Nacho Cheddar Sauce.. My mouth is salivating as I think about it. There’s only one problem. Melting fresh cheddar cheese isn’t as easy as it sounds. It tends to split and get grainy when too much heat is applied, when too much is added at once, and so on… Who knew there were so many rules to melting cheese!!
The reason this happens is because cheese is a delicate emulsion of fat and water held together by proteins and as you heat your cheese up the proteins begin to denature. The more moisture you have the better your cheese will melt (generally speaking) and the ooey gooey melted chhese that’s on pizzas or hamburgers is a result of the protein breaking down causing the structure to begin to sag. Cheese with lower moisture levels, like aged cheese will have a much harder time doing this as the bond is much weaker. This means that the possibility of that emulsion breaking is more likely.
What if I told you that you could add a very specific type of salt to your cheese to stop this from happening. This salt acts as an emulsifier and keeps the particles bound properly regardless of the moisture content.
This isn’t any ordinary salt as it’s not going to make your cheese sauce salty. It’s a salt from citric acid called sodium citrate and can easily be made by combining baking soda and citric acid in some water then cooking it down. There are a few websites that show you how to do it but for me I just go to Amazon and get a few pounds.
This stuff is amazing. Talk about a nacho cheese game changer. Forget about nachos for a minute and think about all of the possibilities. This salt can literally turn any cheese into the most luxurious, velvety, creamy, cheese ever! Bleu cheese, Gouda, feta, Munster, Swiss, you name it. Every cheese I’ve used it on it’s worked like a charm. You can even tweak the amount of sodium citrate you add to affect the density of the cheese so you can even make your very own cheese block if you want to. In a later post I’ll show you how I turned regular cheddar cheese into an amazing block of Black Garlic Guinness Cheddar Cheese. All with the help of Sodium Citrate.
It is super easy to use and once you start playing with it you’ll get the hang of it. The bottom line is this. The more liquid you add the runnier your cheese will be. The less liquid you add the more dense your sauce will be.
I’ve been incorporating this cool ingredient into my broccoli cheddar soups, mac and cheese (WHAT!!!!), all sorts of recipe that call for cheddar to be added. You will never have a grainy cheese no matter how hot you heat it. I’ve been using this for years and still to this day when I melt my fresh cheeses I am amazed at how it works. Science, Mr. White!!
Enjoy the video and check out the recipe below..
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Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- 1 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese or any cheese you want
- 1 cup of water or beer, ck stock, milk it doesn't matter what liquid you use. If you use beer it will change the flavor a little bit which could be a good thing
- 1 tsp sodium citrate
- Grate your cheddar cheese and set to the side
- In a small pot bring your liquid to a gentle boil and add the sodium citrate
- Stir well to dissolve the sodium citrate. Once dissolved add the grated cheese to your liquid and reduce the heat to medium. Stir continuously until the cheese sauce is melted
- Add more liquid for a thinner cheese sauce.
- If your cheese is having a difficult time coming together add more sodium citrate to your mixture. (I would add 1/4 -1/2 tsp per pound of cheese that you used)
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