Paula Lambert has been making cheese at the Mozzarella Company in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas since 1982. The store/factory produces a wide variety of cheeses, but mozzarella is the flagship as the name suggests. After mastering fresh mozzarella Paula started smoking it. The smoked mozzarella is available in half pound packages. Mine was abut $8.
On her website, Paula explains that “Mozzarella can be smoked, either in a smoking chamber with intense smoke or by ‘painting’ with a liquid smoke.” Thankfully, she chooses to smoke with wood, or rather with pecan shells. Paula chose this waste product from the state tree after she couldn’t fall in love with the flavor from hickory chips. Painting the cheese with liquid smoke would give it a more recognizable brown skin which can’t be achieved in the short smoking time, but the pecan shells provide all the smoke flavor it needs.
The color of the cheese varies little from the regular fresh mozzarella, and it just doesn’t look like it’s going to taste smoky. Once you bring it close to your mouth the smoke fills your nostrils. The flavor is boldly smoky while the texture is just a bit drier than the fresh mozzarella. (If you’d like to try making some yourself here’s a very detailed but untested recipe). It’s a nice change from the delicate milky flavor of the fresh mozzarella. The Mozzarella Company also offers a wax-coated smoked scamorza. After enjoying this one so well, I need to make another trip to Deep Ellum.