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Old 02-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
The quality of the cheese really doesn't affect its ability to melt much.

But the type of cheese does.

As does the fat content.

And, obviously, the technique used matters most.

The quality of the cheese will absolutely affect the taste of your final product.
Sorry, still have to disagree. I didn't do anything different with the "faux" cheese (and that's what I'm going to call that stuff even though it was supposedly real parm cheese) than I do with the good stuff. Used it in tomato-based sauce and used it to make alfredo for lunch for me since we had leftover pasta from the night before and still didn't get good melting results, not to mention taste. BTW, I make alfredo the original way with heavy cream, butter, nutmeg, pinch of salt and parm ONLY, at least as original as you can get in the U.S. since we don't get the cream that Italians can get so have to add butter to up the fat content. None of that flour-based bechemel for alfredo for me thank you very much.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #22
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I think it was the heat. Cheese sauces do not take well to simmer. On the other hand, Parm spread over red sauces melt without sticking together.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
Sorry, still have to disagree. I didn't do anything different with the "faux" cheese (and that's what I'm going to call that stuff even though it was supposedly real parm cheese) than I do with the good stuff. Used it in tomato-based sauce and used it to make alfredo for lunch for me since we had leftover pasta from the night before and still didn't get good melting results, not to mention taste. BTW, I make alfredo the original way with heavy cream, butter, nutmeg, pinch of salt and parm ONLY, at least as original as you can get in the U.S. since we don't get the cream that Italians can get so have to add butter to up the fat content. None of that flour-based bechemel for alfredo for me thank you very much.

I have made plenty of mornay sauce-based mac and cheese casseroles for our neighborhood block party using Stop and Shop brand cheese which is cheap and tasteless but perfect for the occasion.

I have also made other successful cheese sauces over many years of cooking with cheap supermarket cheeses.

The taste is most definitely impacted by the quality of the cheese but the melting ability isn't, as long as the fat content is there. Low fat cheese doesn't melt well. Kraft cheddar melts just as easily as Neil's Yard does.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:33 AM   #24
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:09 PM   #25
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Think about what cheese is. Milk is warmed, with either a culture, or acid added to it. The acid, usually a by product of the micro-organisms eating the milk sugar, or as an added ingredient, react with the protiens of the cheese, making them seperate from the other milk solids, water, and sugar into clumps, which are then pressed and dried. As time progresses, much of the water evaporates out, leaving the protiens, salts, fats, and flavor components behind. Teh protiens bind together to make a soloid block of cheese, which is milk protein and fat, acid, sans the milk sugar, much of the water. The fat and proteins are homogenized together. When cheese is heated, the fat begins to melt, and the cheese takes on a plastic state (technical term meaning malleable solid). When too much heat is applied, the protein and fats separate, with the proteins clumping together, and the fats floating on the top. In a sauce, its called breaking when that happens. It's almost always caused by overheating the proteins, be it a dairy-based sauce, or an egg based sauce. Anywhere there is an emulsion between fat, water, and protein, excessive heat is the enemy where sauces are concerned.

So, the point of this is, whether you're making an Alfredo sauce, or a Hollendaise, or a gravy, you are working with the same dynamics.

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:54 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
I have made plenty of mornay sauce-based mac and cheese casseroles for our neighborhood block party using Stop and Shop brand cheese which is cheap and tasteless but perfect for the occasion.

I have also made other successful cheese sauces over many years of cooking with cheap supermarket cheeses.

The taste is most definitely impacted by the quality of the cheese but the melting ability isn't, as long as the fat content is there. Low fat cheese doesn't melt well. Kraft cheddar melts just as easily as Neil's Yard does.
I completely agree with EVERYTHING you have stated on the matter. Because I have also had the same problem with REAL cheese lumping at high temp. BUT not at lower temps. Makes no matter what brand it is. It has happened with very expensive imported cheese ($20+) also so cost makes no diference either. BUT I will say that green box garbage NEVER clumps. I feel it is due to the sugar and other additives that are add to prevent clumping in the box.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:13 PM   #27
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If using canned cheese such as Kraft, I always like to sift it to get out all the bindings and fillers that are added.
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