As every cheese lover will tell you, smoking fresh mozzarella adds a certain depth of flavor that is almost indescribable. Smoked mozzarella adds a rich and tangy taste to the most basic of dishes. A logical question would be to ask how to smoke mozzarella.
Smoking mozzarella cheese isn’t as complex as it may sound. Mozzarella cheese is usually smoked with cold smoke at a temperature of 90° F but it can be smoked at a warmer smoke as well. The smoking time can vary from 2 to 4 hours.
Let’s have a look at a few ways to smoke mozzarella cheese sticks, balls, or just plain chunks to spruce up your Italian dishes.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Make Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 How Long Do You Smoke Mozzarella Cheese?
- 3 What Does Smoked Mozzarella Taste Like?
- 4 Cold Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
- 5 Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
- 6 Smoked Mozzarella Cheese Balls
- 7 Smoked Mozzarella Sticks
- 8 The Type of Wood Necessary to Smoke Mozzarella Cheese
- 9 Tips for Enjoying Your Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
- 10 A Final Word on How to Smoke Mozzarella Cheese
How to Make Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
Smoking mozzarella is the quickest way to enhance the unique and crisp taste of this fine cheese. You’ll need your favorite smoker, charcoal, water-soaked wood chips, a thermometer to measure your smoker’s temperature, and a chunk of your favorite mozzarella cheese.
Here are a few easy steps to smoke your favorite chunk of mozzarella:
- Place a small heap of charcoal or soaked wood chips in your smoker’s firebox. You can also use your kettle grill for this process.
- Brush the grate with either olive or vegetable oil. If you use something like peanut oil, keep in mind it will affect the flavor of your cheese.
- You’ll know the smoker is ready for smoking when the temperature is 90°F. Don’t let the temperature increase, as this will cause your cheese to melt.
- Simply place your blocks of cheese on the grate, as far away from the embers as possible. It’s also important to place the cheese blocks with enough space between them for the smoke to move around and be absorbed in all sides of the cheese.
- The smoking time will be between 2 and 4 hours, depending on how smoked you want your mozzarella to be.
- Keep the smoker closed between turning the cheese so the smoke doesn’t escape. This will also keep the temperature from dropping too low.
Once the mozzarella is smoked to your preference, remove it from the grate and place it in a cheesecloth or resealable plastic bag.
Ideally, you want to let it absorb flavors for a couple of hours (overnight is suggested here) before using it. This will ensure you get the maximum smokey flavor.
On average, smoked cheese can remain in the fridge for about two weeks. The smoke flavor dispenses throughout the cheese, giving it that sharp, smokey flavor that will be very popular on your cheeseboard.
Watch this video to get some more tips on how to smoke mozzarella cheese.
How Long Do You Smoke Mozzarella Cheese?
When you smoke mozzarella, the trick is to turn the cheese regularly every 30 to 35 minutes. Doing this will ensure there’s even smoke exposure on all sides of the cheese. The total time averages between 2 to 4 hours with a constant and light smoke. It’s important to add wood chips or pellets at steady intervals to sustain a balanced flow of smoke.
What Does Smoked Mozzarella Taste Like?
Smoked mozzarella cheese is known for its creamy yet tangy and salty taste on the outside and a milky flavor on the inside. The choice of wood you use to smoke the cheese with will determine the level of the smokey flavor. A rich smokey aroma lingers in the background of the creamy cheese.
Cold Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
The basic difference between cold and hot smoke is with cold smoke the food you’re smoking remains raw during the smoking process. In general, cold smoking is done at a temperature of 90°F. This keeps the food moist but still absorbs that rich smokey flavor. Cold smoking also allows smoke to penetrate meat and cheese easier.
When it comes to mozzarella cheese, the key is the temperature. Irrespective of the type of smoker being used, the temperature can’t exceed 90°F to prevent the cheese from melting.
Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
Buffalo mozzarella is creamier and softer than the average version of mozzarella. Many cheese lovers consider it to be more flavorful since it’s tangier and has a richer aroma.
