Hi David, great to hear about your article. My IMHOs below:
Use a wood such as alder, apple, cherry, or other fruit wood for a mellower flavor. Woods like hickory or mesquite might impart too strong a flavor
This is in general a good rule of thumb for smoking, but as in many things, it's up to the skill of the operator. A hickory smoke done at a lower temp with more ambient space to dissipate molecules does a great job, as does smoking at 3-4 weeks, and then aging another 2-3 months to let the flavor mellow out. Have to consider in smoking the relative flavor intensity and absorption rate as well as degradation rate of flavor molecules. Also possible to use smoke as a preservative, to help with mold control.
Use wood pellets, sawdust, or small wood chips (I expect large chips may get jammed up inside the can?)
I agree. The goal of smoking on a small scale is to have even particles and even combustion and reaction rates, so chips and fines tend to work well.
Smoke the cheese after you age it, not before (unless of course the cheese is not an aged cheese, such as feta or mozzarella)
Depends on the desired flavor, but mostly, the flavor is too faint if cheese is smoked and then ages. A classic smoked cheese like idiazabal, for example, is smoked at around 90-100 days.
Don't let the cheese get above 80F
IMHO, this is too hot, can cause sweating. It could be problematic in, say, a jersey milk cheese. A better approach is to suggest to not let the vapor get above 80-90F, with a decent space between combustion source and cheese.
Smoke for 1/2 hour to an hour. If the surface is discolored, there is too much smoke.
This has to do with relative concentration of flavor molecules and temp, which contributes to absorption rate and intensity. To bring up idiazabal again, it's 60F smoke for a day or more. Best bet is experiment. Generally, low and slow is best.
Wrap the cheese and refrigerate it after smoking to allow the flavor to work its way through the cheese. Wait at least a day and up to a month (or longer) for the flavor to mellow.
Not necessarily refrigerate. Just let it stabilize. Any time cheese changes (temp, humidity, rind treatment, etc), it should stabilize before eating. And smoke doesn't really penetrate inside the paste... it tricks the senses into thinking the flavor is pervasive due to the aroma and taste of the rind. If you want smoke flavor inside the paste, best bet is to add concentrates to the milk.
While you are cold smoking cheese, if there is room available in the smoker then add other things such as nuts, kosher salt, spices, garlic cloves, spices and herb to allow them to acquire a smoke flavor as well. If you are going to set up a smoker you may as well use up all of the available space.
It's up to each person. I like to pay attention to the absorption rates of 1 thing... I make mistakes otherwise, but I'm sure most people can multitask better.
If there is not enough will you get a different sort of smoke? I suppose if there is copious air, you run the risk of the wood catching fire and creating too much heat.
Generally, if you really starve the wood of oxygen, it will pyrolize differently. It's not so much an issue in a typical setup because there's a balance between available O2 and combustion. For it to catch on fire at those temps, you'd need to force air through it, or up the oxygen concentration. Otherwise, not much risk due to the low temps.
Also, any thoughts about what cheese styles lend themselves to smoking?
Anything, really. For example, cheddar is not typically smoked, yet Redwood Hill does a nice version of it in their goat cheddar. Can also smoke for aroma only and not flavor (wrap semi-lactic buttons in tobacco leaf, for example, and then smoke... inside will not be smoke flavored but will have unique aroma). Some are easier practically... like a large provolone can hang up in the smoke chamber vs having many small buttons to handle.
for those really into kitchen toys who want a quick smoke before serving a wedge, there's also http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/the-smoking-gun.php
Oh and have a read of Bill's article if you haven't already http://www.cdr.wisc.edu/news/pdf/smoked%20cheese%20bulletin.pdf