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Smoked mozzarella is a type of cheese that is flavored with smoke. Traditionally, mozzarella cheese was made from the milk of water buffalo. As water buffalo are rare and live only in a few countries, most types of smoked mozzarella are made from cow's milk. There are primarily two methods used to produce smoke mozzarella; one method saturates the cheese with real smoke, while the other coats the surface of the cheese with liquid smoke. Smoked mozzarella can be used in a variety of savory dishes.
Mozzarella cheese is made by kneading cheese curds from either cow's milk or water buffalo milk in a vat of hot water. In some cases, whey is used instead of hot water. Kneading the curds, also called spinning or stringing, makes the resulting cheese elastic and smooth. After the mozzarella is produced, it is shaped into a ball and chilled with cold water. Unlike other cheeses, mozzarella is not aged and takes only a few hours to make.
Once the mozzarella cheese is made, it can be smoked either at the manufacturer's or in a person's home. Smoked mozzarella can be made by setting the cheese in a chamber with smoking wood chips. There are generally two ways to smoke using wood chips, a hot and a cold way. The cold method is preferable for producing any type of smoked cheese.
If the cheese reaches a temperature more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) during the smoking process, it may begin to sweat or even melt. For best results, usually the smoking wood chips are in a separate chamber than the cheese itself. The smoke still reaches the cheese, but the heat is dissipated.
Another method of producing smoked mozzarella doesn't involve wood chips or smoking at all. In some instances, the cheese will be painted on the outside with a liquid form of smoke. Other manufacturers may add the liquid smoke flavor to the milk before the mozzarella is made. While smoked mozzarella produced in a smoker or by painting the exterior with liquid smoke isn't uniformly flavored, adding liquid smoke to the milk before making the cheese means the entire piece of cheese will have a smokey flavor.
Smoked mozzarella cheese can be used anywhere regular mozzarella is used if a smokey flavor is preferred. It goes well in pasta dishes or on top of pizza. The cheese pairs well with tomatoes and pesto in a sandwich too.