How to Store Smoked Cheese: 6 Most Common Ways

It should be clear by now that smoked cheese goes perfectly with any BBQ or grilling platter! But a lot of people don’t actually know how to store smoke cheese.

They’re pretty straightforward to make and can be easily found in most supermarkets or your friendly neighborhood gourmet stores. But they’re notorious for not being long-lasting.

Read on to find out about 6 common ways to store smoked cheese to enjoy them for the long haul.

What is smoked cheese

Smoked cheese refers to any cheese that has been treated with smoke flavors by exposing the cheese to smoke produced from burning wood.

The ingredients of the smoke can vary but will typically include one or more types of wood.

Some common woods used are hickory, apple, cherry, and mesquite. It is this exposure that eventually gives smoked cheese its distinct smoky flavor.

Learn how to store smoked cheese

How can you make smoke cheese

There are numerous ways in which smoking may be accomplished.

The most well-known method is to use an enclosed area containing a heat source to burn wood chips and produce enough smoke for the desired amount of time.

This process may also require the installation of an exhaust system for ventilation purposes.

Another popular method involves placing the cheese inside a container with an airtight seal like a paint can or similar container.

The smoke is then funneled into the container using either tubing or bell jar-type attachments.

The slowly accumulating smoke infuses the cheese over time without exposing it to high temperatures that could also give it that smoky flavor but would often cause unwanted damage to the dairy product’s texture and taste.

What is smoked cheese used for

Smoked cheese may be used as-is for application in various dishes but is usually sliced thin enough to reduce cooking times when melted on top of other foods.

It may also be crumbled onto salads or atop dishes where its sale will enhance the aroma of other ingredients during preparation.

Where can you get smoked cheese

Smoked cheese can often be found in the deli cheese section of supermarkets and grocery stores.

It may also be sold at specialty grocers like butcher shops and fish markets and is available online for purchase by anyone with an Internet connection.

Smoked cheese is typically used to substitute regular cheeses in dishes where their distinctive flavors might clash or complicate matters, such as grilled cheese sandwiches.

Traditionally, smoked cheddar cheese tends to be one of the most commonly used varieties when preparing such dishes.

However, many different types of dairy products are now smoked, including provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, Gouda, and even butter!.

Virtually any cheese can be smoked as long as they aren’t exposed to high temperatures during treatment.

How long does smoked cheese last

Smoked cheese has a long shelf life, so long as it is appropriately sealed. Once opened, the cheese should be refrigerated in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic or aluminum foil and placed back in the refrigerator.

It will typically last for around 6-8 weeks if stored at optimum conditions.

The naturally low acidity of smoked cheeses also makes them safe to store outside the refrigerator, although this practice may not always produce desired results when it comes to taste.

For example, unwrapped or improperly wrapped smoked cheese could dry out or allow mold to grow on its surface, which would cause discoloration and may even contaminate other nearby dairy products kept inside your refrigerator.

Smoked cheese can also be frozen, although this is not recommended as it could adversely affect its texture and flavor when thawed.

6 most common ways to store smoked cheese

How to store smoked cheese

There are many ways to store smoked cheese. Here are the most common ways to store it:

1. Keep in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of no higher than 40°F.

2. If purchased in pre-sliced form, keep sealed in its original packaging until ready to be used.

3. If purchased as a whole cheese wheel or block, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place inside a resealable freezer bag before refrigerating.

4. Once opened, smoked cheeses should be stored wrapped tightly again to maintain freshness and should be eaten within six weeks for ideal results.

5. For long-term storage, unwrapped smoked cheese may also be kept at room temperature for up to 12 months.

To prevent mold from forming on the surface of the dairy product while stored outside of a cooler environment, it should occasionally be double wrapped tightly with plastic or aluminum foil.

It is also recommended that you occasionally cut an “X” into the surface of the cheese with a sharp blade to allow any excess moisture or condensation to release.

6. Some smoked cheeses such as Gouda and mozzarella can also be canned in airtight glass jars, which will keep them fresh for up to two years when stored at room temperature.

Canned varieties should be opened carefully using oven mitts since steam may escape when unsealed inside each jar.

Can I use a vacuum to seal the cheese

A vacuum sealer with a cheese setting may be used to preserve smoked cheeses and prevent mold growth.

Be sure that the machine will not suck any of the plastic or foil wrappers into its chamber, as this could potentially cause problems when it comes time to remove them from the appliance.

Source: henry (Flickr)

What happens if you leave it out on your kitchen counter for hours

If you leave the cheese out at room temperature for too long, then there is a high likelihood that some or all of it may go bad, depending on how quickly bacteria begin to grow.

When left unsealed, bacteria in the air could contaminate and alter flavor and texture. If left outside of a refrigerator for more than four hours, cheese should definitely be thrown away.

Can you eat freshly smoked cheese

Yes, but it won’t taste good.

Smoked cheese should only be eaten after being melted onto a dish because its flavor and texture can become quite dry if consumed plain or even when baked into a simple dish such as macaroni and cheese.

If you eat smoked cheese fresh, it will be kind of salty and not very tasty.

Conclusion

Smoked cheese is a delicious dairy product that is made by infusing aged cheddar, provolone, or other types of cheeses with smoke flavor over time.

This is done without exposing them to high heat, thereby avoiding damage to their texture while enhancing their taste.

Smoking cheeses can add a unique flavor profile that many have grown to love.

So long as they are kept at a temperature that is well within the acceptable range for cheese storage, smoked cheeses have an extended shelf life of up to 8 weeks after opening.