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Old 08-28-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
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What Happened To My Alfredo Sauce?

I made alfredo a couple days ago. I think it is only the 2nd or 3rd time I've made alfredo sauce in my life.

It was a fairly basic recipe. The ingredients I used were heavy whipping cream, pound freshly fine-shredded parmesan, and unsalted butter. I also used a little salt, pepper, and egg yolks.

I kept the heat low and sloooowwwly added the cheese to the cream/butter mixture... stirring CONSTANTLY. I'd add a little cheese, stir/melt it in... add a little more, stir/melt it in... etc. The final sauce was fairly grainy.

The next day, I took it to a pot luck and it was in a crock pot (on low) for a couple hours. By the time I turned the crock pot off, it had become VERY grainy/lumpy and the butter had mostly separated. I nuked some of it the next morning and no matter how much I stir, the butter remains separated.

I'm wondering two things:

1.) Why was it grainy?
2.) Why has the butter seemed to permanently separate?


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Old 08-28-2010, 08:39 PM   #2
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Adding the cheese over heat or getting it too hot when reheating will cause graininess and the fat's separating out. No need for egg yolks in Alfredo sauce.

When I make it, I melt the butter, add some grated garlic then the cream. I simmer that until it thickens then add black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. After I turn off the heat, I stir in the grated parm and toss it with the fettuccine.

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Old 08-30-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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I think is a case of over-kill. The idea of cooking a cream sauce for two hours does not sound very good. Try to just melt until hot butter and cream and then add parmsan cheese just before serving. Alfredo sauce is a very quick preparation.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:44 PM   #4
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What happened was that your sauce broke. When protiens are heated in excess of about 170' F., they start to tighten up, or in the case of your cream and cheese, coagulate into lumps and grains. Andy said it right. Heat the cream, butter, and garlic slowly, over low heat. Do not let it boil. When its hot enough, remove from the heat and add the grated cheese. The cheese will serve to cool the sauce a bit, but still melt smoothly into the sauce. The sauce is then poured over the cooked noodles or chicken, or whatever you are putting your Alfredo Sauce over.

Any cheese sauce behaves the same way. If you want a cheddar flavored sauce, make a simple Bechemel from blond roux, a dash of nutmeg, heavy cream, and a touch of yellow mustard. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in shredded sharp cheddar cheese until smooth and creamy. This is a great starting sauce for a very creamy mac and cheese.

Sauces thick end with egg yolk or a mixture of egg white and egg yolk will also break if over heated, and for the same reason. In fact, that film that appears on boiled milk, that's the protiens coagulation and sitting on top of the liquid.

Low and slow, that's the secret.

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