How To Build A Cold Smoker For Cheese

A cold smoker is designed to impart flavor on cheese without cooking it. It is typically used for smoking a variety of meats, fish, and cheeses. People will often use a cold smoker to treat their cheeses in the same way that hot smoked cheese is treated.

Cold smoking with a cold smoker for cheese is a slow process and it may take several hours or even days to achieve the desired result. Some people prefer a cold smoker to hot smoking, because the cheeses do not require cooking. While cold smoking is traditionally done using wood, there are several other ways that you can use a cold smoker to impart flavor on your cheese. A Cold Smoker for Cheese is needed if you want a high quality smoking experience without causing the cheese to overcook. But “how to build a cold smoker for cheese” this article will show you how to make it.

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What are the necessary materials and tools to build a cold smoker for cheese?

  • Building a cold smoker for cheese will require a dehydrator and some wood chips.
  • Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and zip ties, can be used to cover your wood chips when they are not in use.
  • An aquarium pump is needed to circulate air throughout the system.
  • A fan can be used to blow air through the system but the hard work of building is worth it!
  • A thermometer or hygrometer will allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the cheese on a consistent basis and allow you to adjust it as necessary based on your needs. One inch or less in thickness is recommended.
  • Drip pan that can be placed inside the smoker to catch any juices.
  • A smoke generator that can feed the smoker with wood chips.
  • Any type of food dehydrator will work and it should not cost more than $50 to build a low-cost cold smoker.

How to build a cold smoker for cheese?

Building a cold smoker for cheese is easier than you may think but it does require some time and consideration. There are many ways to build a cold smoker, so this article only offers one example of how to create one from scratch. Other materials will allow you to create other systems as long as they satisfy these key features: temperature control, air flow control and smoke generation.

 

If you have a dehydrator, you should already have all the materials required to create a cold smoker along with a hygrometer and thermometer.

If you do not yet have your desired materials or tools, then you can use what you already have. The following is just one example of starting with the right materials to build a cold smoker for cheese.

  • Step 1: Prep your work space and gather your tools

If you are starting with just one material then some organization is required upon completion. Your work area should be organized according to how it will be used and rearranged as needed throughout the duration of the project.

  • Step 2: Design and draw your cold smoker

If you already have a toy or commercial dehydrator that you intend to convert, then you should save time on your design by adding small pieces of tape to the side of the unit. This will make it easier to identify where to drill holes when you are ready. In these situations, measure twice and cut once as mistakes will result in having to start over.

This schematic shows the general layout of a cold smoker for making cheese. It includes air input at the bottom, vapor output at the top and cheese in between.

The air comes into the bottom chamber from a fan which is ducted through a tube to a squirrel cage blower (the big green piece). The blower blows the air through a series of small pieces of tubing on an electrified wire. The tubing is attached to a stainless steel plate with holes drilled in it which is placed on top of the cheese. The air flows down and around the cheese, which helps create a consistent flow pattern as well as circulating humidity levels throughout the environment.

  • Step 3: Gather your materials

Your materials depend on how you intend to build your cold smoker. You will need some type of temperature control. This can be a thermostat or hygrometer depending on what you already have available to you. A small box of some type is also required along with wood chips and an aquarium pump.

  • Step 4: Drill your holes

Holes vary depending on the size of the box you will be using. Twenty-six holes are used in this example to help promote airflow as well as circulation within the box.

  • Step 5: Create a false bottom

This step is optional but is intended to make sure that more smoke goes onto and around the cheese instead of just straight up into the air.

  • Step 6: Attach your fan and build your duct work

A fan with some sort of ducting will provide an air supply which will be required if you have not purchased a squirrel cage blower. Building ductwork can be tricky depending on how much time and energy you want to put into it.

  • Step 7: Install a thermometer and ductwork

You should always check the temperature of your smoker at least once to verify that it is within your desired range. A thermometer will allow you to do this instantaneously without having to monitor the internal temperature of the cheese which can prove dangerous.

  • Step 8: Install a drip pan

A drip pan can be used to catch any juices that fall from the cheese during smoking.

  • Step 9: Install your wood chips in your smoker

Wood chips can be used to help generate smoke, which can be collected at the top of the chamber and used to flavor other items.

  • Step 10: Run some test smoke!

You should always test smoke the materials you are using the first time to ensure they will work before smoking anything that requires a high temperature. Cheese cannot handle high temperatures and could easily burn if it gets above one hundred fifty degrees (F) so test it out before BBQing up your favorite burger on cheese.

  • Step 11: Enjoy your cold smoker!

Now that you have designed and constructed your cold smoker, it is time to use it. It will help to seal any cheese that you plan on smoking and can be used in the future to store cheese as-is or after taking a mold.

How to fill and smoke your cold smoker with cheese?

You can fill cold smoker with cheese (cannellini beans), then smoke it for a couple of hours to take out the flavors and smells.

