How To Cold-Smoke Halloumi Cheese

Homemade, Cold-Smoked HalloumiNo, this isn’t a dream… I have smoked me some halloumi!

A few months ago, I bought a ProQ Cold Smoke Generator. Having got a real taste for smoked cheeses and other such flavoured delicacies – that meaty flavour really jazzes up a lot of vegetarian dishes – I wanted to turn my hand to it at home.

Pro-Q Cold SmokerFor those of you who don’t know, a cold-smoker, predictably enough, releases smoke at a low enough temperature (between 20-30c) to infuse delicate things like cheese, butter, vegetables and spices. A hot smoker is for things of a sturdier disposition, that can take the 50-80c temperatures it produces.

Pro-Q Cold SmokerI had read a lot of very positive reviews of this particular cold smoker online. Three things greatly appealed – its size, its performance and its price. Costing only about £30, this small device can produce cool, flavourful smoke for up to ten hours, and when placed inside some kind of receptacle (I have used both a lidded barbecue and a box on different occasions) will smoke whatever you can fit inside.

Note – this is not a sponsored post, I just think this is a really great toy! And you get to tell people, “yes, I was smoking my own cheese yesterday…”

Oak Wood Dust For Smoking & LeavesYou pour wood dust into the spiral chamber, then set alight to it at one end with a tea light candle. Once it is smoking and the dust is smouldering well, you add it to your smoking container with the ingredients. It’s then just a matter of waiting and seeing! I go back intermittently to check that it is definitely still alight, but that is it. The spiral structure forces the dust to burn round and round, leading to a long, cool smoke.

Homemade, Cold-Smoked HalloumiHaving used it a few times now with great success, I thought it was about time to post. I have smoked a number of different foods, each of which I will elaborate on at a later date, but today the topic is my latest triumph, halloumi!

This time I had to risk the wrath of the Swedish balcony police to bring this to you readers (they do NOT like smoke on balconies), so I hope you appreciate it!

Homemade, Cold-Smoked HalloumiI cannot for the life of me think why it wasn’t the very first thing I tried smoking. It’s practically meat for vegetarians as it is. But I finally got round to it, and I honestly think it’s the most successful thing I have smoked so far. Not being a very wet cheese, there was no dripping which can sometimes put out the smouldering wood dust, and it picked up a really lovely colour. And what flavour! Recipes, most definitely, to follow!

Get your ProQ Cold Smoke Generator here!

Smoked Halloumi

How To Cold-Smoke Halloumi
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Ingredients
  1. halloumi cheese, as many pieces as you have space for
  2. cold-smoking wood dust, I used oak
Container
  1. You have a pretty wide choice of containers to place the smoker in. I have had success with a couple of different small, lidded barbecues, but the plain old cardboard box I used the other day also worked fantastically.
  2. For the barbecue method, you simply place the smoker where you would put the coals and put the food on the grill - a lid for the barbecue, whether it comes with one or you fashion it yourself, is essential.
  3. For the box method, I put the smoker on a metal baking tray to avoid any potential risk of fire, then balanced an oven shelf with the food to be smoked on two glass jars. After closing the box, I covered it with a large towel to make sure that no smoke escaped.
  4. Your box/barbecue needs some venting - just a small hole or gap that a little oxygen can enter from. I felt that, to keep the smoke burning for all those hours, it needed some flow to achieve this.
Wood Dust
  1. There are a wide range of different flavour smoke dusts for you to choose from. I used oak for this, which was great, but I suspect that halloumi could handle just about any of these interesting aromas.
Cheese
  1. Smoking will improve a not-so-great cheese, but it will elevate a really great cheese. Opt for real halloumi, made with with a mixture of sheep and goat milk, not the somewhat inferior cow version.
  2. Pat the cheese dry first with paper towels. A drier surface helps the smoke adhere/penetrate better and minimises the risk of moisture dripping from the cheese onto the wood dust and putting it out.
During Smoking
  1. Go back and check intermittently to make sure that the smoker is still alight. Dripping moisture has extinguished the dust for me a few times.
  2. Although I have read others insist that you should only smoke cheese for a couple of hours, I disagree. I left this halloumi smoking for about eight hours and it was fantastic.
After Smoking
  1. When ready, wrap the cheese in baking paper and leave it to rest, at least overnight, even up to a week for the best flavour. This enables the smoky flavour concentrated on the outside to really penetrate and develop.
Ramsons & Bramble http://www.ramsonsandbramble.com/

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