"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > Sauces, Marinades, Rubs > Sauces
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-12-2011, 07:49 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3
Exclamation Why did my bechamel/cheese sauce fail?

Hi All
Im trying to figure out why something like this would happen to a sauce. Its never happened before to me.

Made a fairly good cheese sauce recently. The texture was great, nice and thick and cheesey, taste was good and most important of all it was grain free. It was smooth as cheese sauce should be. At least it was at the start.

Basically i took:
50 grams unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons corn starch
900ml of milk
3 cups of grated masdam cheese (nice melting European cheese)
1 Teaspoon of salt

Melted the butter. Took it off the heat and added corn starch and whisked together until lump free.
Put it back on the heat and added the milk and again whisked together continuously just like making a bechamel sauce.
The sauce thickens up nicely after 5-10 min and i turn the heat down and keep cooking it a bit longer to get the raw corn starch flavors out.
Took it off the heat and let it cool down a little so as to not overcook the cheese in the next step.
Then 1 handful at a time i added the cheese while whisking at the same time.
at the end added the salt to taste.

The result was a very thick,smooth and very nice tasting cheese sauce. Then as it began cooling it started taking on a more liquid gelatinous consistency. By the time it had cooled completely over an hour it was as liquid as the milk i started with. The sauce was ruined.

My question is what's the scientific reason behind this? And what steps can i take to stop this from happening.

thanks

__________________

__________________
satguy123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Zhizara's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 12,537
In my experience anything thickened with cornstarch will break when cooked too long, and with cornstarch that's not a very long period of time.

Even when you get it right, it doesn't reheat well or freeze well. I always use flour because of this.
__________________

__________________

If you can't see the bright side of life, polish the dull side.
Zhizara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 08:38 AM   #3
Executive Chef
 
CraigC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,794
I also think it is because of the corn starch. Never heard of anyone not using flour for a roux.

Craig
__________________
Emeralds are real Gems! C. caninus & C. Batesii.
CraigC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 08:41 AM   #4
Senior Cook
 
garlicjosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pittsburgh, PA.
Posts: 199
Send a message via MSN to garlicjosh
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
I also think it is because of the corn starch. Never heard of anyone not using flour for a roux.

Craig
agreed

cornstarch like many thickeners will break at some point. The starch sucks up all it can and if it keeps cooking it just pops and you are back where you started
__________________
garlicjosh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 09:14 AM   #5
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3
the reason for the cornstarch was that i needed a smooth consistency. Flour makes the sauce just too grainy for a cheese sauce which needs to be smooth in texture. I have used flour in the past for a cheese sauce and it was a failure due to the grainyness.

I want aware that thickeners break down when overcooked. Thanks for the tip. I will try again using a shorter cooking time.

By the way the idea of using corn starch instead of flour i got from this article:
The Burger Lab: Cheese Sauce for Burgers, Fries, and Chips | A Hamburger Today
__________________
satguy123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 09:36 AM   #6
Master Chef
 
jennyema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston
Posts: 9,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
In my experience anything thickened with cornstarch will break when cooked too long, and with cornstarch that's not a very long period of time.

Even when you get it right, it doesn't reheat well or freeze well. I always use flour because of this.
Exactly right. Why did you use cornstarch instead of flour?
__________________
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 09:38 AM   #7
Master Chef
 
jennyema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston
Posts: 9,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by satguy123 View Post
the reason for the cornstarch was that i needed a smooth consistency. Flour makes the sauce just too grainy for a cheese sauce which needs to be smooth in texture. I have used flour in the past for a cheese sauce and it was a failure due to the grainyness.

I want aware that thickeners break down when overcooked. Thanks for the tip. I will try again using a shorter cooking time.

By the way the idea of using corn starch instead of flour i got from this article:
The Burger Lab: Cheese Sauce for Burgers, Fries, and Chips | A Hamburger Today

Flour doesn't make béchamel sauce grainy if you make it correctly.
__________________
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #8
Sous Chef
 
Silversage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by satguy123 View Post
the reason for the cornstarch was that i needed a smooth consistency. Flour makes the sauce just too grainy for a cheese sauce which needs to be smooth in texture. I have used flour in the past for a cheese sauce and it was a failure due to the grainyness.

I want aware that thickeners break down when overcooked. Thanks for the tip. I will try again using a shorter cooking time.

By the way the idea of using corn starch instead of flour i got from this article:
The Burger Lab: Cheese Sauce for Burgers, Fries, and Chips | A Hamburger Today

No one is better than Kenji at the food science stuff. But you didn't follow his instructions or his recipe. His sauce calls for for 1 Tlbs of cornstarch, 1 12 ounce can of EVAPORATED milk, and 8 ounces of cheese, at least half of which needs to be a high fat/low moisture cheese such as cheddar.

If you want his results, follow his recipe instead of adding butter, substituting milk for evaporated milk, and using a higher moisture melting cheese. I'm quite sure that if you followed his recipe, you would have had better results.

For those who don't recognize Kenji, for years he was with America's Test Kitchen. He created and tested many of their recipes, and if you subscribe to Cooks Illustrated, you'll see that he wrote many of the articles. He recently left and moved to New York (I think it had to do with getting married), and is doing a food blog called The Science Lab for Serious Eats. His stuff is really good and detailed, just like ATK.
__________________
In our house, dog hair is a condiment!
OMG! I decided to blog!
Silversage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Flour doesn't make béchamel sauce grainy if you make it correctly.
No matter how well they are made, there is still a faint graininess to them and a distinct flavor that may be appropriate in a lasagna or a Hot Brown Sandwich, but not for fry-cheese.
__________________
satguy123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
Head Chef
 
Josie1945's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Sunny Central Florida
Posts: 2,003
Welcome to DC.

Josie
__________________

__________________
Practice Random Acts of Kindness ( RAK ) Makes you feel great too
Josie1945 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
butter, cheese, corn starch, milk, recipe

Why did my bechamel/cheese sauce fail? Hi All Im trying to figure out why something like this would happen to a sauce. Its never happened before to me. Made a fairly good cheese sauce recently. The texture was great, nice and thick and cheesey, taste was good and most important of all it was grain free. It was smooth as cheese sauce should be. At least it was at the start. Basically i took: 50 grams unsalted butter 3 Tablespoons corn starch 900ml of milk 3 cups of grated masdam cheese (nice melting European cheese) 1 Teaspoon of salt Melted the butter. Took it off the heat and added corn starch and whisked together until lump free. Put it back on the heat and added the milk and again whisked together continuously just like making a bechamel sauce. The sauce thickens up nicely after 5-10 min and i turn the heat down and keep cooking it a bit longer to get the raw corn starch flavors out. Took it off the heat and let it cool down a little so as to not overcook the cheese in the next step. Then 1 handful at a time i added the cheese while whisking at the same time. at the end added the salt to taste. The result was a very thick,smooth and very nice tasting cheese sauce. Then as it began cooling it started taking on a more liquid gelatinous consistency. By the time it had cooled completely over an hour it was as liquid as the milk i started with. The sauce was ruined. My question is what's the scientific reason behind this? And what steps can i take to stop this from happening. thanks:chef: 3 stars 1 reviews
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.