Author Topic: First batch of cheese for the season  (Read 1073 times)

SuperDave

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First batch of cheese for the season
« on: October 28, 2016, 11:30:06 AM »
I bought a new smoking gadget called an A-Maze-N smoke maker. Used it for the first time on my cheese smoke today. With ice, I actually saw a 5 degree drop in ambient box temp. Great for cold smoking situations. As a test run, I only did 8 pounds today, 4 of medium cheddar and 4 of Colby.




Box temp was 63 degrees when I turned it on this morning. 1.6 hours later and sitting at 58. ::)


Now time to wait for cheese to mellow.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 11:31:40 AM by SuperDave »

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NDKoze

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2016, 12:48:13 PM »
That looks like it will be a nice starter batch for the year. ;)

One suggestion, though. Depending on how long you smoke and how much your ice melts, I would recommend covering your ice to prevent the melting ice from increasing the humidity in the smoker which can lead to condensation which is very bad for smoking cheese.

If I remember right, you don't smoke your cheese for very long, so maybe your ice won't really get a chance to melt very much and might be a problem. But, for most cheese smokers, I would recommend covering your ice if in trays or use frozen water bottles.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished product and the taste test.
Gregg - Fargo, ND
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BedouinBob

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2016, 12:50:13 PM »
Good point Greg. I didn't do that on mine. I think it turned out OK but I agree it would be better to keep humidity down.
Bob - Colorado Springs
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SuperDave

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 01:58:27 PM »
With a temperature drop in my box during the smoke there was no condensation.  In fact, the cheese was dry and cold to the touch after 2 hours of smoking.  The A-Maze-N not raising the box temp anywhere near the danger zone helped me feel comfortable smoking longer than I did when I used the SI element as a heat source.

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NDKoze

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 04:57:02 PM »
The A-MAZE-N Smoker (or one of its imitators or a DIY option) is pretty much a requirement for smoking cheese.

I don't use my A-MAZE-N that much. But, when I do it is the best tool for the job.
Gregg - Fargo, ND
Smokin-It #3 that has now replaced the Masterbuilt XL and 10+ Year-Old Big Chief. I also have a Weber Genesis Gas Grill, Weber Little Smokey at home and a Chargriller Deluxe (stick burner) and Camp Chef Three Burner Stove with Grill/Griddle out at the lake place.

SuperDave

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 07:36:07 PM »
Taste testing has begun.  It's getting close to being there.



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BedouinBob

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 07:49:31 PM »
Hey Dave, how much wood did you use. I am still working that out but I didn't use the Am-a-zin smoker for mine.
Bob - Colorado Springs
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SuperDave

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2016, 09:28:27 PM »
Bob, last year when I was using the SI directly, I had good results with 1.0 to 1.5 ounces of wood.

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BedouinBob

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 09:34:22 AM »
Do you use the same amount in the A-Maz-n?
Bob - Colorado Springs
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SuperDave

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 10:10:30 AM »
Do you use the same amount in the A-Maz-n?
No, my first try with the A-Maze-N was to fill one of the rows in the maze and just went by time.  This first batch was 2 hours of continuous smoke.  I can make a time adjustment for the next smoke after I see how much more the cheese mellows in the next week or two.  After one week, it tastes pretty good but just a little strong yet.  If it mellows a little more over the next week or two I'll stick to the 2 hour time with the A-Maze-N. 

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NDKoze

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2016, 11:09:39 AM »
I usually do 2-5 hours and wait a minimum of 2 weeks before testing the first time. I find that 4 hours of smoke and 4 weeks of rest is my sweet spot.

However, the level of desired cheese smoke is a VERY subjective thing that you will have to try out for yourself.

What several people do and I would suggest is to cut some smaller chunks of cheese that can be used for an experiment, start smoking, and then take 2+ pieces out at 1 hour, then a couple more at 2 hours, 3 hours, and then 4 hours. Label them accordingly and then start taste testing them at 2 weeks, and then depending on how many pieces per hour of smoke you took out, do a taste test every few weeks and compare. This will help you determine the level of smoke you prefer. I have seen this suggested on a couple of other sites and the logic makes sense to me.

If I need my cheese in a relatively short time (1-2 weeks) I only smoke for 1-2 hours. But, if I am able/willing to let the cheese rest in my fridge, I think I get a deeper more flavorful smoke from a 3-4 hour smoke that is able to rest for 1-2 (2+ months if you can) months or more. I have some cheese in my fridge right now from last Fall that tastes awesome! I am going to try to keep a couple of packages until next fall and let it age even further.

Note - The cheese that I age are the hard cheeses like cheddar, gouda, jarlsburg, etc. On the other hand, soft cheeses like Mozzarella, String Cheese, etc. should be smoked for a shorter time (1-2 hours) and consumed within 1-2 months.

These are my 2 anyhow. :)
Gregg - Fargo, ND
Smokin-It #3 that has now replaced the Masterbuilt XL and 10+ Year-Old Big Chief. I also have a Weber Genesis Gas Grill, Weber Little Smokey at home and a Chargriller Deluxe (stick burner) and Camp Chef Three Burner Stove with Grill/Griddle out at the lake place.

DivotMaker

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2016, 09:55:48 PM »
Great advice, Gregg!  Sounds like you have cheese pretty much "dialed in!"
Tony from NW Arkansas
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SuperDave

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 05:31:19 PM »
Temps were in the 30's here today so it seemed like a great time to do up another batch.



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DivotMaker

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Re: First batch of cheese for the season
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 08:30:41 PM »
Nice!  Take advantage of those cool days when you can!
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!