You must make sure you fill up about a quarter of the box with beans, leaving a few inches of headspace. Then you will need to put around two inches of water in the bottom half of the box. Place some holes in the side so they are not completely sealed, just so them to drain correctly. You can also place your smoke generator in it, but I prefer to create my own smoke generator and not use store-bought ones.

You can also add cheese to your cold smoker as well, but I usually just leave it alone. You can also make a few vacuum bags of your favorite cheese, put them on the lid, and when they are done smoking you just throw the bags away. It’s a great way to get smoke into your fridge without worrying about losing valuable cheeses by putting them anywhere else. You can also use this same method with eggs or even jerky.

The benefits of using a cold smoker for cheese making?

Cold smoking is a cheap process and you do not need to use much electricity or propane to get smoking for your cheese. Cold smokers don’t require very much care and maintenance, so you can have them prepped up for your next batch of cheese. Cold smoke also allows you to easily store the smoked cheese in your refrigerator by making vacuum bags, which is a great way to preserve any cheese rinds that would otherwise get moldy or stale.

You can also create cold smoker with any metal box and most expensive materials are the thermometer and blower. For the airflow, I attached two simple hoses (1/2”) but you could use ducting if desired. You can also put this in a regular refrigerator if you like.

What can you make on a cold smoker for cheese?

You can smoke your own cheese and anything else you want, so here are some ideas of what you can make on a cold smoker.

Smoked cheese: You can smoke your own cheeses. Burgers, nachos, cold cuts, and even pizza are all great things to try on a cold smoker.

Cheese rinds: You can use these to make some great snacks, especially if you dry them into jerky strips. You can also add them to popcorn for an extra kick to popcorn or even use them in place of cinnamon or other spices.

Eggs: You can try smoking your eggs or add smoked eggshells to your cheese to make soft boiled eggs.

BBQ: You can make cold smoked BBQ in the form of burgers, hot dogs, and even pizza on a cold smoker. It is one of my favorite ways to use my cold smoker.

Garlic: You can add some garlic in with the other items on the list such as cheeses, tomatoes and peppers. The garlic will produce an incredible flavor that you cannot get anywhere else.

Jerky: You can try making jerky with your cold smoker, but do remember that you will have to cook it for a bit after smoking it.

Cucumbers: Try smoking your own cucumbers. They go well with smoked cheese and are a cool alternative to adding some garlic into the mix. The best part is that they don’t require much work in order to smoke them, though they may take a while to dry out completely.

FAQs

How do you smoke cheese without it melting?

You can place your cheese in the cold smoker, but be careful to monitor it as cheese may melt during smoking. For this reason, I will usually just wrap my cheese in tinfoil or wax paper and let it sit there until the smoke is done.

How do you make a homemade cold smoker?

You’re going to need a metal box, some wood chips and some foil, a generator and some tubing. First, you will want to drill holes in the top of the box so that smoke can exit and go around. Next, you will insert this into your smoker to make sure it is clear that smoke is getting out. You will also need six holes at an angle through the top half of your metal box. You can then get yourself some screen wire and fit it over the top of your box.


 

How do you smoke cheese in a cold smoker?

The cold smoker works in a very similar way as a regular smoker. The only difference is that the air is not too hot, so cheese will not melt. You will need some wood chips and foil and some of your favorite cheese. You will also need some water to keep the beans wet so they don’t start burning on the sides of your smoker. Once you have these things ready, place your cheese in the foil or wax paper and put it in your cold smoker for about three or four hours depending on how big it is.

How do you make a homemade cheese smoker?

You will need a metal box. You will then drill some holes into the top of the box so that smoke can exit and go around. Next, you will have to insert this into your smoker to make sure it is clear that smoke is getting out. You will also need some screen wire and fit it over the top of your box.

How do you smoke cheese without melting it?

There are a few ways to do this, though I prefer wrapping my cheese in tinfoil or wax paper. This is because cheese may melt during smoking, but tinfoil or wax paper are great for retaining heat and keeping your cheese from melting.

What cheeses are good to cold smoke?

The great thing about cold smoking your cheese is that there are not too many rules when it comes to what you can or cannot smoke. The only thing you will have to take into consideration is the shelf life of the cheese, as some cheeses can get moldy easier than others. Here are some good cheeses to try with your cold smoker: Feta, Gouda, Jalapeno Cheddar, Mozzarella

Can you make a cold smoker out of a refrigerator?

Yes. It is done exactly like the ordinary cold smoker, except be sure to place it in a location that is as cool as possible. You will also want to make sure that you know where your source of heat is coming from and how far away it is, so that it does not melt the cheese.

Conclusion

A cold smoker can be a great option for those who love cheese. By following these easy steps, you'll be able to build your own cold smoker and produce some delicious cheese at home. So if you're interested how to build a cold smoker for cheese, start with this guide.

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