Homemade Cheese Sauce
Cooking tips for the caring cook.
- Be careful not to overcook or boil cheese when making a sauce such as Alfredo or the finished product may not be as smooth as you'd like.
- The less you heat cheese, the better. Stir shredded cheese into the sauce toward the end of the cooking process and cook and stir over low heat only until the cheese melts.
- Have cheese well chilled before shredding, crumbling or dicing. You want the cut-up before heating to ensure quick, smooth melting. The colder the cheese is, the easier it will be to cut.
- Once you have the cheese shredded, diced or crumbled, allow it to come to room temperature before adding it to your hot mixture.
- Use cornstarch or potato flour to keep your cheese from curdling. Add it to the mixture before you add the cheese; it needs to be cooked for a few minutes to remove any starchy taste.
- When making a white or light-colored cheese sauce, keep the heat low so the roux doesn't brown.
Did You Know?
Most fondues have a base of white wine. This acidic ingredient prevents the cheese from becoming stringy - a common problem. You can also use lemon if you'd rather not use the wine. Sprinkle the wine or lemon over your shredded cheese prior to heating.
Using Reduced Fat Cheeses
Reduced fat cheese has different melting characteristics. They take longer to melt and have a tough texture. If you're going to try using it for fat-reduction, be sure to shred the cheese very fine. Then allow it to melt over a low heat while stirring constantly.
A Bite of Cheese history:
According to legend, cheese was "discovered" 4,000 years ago when an Arabian merchant journeyed across the desert, carrying a supply of milk in a pouch. The lining of the pouch, combined with the heat of the sun, caused the milk to separate into curd and whey. That night he drank the whey and ate the cheese, and thus, so the story goes, our beloved cheese was born.