Last Updated : Oct 23,2017
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As the name suggests, cheese that undergoes a special process of smoke curing, through which a yellowish brown outer 'skin' is produced is known as smoked cheese. Cold and hot smoking of cheese are two ways in which cheese can be smoked. While cold smoking takes a month to create smoked cheese, hot smoking partially or completely cooks the food by treating it at temperatures ranging from 100° to 190°F. Less expensive cheese are subject to another form of curing, more modern in nature that the other two. Here, the cheese is exposed to liquid smoke which adds a smoky flavour and colour to the cheese. The end product being strangely similar to the more traditional methods of smoking cheese. Applewood and Rauchkäse are original smoked cheeses while Gruyère, Gouda, Scamorza and Cheddar are made available in smoked varieties.
Chopped smoked cheese
Place the cheese slab on a chopping board and chop it into small pieces. The cheese can be finely or roughly chopped into big chunks as per the recipe requirement.
Grated smoked cheese
This requires grating the cheese slabs in a hand held grater. This grated cheese is fine in texture and is used for making baked dishes like au gratin or casseroles.
Shredded smoked cheese
Pass the cheese through a shredder and separate the thin slices into shreds with fingers. Alternatively, you may buy packaged shredded cheese, but remember the moisture content will be minimal making the shreds drier than when taken fresh from a wedge of this cheese.
Sliced smoked cheese
You may place the cheese in a slicer or slice the cheese into thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.
Smoked cheese cubes
Turn the block of cheese on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the cheese slices on top of each other and make a series of lengthwise slices, (½ inch slices for smaller cubes, 1 inch slices for larger cubes). Make a series of ½ inch or 1 inch crosswise cuts through the cheese and it will fall away into cubes.
Smoked cheese strips
Cut the cheese block into thin or thick strips as per the recipe requirement.
How to select
• Purchasing a wedge of Smoked cheese is more suitable than buying the pre-grated form as the latter retains the moisture content and freshness for longer.
• Always taste a small piece of the cheese before you buy it to ensure quality, flavour and freshness.
• In case you're unable to taste the cheese, test the wedge's colour. It should be even with no signs of cracking, excessive dryness, or moisture.
• A high quality smoked cheese will have a yellowish brown colour and smoked flavour with a mildly crunchy feeling.
• Please read both the manufacturing and expiry date details carefully before purchasing.
• Since this cheese has an edible, brown rind and a creamy, yellow interior, with a sharp, tangy, slightly salty flavour it can be had as is or grated over food for additional flavour.
• Soups and sauce recipes served with crackers are made even more flavourful with a generous sprinkling of smoked cheese.
• When making mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, etc., replace the cheese ingredient with any smoked cheese type of your choice.
• Smoked cheese can be added to omelettes, pizza, soufflés, au gratins, fondues, etc., adding a smoky sharpness with every bite.
• Keep it simple by introducing smoked cheese in between toasted wheat bread slices with refreshing cucumber and tomato slices.
How to store
• All cheeses, regardless of variety, should be well wrapped and kept in the warmest section of the refrigerator (The refrigerator door is often one of the warmest spots).
• As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh.
• Regardless of the type of milk used to create it, smoked cheese is a concentrated source of the nutrients naturally found in milk, including calcium.
• The smoked Cheese also contains a large amount of other essential nutrients such as phosphorous, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.
• It is a dense source of high quality protein.
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