What Is Smoked Mozzarella?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.
Balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.

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.

Most mozzarella cheese is made from cow's milk, although it can be made from water buffalo milk as well.
Most mozzarella cheese is made from cow's milk, although it can be made from water buffalo milk as well.

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.

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

Smoked mozzarella is yummy. I buy mine from the store. It comes pre-packaged in slices. I don't know if the quality of the cheese is best. It's made from cow cheese. It's good enough for me though. I probably could not afford real smoked mozzarella from buffalo milk even if I found it.

I use smoked mozzarella slices in all sandwiches. It works with any type of meat.

candyquilt

@bear78-- I agree with you. The flavor that develops from burning wood chips is better. The trouble is that it's very difficult to work with at home for those who make homemade smoked mozzarella. Many people risk the cheese melting and losing shape in the process and cold smoking requires more time. Those making their own mozzarella should use a liquid smoke that is added to milk. This is the easiest way but care should be taken to make sure that the amount is right. The smoke flavor shouldn't bee too much or too little.

For those who purchase their smoked mozzarella, the choice is obviously up to them.

bear78

Liquid smoke for smoked cheeses and meats is becoming more and more popular. But the flavor just does not match up to real smoke. Liquid smoke smells more pungent. As a long time consumer of smoked mozzarella and smoked deli meats, I can tell right away that liquid smoke was used. I much prefer the real thing. Nothing else matches up to that.

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    • Balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.
      By: Viktor
      Balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.
    • Most mozzarella cheese is made from cow's milk, although it can be made from water buffalo milk as well.
      By: Andrey Kuzmin
      Most mozzarella cheese is made from cow's milk, although it can be made from water buffalo milk as well.