The process of smoking buffalo mozzarella is a little different. Instead of using charcoal and wood chips, the traditional method involves smoking the cheese over flaming straw for approximately 15 minutes. This creates a light golden brown color on the mozzarella.
Smoked buffalo mozzarella cheese is an acquired taste and is commonly used to complement Italian style pasta dishes such as lasagna, pizza, and bruschetta.
Smoked Mozzarella Cheese Balls
Making smoked mozzarella cheese balls is easier than you think. The following four simple steps will give you tasty smoked Mozzarella balls in no time at all:
- Wood chips should be soaked for at least an hour.
- To prevent oils from dripping off the cheese, wrap it in cheesecloth during the smoking process.
- Smoking takes place for a period of 2 to 4 hours at a temperature of 90°F. Ensure the heat doesn’t exceed this temperature to prevent melting.
- Once smoking is complete, place the mozzarella balls in a refrigerator overnight for the flavors to draw into the cheese.
Smoked mozzarella cheese balls are commonly served with salad or with Italian pasta dishes such as insalata caprese or risotto.
Smoked Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks are made with cheese dipped in a combination of eggs and Italian bread crumbs and then deep-fried until golden brown. The mozzarella is smoked before it’s made into sticks. It can be smoked in the same process as we’ve discussed above.
Smoked mozzarella sticks make a great addition to your cheeseboard and can be served as an appetizer as well. To get the best flavor, it’s advised to smoke the mozzarella the day before you need to make sticks.
The Type of Wood Necessary to Smoke Mozzarella Cheese
To get the richest, smokiest flavor for your mozzarella cheese, it’s important to use the right type of wood. Robust cuts of cheese will always require a much heavier smoke flavor to compliment it. Different types of wood produce different flavors.
Let’s have a look at some of the most popular types of wood:
- Hickory: Some cheese lovers claim hickory gives smoked cheese a bacon type flavor. While the smoke can be quite pungent, it adds a rich, yet flavorful taste to the cheese.
- Sugar maple: Imparts a sweet flavor to the mozzarella and is ideally suited if you’re going to use your cheese for sweet dishes.
- Pecan: This is a very common wood for smoking cheese because of the rich flavor it adds to the mozzarella.
- Alder: Provides a milder smoke if want a smokey taste that isn’t too sharp.
- Cherry, Pear, or Apple: Fruit tree woods are a great option for an extra flavorful smoke. Try them for pretzels as well!
- Maple: This is one of the most popular woods used for mozzarella smoking. It offers a mild and sweet addition to any tangy cheese.
- Walnut: This particular wood is strong and can produce a slightly bitter. This particular wood is usually combined with other types of wood to get a milder aroma.
Tips for Enjoying Your Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
While smoking mozzarella cheese is relatively simple, there are a wide variety of ways to enjoy the finished product. Whether you add it as a compliment to a warm dinner meal or as a tangy flavor burst on a fruity dessert, smoked mozzarella makes all the difference.
Here are a few interesting ways to enjoy your smoked mozzarella cheese:
- Grate some smoked mozzarella over fresh tacos for a genuine, smoky flavor.
- For a fruity variation, pair your smoked cheese with tart apples or fresh white grapes.
- Prepare a cheese board with a variety of pieces of bread, cheeses, and grapes making your smoked mozzarella the main attraction.
- Smoked mozzarella gives lunch sandwiches a total makeover. Add a few slices of smoked ham for an added smokey flavor.
- If you thought your homemade pizza was great before, you will be over the moon with the smoked mozzarella addition.
A Final Word on How to Smoke Mozzarella Cheese
Cheese lovers will agree smoked mozzarella cheese is perhaps one of the best additions to your cheeseboard when you’re hosting a cheese and wine evening. Using the correct wood and following our simple guidelines will help you make the best smokey rich mozzarella cheese.
It’s imperative to remember the temperature at which smoking mozzarella must take place. Anything above 90°F will result in melted cheese. Once you know how in no time at all you’ll have mastered the cheese smoking process!