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Old 08-06-2007, 07:33 PM   #1
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What happened to my fondue?

Iíve made fondue a jillion Xs and never had trouble. Last night I tried it and it ended up w/ the consistency of curds and whey. Great tasting curds and whey, but curds and whey nevertheless.

I slowly heated the wine on low heat w/ the seasonings as usual, added the cheese slowly, stirred and stirred, yet it was a mess of blobby cheese on the bottom. In a last ditch effort to save it I added some cornstarch (not usual for me) to no avail.

Anyone know why this happens?

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:37 PM   #2
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I'll take a stab at this. I will venture to say that the wines acid broke/curdled the cheese. Perhaps it was not hot enough?

Could also be an issue with the quality of cheese used, to oily perhaps.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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You need the wine to prevent the cheese from curdling.

What kind of cheese were you using? How hot was the wine?
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:48 AM   #4
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Maybe you guys are onto something. I usually use a high quality Gruyere and this time I used a supermarket Swiss.

The wine was hot but not boiling. I know thatís not that helpful but I can't remember exactly how hot it was. It was a cheap Chard. (I guess Iím getting cheap in my old age!)

So maybe 1. The cheese was cheezy or 2. The vino wasnít hot enough?
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:59 AM   #5
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First rule of fondue: use good cheese!!

Second rule: low heat. Cheese hates heat. Heat the wine but not too hot (never up to a simmer). Add the cheese (shredded, not chunked) off the heat in small handlfuls, incorporating completely.

Did you use cornstarch in the cheese?

I am guessing it was the wine being too hot and the cheese being too watery.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:36 PM   #6
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I think I did everything right except buy decent cheese. And I know better! Shame on me. Thanx for the help.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:45 PM   #7
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Sometimes that supermarket cheese has too much water or too low a fat content.

Someone told me you could "revive" a curdled fondue with lemon juice but I have not had to try that [crossing fingers]

Good Luck!
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
too low a fat content.
That was the most likely factor. In this case, more acid would not have made a difference (it might have made it worse) since there was not enough fat to begin with. A cheese fondue is basically a fat:acid emulsification. You need enough fat. Cheaper, low quality cheeses lack this. It's the same thing if you were to sub milk for heavy cream in many sauces. The milk will "curdle" and the proteins will be floating on the surface.

One of the rules of cooking: if you use an inferior product, you'll always end up with an inferior result, unless you understand the science behind it.
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