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Mssmltzr

Cheese Fondue

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Around Christmas time, for the past four years, my boyfriend and I have made it a tradition to make a cheese fondue at home. While the fondue always results in something that is quite good, we can never seem to get the consistency right. In the end we usually end up with a pretty soupy concoction and a huge lump of melted cheese at the bottom of our fondue pot. We just can’t get seem to get the liquid ingredients and the cheese to unite and form a wonderful, smooth, creamy mixture. Are we not keeping the fondue on a sufficiently high temperature? Or is it just a matter of not stirring the mixture long enough over a steady heat? Please advise…it has been four years and while our relationship has improved…our fondue has not. :raz:

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Walk me through your process:

You're boiling off the wine, right? Shredding the cheese? Adding the cheese to the wine *on the stove* and adding cornstarch?

Boiling hot water is placed in your water bath?

How big is your sterno flame?

My fondues have occasionally started soupy, but after a few minutes more of cooking (while we're dipping) they thicken........and the last pieces of bread have gooey melted cheese like the ones hanging off a melted cheese sandwich.


Edited by Susan G (log)

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In addition --

Are you adding the shredded cheese a little bit at a time?

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Here you'll find quite a good description about the process. Study the "fondue factoids" link at the bottom of the page.

Make sure you get thoroughly matured cheese, as young cheese has rather long peptid chains and tends to remain undissolved in those lumps. Also make sure that your wine is sour enough (that's why there's some lemon juice indicated in the recipe). This is also important for the cracking of the chains. Finally, heat up slowly.

The indicated "fifty/fifty" cheese mix (gruyère/vacherin fribourgeois) results in the finest version of cheese fondue, in my humble opinion.

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This column by Robert Wolke addresses ways to make cheese sauces work--including information on why they split and how to prevent that from happening. I found it useful when I made a cheese sauce (actually, broccoli-cheese soup) the day the article came out.

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It might be useful to check back on the Food TV website, as Alton Brown recently devoted a half-hour to the subject.

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Add the cheese bit by bit and not in a giant clump works.

We made fondue the other night and have a useful tip - if you run out of sterno, it's best to get more and not try to substitute a votive candle.

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I find that stirring plays a big role in how a fondue turns out. I agree with everyone that you should only add the shredded cheese a handful at a time. When stirring make sure you stir deep, and in the same direction (my family always stirs clock-wise for some reason). A friend and I were making a pot each side-by-side, and his turned out clumpy and ugly. The reason was his stirring...I was ready to kill him. There is no no better way to piss of a Swiss then to fuck up a fondue. I mean seriously all the guy had to due was stir.

My family's recipe for fondue includes Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Appenzeller cheese. We also add vacherin fribourgeois if we can get it, and Tilset if we can't.

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Thanks for the tips! I found the "fondue factoids" particularly helpful. I have also been known for inconsistent stirring *shame*. Again, thanks for the help and hopefully our next fondue will be a success!

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*annual bump*

My fiance and I are thinking of foregoing all Thanksgiving pomp. We're thinking of renting a hot tub and just soaking the day away in our lonesome.

Fondue is the main food planned. But, neither of us have a fondue pot. Is this critical? What would make a good substitution? Would my sterno stove work?

Also, any mentions about the age of the cheese (fresh, well-aged, asking for car keys) would be great.

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I don't usually bother with a fondue pot for cheese, just use a pot with a lot of mass and it will keep everything hot for long enough - it doesn't stay around that long anyhow.

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I agree with EHPete. If you heat ceramic ramekins in the oven, they'll hold the heat plenty long to get the cheese down, I find.

I do hope you'll have some, er, fiber at some point during the festivities. All fondue would be pretty... binding. Not that I have any experience directly with that sort of thing. Ahem.

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Spam might be a bit  over salty. 

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8 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

Would spam be a good dipper in cheese fondue? 

 

No.  The cheese would most probably slide off back into the pot.  I contemplated a snarky answer but it wasn't necessary.

 

Crusty French bread would be wonderful.  I was married in the 1970's and I have a fondue cookbook.

