Cheese Cracking After It's Smoked

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by delaware smoker, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. delaware smoker

    delaware smoker Fire Starter

    I bought some expensive cheese,which I smoked on Saturday.I let it sit in the fridge for 24hrs,before putting it away.I'm giving this to my brother for Christmas.I cut the 1lb cheese down the middle before I smoked it.The cheese cracked in several different places.Is this normal?I usually buy cheap cheese, and nevered had this problem.
  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It must be aged cheese, that has less moisture than your regular "cheap cheese". Also depends on the type of cheese. Some cannot be easily sliced.
  3. delaware smoker

    delaware smoker Fire Starter

    Yes it was aged cheese from the factory.
  4. Cheddar cheese will crack as it dries because it shrinks.
  5. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The cracking is usually a sign of aging as stated above.  Even what you call cheap cheese will eventually crack as it ages, this may or may not take a few years to do so.  My three and four year old cheddar normally will do this when cutting.  I consider this a good indication that my cheap cheese is no longer cheap.  Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before attempting to cut.  Using a very thin knife or wire, wet the knife blade under warm water, using slow even pressure start your cut keeping the blade warm and wet as you cut. 

    Enjoy your cheese,

  6. delaware smoker

    delaware smoker Fire Starter

    Thanks for the replies,Guys.
  7. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    My Costco Sharp Cheddar cheese cracked overnight in the fridge, then even more in the smoker. I let it come to room temp before putting it in the smoker. It got to 90F for maybe 15 minutes tops in my MES which was turned off. Most of the time it was low 80's. So I put it in my gas grill which was also turned off. At this point I was using a soldering iron, and Traeger pellets in an aluminum pan. Temp was not only 75F.

    I could not get my new Amazen Pellet Smoker to stay lit in my MES. It worked great the first time I tried in my gas grill which was turned off.

    Should it be room temp before you quarter it? Any other tips before I do the other half? I'll ask my friends to vacuum pack it for a couple of weeks before I taste it as recommended.

    My cheese looks nothing like the images I've seen on the web. 
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  8. we get much of our cheese from Costco and have never had it crack on us. as above it would be my thought that the temps spiked more than once and the moisture in the cheese (think steam/high pressure) expanded causing the cracking

    good luck,

  9. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    Later I did some cheese that was at room temperature before smoking it at 75F. No cracks. Next time I will leave in a zip lock bag to come to room temp, take it out of the bag to dry a little and develop a "skin", then smoke it, and see how it looks then.

    By the way, what kind of wood are you using? I did 70/30 Cherry/Hickory. I found some apple hiding in my garage yesterday. I also have Oak, mesquite, and alder.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  10. I have some peach that I got from Todd, running low by the way and my typical for the cheese is Apple all day but if I mix it is usually with an alder or pecan. these tend to put a great smoke to it with a great/sweet/milder flavor (in our opinion great for softer cheeses) on some of our harder cheeses I might actually throw something like a hickory/apple  or pear combo. I spent 27 years at the smoker in Medford Oregon and pear wood was everywhere certain times of the year. one part of the year your in the orchards picking fresh asparagus next thing you know your there picking up trimmings, GREAT TIMES !!. this last order I brought in a combo mix from Todd called sweet mix (if I am not mistaken) looking forward to play with that . it is all a taste preference as we like a heavier than typical smoke on our cheese so I more look at time / color than the wood.

    Keep on Smokin,

  11. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dang it Mr T you are plumb full of info, I would have never thought of the warm water and getting it to room temp, I am always such in a rush I take it out and just cut it.

    I have two yr old smoked cheese I did that I am keeping for some ODD reason LOL but I will remember this. 


  12. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When you say 2-3-4 year old stayed that long in your fridge or is it what you started with? If it's the former...allow me a tip of the head gear for your patience.
  13. that is from after the smoke. my oldest is about 5+ years Mr T has some over twice that as I understand (correct me if I am wrong) (Limburger ????) the key is to make more than you need, more often than you should and keep repeating the process. NOW you will have reserves to work around for those special moments with the commander (MOM)

    Happy Smokin,

  14. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I buy some 3 and 4 yo cheese and  it crumbles when you try to cut it . Smoking it didnt change it it still crumbles. sams sells it under the black diamond label .

      Most of the retail cheese  slicers w/ the wire are to small to cut more than an 8 oz block. you can buy a cheap coping saw at harbor freight and use a piece of piano wire or guitar string and make a wire slicer that will cut 2 lb blocks
  15. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    The sharp cheese from Costco is 6 months old. isn't cheese 3-4 years old a lot more expensive? If so, I'd be reluctant to mess with it. Are people saying, after it's smoked you vacuum pack it, you can then  keep it for years in the fridge?
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If there was any risk of steam pressure then you are smoking WAY too high and the cheese would have melted. If the smoking chamber was hot then the cracking was more likely caused by the cheese drying out.
  17. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    Later I used a soldering iron in my gas grill and the temp stayed at about 74F. When using the soldering iron in my MES, the temp creeped to about 87F. Too well insulated I guess.

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