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Old 02-26-2013, 09:28 AM   #1
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Parmesan turned into one lump in sauce

Had a great tasting sauce last night and then added some diced tomatoes and the grated Parmesan in sauce turned into one lump that look like fresh mozzarella. removed lump and added more parm. same result. What went wrong?

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Old 02-26-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to DC

It sounds like you dropped the whole quantity of cheese all in one spot. Try sprinkling it around the pot and then stirring it in. In fact, do this with all ingredients. It's easier to incorporate them more evenly into the dish.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:00 AM   #3
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Welcome to DC! I've never had that happen. I did see on ATK that one is supposed to add the cheese in small quantities, stir, add more.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
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Was it previously parmesan from container, or a shaker, like Kraft? Or, did you freshly grate it from a chunk you bought?
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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It was pre-grated in a tub and I did sprinkle it around and it seems to incorporate well until I added diced tomatoes.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
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Was your sauce boiling or simmering? This will happen if the sauce is too hot. It causes the cheese to melt quickly. Before it has a chance to incorporate correctly.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:03 AM   #7
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It was simmering and only clumped as the cooling tomatoes were added. I removed clump returned to simmer added new cheese it also clumped.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shagnski View Post
It was simmering and only clumped as the cooling tomatoes were added. I removed clump returned to simmer added new cheese it also clumped.

It should not be simmering! Thats way too hot for cheese.

Cheese separates at 160 degrees. Your liquid should be hot enough to melt the cheese but no hotter than 150 or so.

I doubt it was the tomatoes, as lemon juice is sometimes used to fix a curdled cheese sauce.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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I'm thinking that it was a chemical reaction. The acid in the tomatoes, along with the heat of the sauce, probably caused the milk proteins to bind. When making homemade mozzarella or cottage cheese, you typically add citric acid to cause curds to form in warm milk, which then bind together to make cheese.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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I am thinking Chemical reaction as well, but the sauce already had lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon before I added tomatoes.
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