 

 

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9 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

Would spam be a good dipper in cheese fondue? 

 

You have to remember that the usual dipper for fondue is bread and recipes are created with that in mind. Yes, some people do fruit, but that's difficult to manage. Essentially, you are looking for something to let the fondue flavor shine while offering some texture. So the best dippers are subtly flavored/salted or have a contrasting flavor like apple slices -although apple slices are problematic because they have smooth surfaces. I'd look more at things like mini-cornbread muffins, mini-pecan pies, mini-burritos, whole roasted baby potatoes (peeled for less slippage), and other types of bread.

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As a child of the 70's we had the cheese one ( usually using a processed cheese like Velveet to smooth things out).They also did the scary hot oil one with beef and dipping sauce like bernaise. My red enamel one is somewhere in hiding along with the color coded forks :)   

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Thinking further on this, Spam might be a tasty base for an untraditional meat fondue, accompanied by, say, fresh tomatoes and candied pineapple.  More so if one does not have a ready source of long pig.

 

 

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Thanks for not being snarky. But even mentioning you have to abstain from being so is, actually, snarky. 

 

  I can’t cook and I don’t try to because I mess up 70% of the time and despite being fortunate enough to make mistakes,  it really upsets me to waste food. 

 

  I did make cheese fondue tonight and we had crusty Italian bread, baby potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and yes, ham— not spam. My husband and I enjoyed it and that’s all that matters to me. 

 

  I wasn’t being an asshole by asking about spam. I bought it and my thought process was ham and cheese go together. 

 

This is why why I don’t post here often. Lesson learned. 


Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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6 minutes ago, MetsFan5 said:

Thanks for not being snarky. But even mentioning you have to abstain from being so is, actually, snarky. 

 

  I can’t cook and I don’t try to because I mess up 70% of the time and despite being fortunate enough to make mistakes,  it really upsets me to waste food. 

 

  I did make cheese fondue tonight and we had crusty Italian bread, baby potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and yes, ham— not spam. My husband and I enjoyed it and that’s all that matters to me. 

 

  I wasn’t being an asshole by asking about spam. I bought it and my thought process was ham and cheese go together. 

 

This is why why I don’t post here often. Lesson learned. 

 

 

I did not mean to give offense.  And I was serious that Spam might make a tasty meat fondue.  I was also serious that I thought Spam would not work well for a cheese fondue.  I have not tried it.  If it works I stand to be corrected.  You did ask and I gave my best opinion.  My humor is sometimes obvious only to myself.

 

 

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My GF has three fondue pots (!!!) so both the cheese and hot oil variants can happen at once and in a reasonably large company.

 

We've only done that once in the few years we've been together. Viewed as a meal, it's rather a disproportionate amount of fuss (to my mind, at least). Of course, the whole point of the exercise is that it's not simply a meal, it's a social occasion. And it takes less time than, say...a game of Monopoly. :P

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Don't forget the cocktail onions and cornichon!  A nibble of each helps to cut the richness of pure cheese.    

 

@MetsFan5 - I didn't see your question about Spam before.  I think if you cut it into cubes and fried them crisp, the cheese would adhere just fine.  I'm just hypothesizing here because I've actually never tasted Spam, but next time we do cheese fondue, I'm going to give that method a try.  


Edited by Kim Shook (log)
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6 hours ago, chromedome said:

My GF has three fondue pots (!!!) so both the cheese and hot oil variants can happen at once and in a reasonably large company.

 

We've only done that once in the few years we've been together. Viewed as a meal, it's rather a disproportionate amount of fuss (to my mind, at least). Of course, the whole point of the exercise is that it's not simply a meal, it's a social occasion. And it takes less time than, say...a game of Monopoly. :P

 

 

 I have friends who have 3 pots too. We have the electric Cuisinart one. It was a wedding gift so over 5 years later, after impulse buying a bag of shredded and seasoned fondue cheese at Wegmans o figured why not. All we had to add was wine. 

 @Kim Shook next time I will definitely get cornichons! My husband requested mushrooms and baby carrots and of course tons of crusty bread! 

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