Cheese Makers Forum FAQ Equipment part 1 Equipment part 2 History

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Smoked Gouda and Swiss

Smoked gouda is one of the best everyday and unpretentious cheeses many Americans enjoy on a regular basis. This cheese, like many in the supermarket, is made with liquid smoke. The seasoning was added to the brine and allowed to sit in it for about a day. It is interesting though, most of the intensely smokey aroma has dissipated during the rind formation. Also, the smokey flavor did not penetrate to the center of the cheese as well as I would have like. Perhaps next time some liquid smoke will be added to the make, but I will leave that experiment for another day.

Ideally one wouldn't use liquid smoke or flavorings to achieve a smokey profile, but use 'cold smoking', i.e. smoking below 90F, to give the cheese an intensely smokey flavor. Keeping those really low temperatures isn't that easy especially if you don't have specialized equipment. I would be interested in hearing about ideas for cold smokers though, since there are many things that are just exquisite cold smoked (fish, pastrami, sausages, etc).

I have been quite happy with the thermophillic cultures I got from a local brew store, they are quite active and turn out a cheese that even at a young age is very tasty. This is a picture of a swiss that is two or so weeks old, and it already has the beginnings of the emmentaler tang. It surprises me that this culture shows so much more flavor development so early on--this has definitely been the case with the last three thermophillic loaves I've produced.


  1. i cold smoke stuff all the time for my catering co., Skinny Boy Catering, and all you need is a Char-Broil Pro Smoker with the offset side fire box. you can easily just add a bit of coal and wood to the fire box and never get over 100 degrees. let me know if you want some more detailed info.

  2. Interesting. I was left with the impression after reading the book Charcuterie that is took semi specialized equipment. They may have been exaggerating I guess though.

  3. Jeremy, I am a serious smoke hound.. if you need smoke, you need to smolder wood. If you need 90F, you need to bring the temperature down.

    The most common old-school way is to have a smoldering log in the corner of a pretty good-sized building, like maybe the size of a bathroom. Lots of smoke, not so much heat.

    Walker's plan'll work. To help control it, I'd place a pan of ice between the offset firebox and the cheese.

    Did you post the gouda recipe already? If you did, I'll be happy to run a batch, smoke it in my box (I have a Pitt's and Spitt's trailer, and hitting a 75deg smoke is easy) and we could trade a sample or two *raised eyebrow*...

  4. Don't ever forget... smoking is the oldest form of cooking known to man. You don't need anything more than a fire and a cave to smoke something.

  5. Steve, where do you live? feel free to email me, maybe we can set up a cheese/smoke trade :)

    I'm still working on the technique. Making cheese is very much like smoking, brewing beer, baking bread--many people (like myself) rush into it disregarding what people say so we can learn what to do and what not to do. After 40 loaves I'm still learning.

  6. Oh, and can I say I love the crowd I get at this blog? It is so fantastic :D

  7. I was intrigued by the wax mold your wife made. Could you post on your waxing procedure/technique?

  8. I'll post more info on waxing here shortly, just got back from a couple day long vacation :)

  9. the smoke gouda looks appetizig.


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