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[Modernist Cuisine] Mac and Cheese (3•387 and 6•192)


Wayt Gibbs
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  • 2 weeks later...

I tried Modernist Mac & Cheese using extra sharp cheddar on my kids. My picky daughter objected to the sauce hardening as it cooled. She didn't like the texture of the hardened sauce. This lead me to wonder if there's a way to make the sauce thinner, but still clingy, so that it doesn't harden so soon, or stays softer when it cools.

The obvious notion of just adding more liquid doesn't seem right. It seemed like residual water on the pasta diluted the sauce somewhat and this made it prone to draining off the pasta into a pool on the plate, so further dilution would presumably exacerbate this problem.

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I tried Modernist Mac & Cheese using extra sharp cheddar on my kids. My picky daughter objected to the sauce hardening as it cooled. She didn't like the texture of the hardened sauce. This lead me to wonder if there's a way to make the sauce thinner, but still clingy, so that it doesn't harden so soon, or stays softer when it cools.

The obvious notion of just adding more liquid doesn't seem right. It seemed like residual water on the pasta diluted the sauce somewhat and this made it prone to draining off the pasta into a pool on the plate, so further dilution would presumably exacerbate this problem.

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  • 1 month later...

I have Modernist Cuisine at Home and I have done the regular Mac & Cheese -- it worked great, so I decided to try the Baked Mac & Cheese. I made the Cheese Crumble this weekend and I am wondering if there were misprints with the recipe. Here are the problems that I experienced:

1. There is such a tiny amount of liquid that there is no possible way for an immersion blender to immerse so that the blades can actually reach the liquid. Even in a very small pan, which I was using, it just wasn't possible.

2. There was such a tiny amount of sodium citrate that the cheese immediately separated, so I am not sure why we bothered with the sodium citrate.

3. I weighed the tapioca starch and the volume was significantly more than the volume indicated by the recipe. I followed the instructions, so went with the weight, but I wish I hadn't. I ended up having to rescue shreds of cheese dough from way, way too much tapioca starch. I managed to press together a dough, roll it out and create the cracker, but it tastes like starch rather than cheese -- it's kind of disgusting. I am hesitating putting it on my final dish.

Can others comment on their experiences with the Cheese Crumble?

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Since the Cheese Crumble can freeze for so long (and is so good) next time I will be double or tripling the batch to make the blending easier. I lifted the pan at an angle so the cheese melt was deep enough to put the blender in but it wasn't straight-forward.

I didn't experience separation. For this recipe you were supposed to use hard cheese. If you used the soft Boars Head Gruyere this may have been your problem. I used Parm-Regg. that was rock hard.

I did experience too much tapioca starch. The dough was crumbly and didn't roll out very well. I think it would be OK to add water to make it more pliable or next time just add the starch until it's the consistency you want. I used Bobs Redmill Tapioca Flour and that may have been the issue.

If you don't like the taste of it then don't add it to the bake. I would try it again. My version tasted bready with a gentle parm flavor.

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I tried tipping the pan, to no avail -- I finally had to give up on even trying with the immersion blender. I had to tip the pan and use a fork -- a regular whisk also wouldn't work because the cheese-to-liquid ratio was so high that a whisk just got bogged down.

As for the kind of cheese -- I used a very fine hard aged Gruyere. I am hoping that when I add the additional grated cheese the crumble will taste okay, but I probably won't make it again. It seems like a waste of fine cheese.

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  • 3 months later...

I made Mac and Cheese using the recipe posted here:

http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/sodium-citrate-creates-silky-smooth-macaroni-and-cheese/

Ingredients

Aged chedar cheese - 200 grams

Milk (1%) - 186 grams

Sodium citrate - 8 grams

The texture was perfect, smooth and silky. However the taste was really bad, sour, salty. The one thing that comes to my mind is cardboard. Does anyone have an idea what I could have done wrong?

I am thinking of trying again with water and maybe half the sodium citrate...

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  • 1 year later...

Hi,

 

I'm sorry if this has been asked before, but I didn't find anything after a quick search.

 

I just tried my hand at Modernist Mac & Cheese tonight.  It came out ridiculously sour.

 

Here's what I used:

 

265 g water

11 g sodium citrate (Will Powder Sodium Citrate)

240 g Monterrey Jack

Approx 40 g Sharp Cheddar (left over bit that I needed to use somehow)

 

I followed the instructions and made a nice sauce out of it, but it was crazy sour.  This is the second time that I have tried this receipe, and the second time that I ended with this result.  The first time I used all sharp Cheddar, and assumed that was the problem.  However, I'm thinking that Monterrey Jack is mild enough to not cause a problem.

 

Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

 

I apologize if this is a dumb question.

 

Any insight would be appreciated.

 

Thanks.

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So, normally when people report this problem it's because instead of actually using sodium citrate they used citric acid (both products are sometimes called "sour salt"). It sounds like in your case that's not the problem, but considering your issue I'd be inclined to buy some sodium citrate from another provider and see if it works better.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks for your message.

 

I do recognize that there is a difference between sodium citrate and citric acid.  That is why I purchased sodium citrate.  I have attached a photo of what I purchased in case it is of help.

 

Are you saying that the Will Powder brand of sodium citrate is bad?  I thought it was mentioned in Modernist Cuisine as a reputable brand.  I think I read somewhere that trisodium citrate is actually preferred.  Is this perhaps the wrong thing?  What should I buy instead?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

 

n1osv4.jpg

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Will Powder is definitely a reputable brand, I own many of their ingredients myself. But the ingredient list in the Mac & Cheese is very short! I assume you've tasted your cheese and it's fine. So unless your water tastes sour, the only other ingredient is the sodium citrate. Have you checked the calibration on your scale?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have sodium citrate from Will powder aswell BUT, mine is very fine granules. Yours looks like little small beads of calcium citrate or calcium chloride used for pickling. I am wondering if you got a batch that was labeled wrong?

 

Also when i make mac and cheese i use roughly 7g of sodium citrate and 8oz of cheese and 1/4 cup of milk. I add more cheese or milk as i go but never more then 7g of sodium citrate. Sorry i dont know the gram conversion off hand and im too lazy to look it up.

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Great point, FeChef. Here's a photo of mine side-by-side for comparison purposes:

DSC_5015.jpg

 

I can think of two things to check: either email your photo to Will Powder and ask them if it looks like the right stuff, or maybe some chemist here can tell you a reaction that you can use to check whether you've really got calcium chloride (or something else that's not sodium citrate).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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