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Old 01-08-2008, 11:54 PM   #1
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What happened to my whole wheat mac?

The kids and I cooked some whole wheat mac and cheese but we ended up with a grainy sauce. We made a light roux with butter and flour, mixed in some milk and cheeses to melt then added the cooked whole wheat pasta. What could have caused the grainy, almost sandlike texture? We ended up throwing a whole pot of pasta and cheese.

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Old 01-09-2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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Since you specifically mentioned the whole wheat pasta, do you think maybe the pasta started breaking down into the sauce? I tried whole wheat pasta once and didn't like the texture at all. The only other thing I can think of is if the flour didn't all blend in smoothly maybe it caused the grainy texture.

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Old 01-09-2008, 09:33 AM   #3
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The cheese can separate and become grainy if it's added to a milk/roux mixture that's too hot. I tend to mix in the cheese off the heat, rather than into very hot or boiling liquid.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:55 AM   #4
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Whole wheat contains bran, which will not mix into a sauce the way the rest of the flour will. The sand-like particles were almost certainly bran from the macaroni that had leached off the pasta and mixed into the sauce.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikC View Post
Whole wheat contains bran, which will not mix into a sauce the way the rest of the flour will. The sand-like particles were almost certainly bran from the macaroni that had leached off the pasta and mixed into the sauce.
I think that is what happened the first (and probably last) time I tried whole wheat pasta. I couldn't stand the texture.

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Old 01-09-2008, 03:12 PM   #6
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I would expect any bran or whatever associated with the pasta to have gone down the drain with the cooking water. Unless the pasta disintegrated in the sauce, I'm not sure that's the problem.

Dina, was the milk grainy before you added the cheese?
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:37 PM   #7
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Andy,
The roux and milk sauce was smooth but very hot when I added the cheeses. It could have been a combination of both the very hot sauce and grains of the pasta. I made sure not to overcook the pasta. I will try it again. If I get the same results, I'll go with regular mac.

Thank you all for your tips.
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Dina, when I first read your post I thought the same thing Andy did and that the cheese separated. That has happened to me although I wouldn't describe the resulting texture as sandlike, it did detract from the dish, but not enough to throw it out.

I use whole wheat pasta exclusively and have gotten excellent results. I can't remember who, but I read a post from someone on DC who touted Bionaturae brand organic whole wheat pasta. That is the brand I use and although "Cooks" didn't give it the highest rating, I find it to be excellent. My only problem with them is that they don't make WW lasagna noodles.
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
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I use both whole wheat & whole grain pastas & have never had a problem with graininess. My favorite brand is Barilla, who now makes both. If you don't care for the whole wheat type, try "Barilla Plus", which is a combination of both whole grain & legume flours. Not only delicious & good for you, but virtually indistinguishable from regular pasta taste & texture-wise.
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:59 PM   #10
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I have to vote for the cheese. Sounds like the emulsion that is cheese broke and you have particles of milk solids. Don't know why it broke.

You said you added the milk and cheese. Did you add them together? If so that might, and I believe would, account for the problem. You need to add cheese after the white sauce is made.

Course maybe you did that, but just an idea.
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