozzarella (or varieties close to this). In order to effectively smoke cheese it needs to be done at low temperatures. Most cheeses will start to change texture between 120 and 140 degrees. However it does not hurt the cheese to smoke at higher temperatures, you just need to be aware that it may melt and will not have the same texture once it cools.
The following guidelines will work for cold smoking cheese in a Cookshack Smoker Oven:
- Cut cheese into chucks that are not bigger than 3" thick. The larger the pieces the longer and harder it is to get the smoke flavor through the cheese.
- You can wrap the cheese in cheese cloth, however I don't find any real advantage to this.
- Remove the bottom grill of your smoker and replace with a Cookshack Cold Smoke Baffle.
- Place pan of ice on top of baffle, the more ice the less problems you will have with the temperature rising above 120 degrees.
- Place cheese on grills in smoker.
- Wood: I recommend using sawdust pellets or chips for cold smoking. They will burn quicker, giving you more smoke faster, keeping the oven from getting hot. I personally like to use hickory or pecan for smoking cheese, however any of the hard fruit of nut woods will work. I recommend using about a cup of pellets or chips. If you are using chunks of wood, I recommend about 4 oz.
- Put the wood in the wood box and close the door.
- If you have a polder type thermometer or a meat thermometer drop it down the vent hole, so you can keep an idea on the temperature of the cooking chamber. We don't want it to get above 140 degrees.
- Turn on your smoker and set the temperature to 225 degrees. It doesn't really matter what temperature you set the smoker at as you will not be heating up the cooking chamber.
- Leave the smoker on for 15 to 20 minutes. You should see a steady stream of smoke coming out of the smoker around 12 to 15 minutes into the cycle. As soon as this happens turn the unit off. Do not leave the unit on for more than 25 minutes as if can damage your smoker and create a safety hazard.
- After turning the smoker off, let it set for 1 hour. At the end of the hour check the cheese to see if it has enough smoke flavor. If not repeat steps 9 and 10. If you repeat steps 9 and 10 more than twice keep a close eye on the temperature of the cooking chamber. If it gets too hot, open the door and remove the cheese, allow the unit to cool and then start smoking again...
Here are some ideas for smoked cheese...
Smoked cheddar is great on crackers, sandwiches or just about anything you like cheese with. Smoked mozzarella is great on pizza and for bresheta (sp). Smoked pepper jack is good on crackers and to grate and stuff pork tenderloins with. I also like it on nacho's. While it is a little tricky to smoke, Velveeta is great smoked and used for dips.
I've got to add details about how to smoke without a cold smoke baffle, such as the "box" method we've discussed and Cadillac talks about.
Another option is to start the smoker, let the smoke start coming out, THEN put the cheese in and turn the smoker off. This method is a little tricky because you'll loose some smoke when you open the door, but it works and you loose some of that initial smoke "bitterness"