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Old 11-25-2007, 11:37 PM   #1
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Cheese sauce failure

Tonight I made mushroom linguine. Instead of thickening with flour, I decided to use 4oz of shredded cheddar that I had on hand. I added the cheese to 1 cup chicken broth and 1/3 cup milk. I heated and stirred but it never became a sauce. I kept raising the temperature in desperation but to no avail. After boiling for several minutes the cheese was still just small particles floating in the liquid.

This cheddar makes up half of my cheese when I make Alfredo sauce but that sauce does not include chicken broth. Is the broth to blame, or did I do something wrong?

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Old 11-26-2007, 01:29 AM   #2
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Isn't that closer to the consistency of a cream soup rather than a sauce? I sometimes find that some of the pre-shredded cheeses aren't good at melting in some applications. Seems to need a direct application of heat, not a warming one.
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:07 AM   #3
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I've found that some cheddars just don't melt well.
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:10 AM   #4
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It would have been better to start with a basic bechamel sauce and then add the cheese.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:41 AM   #5
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Use cream instead of the broth, once it starts to thicken, remove from the heat and melt in the cheese. If you cook it too long after the cheese was added, the cheese will 'break' and you will be left with a oily/lumpy mess. Some cheeses can handle heat more than others.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:56 AM   #6
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I am with Jeekins. When I make a cheese based sauce or condiment, cream is the way to go (no adding of flour necessary). Use a double boiler if possible and don't bring it to a boil either. There are certain cheeses which don't melt well, I have never tried with cheddar but some of the excellent melting cheese are
gouda
edam
fontina
toma
bel paese
emmenthar
maasdamer

mixing a few different cheeses are always nice, and a touch of either
gorgonzola
taleggio
gruyere
makes it really appealing and interesting, depending on your taste and dish.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:00 AM   #7
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Cheddar should melt very well but it does depend a bit on the brand and as I said, some of the pre-shredded stuff just doesn't always do it well. I use cheddar in cooking heaps.
Mozzarella and bocconcini are excellent too and red Leicester makes a nice colour.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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If you subject the cheddar to boiling temperatures it will curdle. When making a cheese sauce, one usually prepares the base then stirs in the cheese off the heat.
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:22 PM   #9
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You will have a very hard time melting and emulsifying cheese into chicken broth like that.

Fondue uses wine because the alcohol helps prevent the cheese from clumping and curdling.
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:23 AM   #10
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I use the same cheese to make Alfredo, which is only milk and cheese. That is why I suspected that the broth was to blame. Next time, either broth or cheese but not both.

Thanks
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