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Dave the Cook

The Melty Cheese Calculator: what have you made?

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We might -- or might not -- have made an announcement when we first posted the Melty Cheese Calculator. You can find it here, but in case you don't want to dig up this post every time you need it, we've added a link in the "Browse" tab at the top of the page.

 

Anyway, a friend was asking what kind of cheese or cheeses one might use in it, as the technique pretty much allows you to treat almost any (I haven't had any failures yet) cheese as if was Velveeta or Cheez Whiz. Modernist Cuisine and the subsequent Modernist Cuisine at Home offer up a few possibilities, but I'm sure we can top those. Here are some of the combinations/applications I've used:

 

  • Aged provolone and Tillamook extra sharp cheddar -- sauce for cheesesteaks
  • Gruyere/various aged cheddars for mac and cheese 
  • Jalapeño jack and manchego for a broccoli casserole
  • Just last weekend: Baby Swiss and TJ's Unexpected Cheddar for mac and cheese
  • Aged gouda, unaged gouda and Monterey Jack -- chilled,  cubed, breaded and deep fried to make "croutons" Here's a photo.

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had tasty fun with this technique. What have you made? Share!

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Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Thanks for this reboot.   FWIW, I have found that in lieu of sodium citrate (should you jut not want another container of something on your shelf), a tiny amount of vinegar will allow your cheese to relax.     Like a teaspoon in a cup of cheese and liquid.     There is no noticeable flavor added by this.    Anyway, works for with recalcitrant cheeses.  

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eGullet member #80.

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So the same ratio for any cheese? Parm is the same as cheddar?

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Are you talking to me?    This is "fly by the seat" cooking.    I use a very small amount, half to a teaspoon, for strong cheddars.    Yes, different cheeses, even ages of same cheese, may respond with different amounts of vinegar.   But considering how little vinegar you are using, it shouldn't be a substantial difference.    

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eGullet member #80.

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@Dave the Cook The type of cheese doesn’t matter?  Same ratios for cheddar as for parm?

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@gfweb: I've never tried it with straight parm, though aged gouda (and Cabot Clothbouond Cheddar) come close to the same sort of dry graininess (a description that doesn't capture the flavor of the cheese, but only the texture), and they've done fine. I've usually buffered intense cheeses in combination with milder specimens, perhaps wanting to temper the strong flavor of well-aged cheeses for my guests -- or perhaps out of fear of a failed emulsion. But I'm pretty sure someone around here has combined a pair of dry cheeses to good effect -- @Chris Hennes, maybe? If not, I'm willing to experiment and let you know.

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Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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14 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

@gfweb: I've never tried it with straight parm, though aged gouda (and Cabot Clothbouond Cheddar) come close to the same sort of dry graininess (a description that doesn't capture the flavor of the cheese, but only the texture), and they've done fine. I've usually buffered intense cheeses in combination with milder specimens, perhaps wanting to temper the strong flavor of well-aged cheeses for my guests -- or perhaps out of fear of a failed emulsion. But I'm pretty sure someone around here has combined a pair of dry cheeses to good effect -- @Chris Hennes, maybe? If not, I'm willing to experiment and let you know.

I always use the same ratio and have never had it fail: no dependence on the type of cheese involved. This may mean that the amount of sodium citrate is higher than necessary for some cheeses, however.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I made a lasagne with a brie bechamel that was really, really good once upon a time.  Would making this cheese sauce with brie, on the medium thin side, essentially sub out for a bechamel?  Would it break on the rebaking?  

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@lemniscate I've never tried to make a sauce with brie, but it's clear that other semi-soft cheeses work fine with this technique. I really doubt it would break -- I've baked many a mac and cheese without a hint of breakage.

 

So, I'm sure it would work. The thing I think you need to think about is if you want more brie flavor in your lasagna (which you'd get by removing the roux and possibly milk from your bechamel), or if making a Melty Cheese is just fixing something that isn't really broken.

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Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I did it.  I used the calculator.   I had several bits of cheeses on the edge of usage or toss.  Some WSU Cougar Gold, some WSU Viking, Costco Jarlsberg, Kerrygold cheddar, an English aged cheese I can't remember the name.  All grated up was 315 g.  That came to 12.6 g of sodium citrate.  I used a light broth for the liquid.   Used an immersion blender as I added the cheese slowly.

 

Perfection.

 

I also at the end added the final chopped bits of an Edwards Country Ham.

 

Ended up with 3/4 L of sauce.

IMG_8152.jpg

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