Mac and cheese is the best food item to enjoy anytime anywhere. Repairing this dish is pretty easy but sometimes worse things happen like cheese sauce curdling. If you go through this problem, you have to know how to fix curdled mac and cheese in order to enjoy perfect mac and cheese.
There are some processes that might help to combat this curdling. It is not 100% sure that you would succeed if it goes too bad. You gotta be careful every time you prepare this recipe.
What Causes Curdled Cheese Sauce
When making cheese sauce, a few things can go wrong, causing it to curdle. It is possible that high heat may be the cause of the problem. Due to the dairy base of the cheese sauce, it is never high heat resistant.
Dairy products can be heated to a high temperature, causing the liquid and protein in the mixture to separate, resulting in curds forming. So, the dairy base (milk) of cheese is assumed to be the main reason for cheese sauce splitting.
If the cheese is also made from dairy products, it may be the reason, why this has happened. If high temperatures are applied to the cheese, the proteins will separate from the water in the cheese.
Additionally, when cheese is melted, its oil may separate, causing the sauce to appear broken rather than smooth.
While preparing the cheese sauce at home, make sure you season it with sauce at the very last moment. Sometimes the seasoning salt causes the curdling in the cheese sauce.
How to Fix Curdled Mac and Cheese Texture
Cooking is always unpredictable. While cooking, there are many factors that can go absolutely wrong, ruining the flavor or entire dish sometimes. However, once the sauce becomes curdled, fixing this problem can be difficult. Curdled means the inside proteins inside are separated and it is pretty tough to go back to the original position.
Hence, one thing you need to know is that it is completely fine to consume curdled cheese sauce because there are no ingrown bacteria inside it. Despite that fact, the sauce is not tempting anymore and you know why. The following are some tactics for preventing curdling.
The very first thing you need to do when you notice that the cheese sauce you are making is curdling is turn off the heat as soon as possible. Tell someone to prepare a bowl with ice cubes and give the sauce an ice bath. Cause, cooling the sauce can minimize the damage from curdling.
Apart from the ice bath, there are several processes like pouring a few tbsp. of cold milk, splashing cold beer or wine. After adding any of the ingredients, whisk vigorously until it returns to a fine look. This should be repaired within 30 seconds max.
If you notice just at the beginning of the curdling, there is a better solution to heal it 100%. If the curdling clumps are very few, just sieve the cheese sauce. The clumps should get separated. Also, whisk the sieved cheese briskly in case there are no tiny clumps left.
There is another method. While starting curdling, keep the cheese sauce away from the heat. Then quickly sprinkle flour (1/2 tbsp or as needed). It should combat curdling cause when you add some flour to the curdled cheese sauce, it gets thickened as well as creates a bond to the separated sauce.
Sometimes, an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, or lime juice helps to bring a curdled cheese sauce back to its original state. It may sound hilarious but it actually works. All you need to do is to drizzle a splash of lemon or lime juice into the sauce and whisk vigorously.
Recipe for Smooth Cheese Sauce:
Usually, cheese sauce breaks for not following some basic tips while cooking. Making smooth cheese sauce is not a big deal if you follow some tactics. The following will helps to prepare a super creamy tempting cheese sauce without the chance of curdling.
Ingredients we need
- 1 L of full-fat milk
- ½ cup of plain flour
- 100 g of unsalted butter
- 4 cups of finely grated cheddar cheese
- ½ tbsp. of kosher salt
- 1/4 tbsp of freshly ground black pepper
Methods of Preparing Step by Step
Step 1: Take out a large saucepan and add 100 g of unsalted butter. Turn on the stove over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Don’t brown the butter.
Step 2: Add ½ cup of plain flour in 3 batches and stir continuously until finely combined.
Step 3: Pour 1L of milk very slowly and continue stirring the whole time.
Step 4: The flour crumbs would no longer be identified after 5 minutes to 6 minutes and the sauce began to thicken.
Step 5: Add 4 cups of cheddar cheese and whisk vigorously for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Step 6: Lastly add the seasonings ½ tsp of kosher salt and ¼ tbsp. of black pepper. Give the sauce a last stir and remove from heat.
Tips from Bakers
Always remember, the high heat causes curdling. People don’t pay attention and start cooking in high heat which results in something unpleasant. However, keep the heat from medium-low to low always in order to prepare a perfect cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
The seasoning should be added at the very last minute so that nothing gets the sauce ruined.
If your grated cheese is already kept at room temperature, it will melt comparatively in a short time. In this case, first, remove the pan from heat and add the cheese. The residual temperature should be enough to melt the cheese perfectly.
While preparing, don’t stop stirring. Most of the problems will solve if you continuously stir the sauce.
Prevention is better than cure. It would be best if you follow the rules while preparing the mac and cheese. Despite being careful, curdling can happen. So, quickly follow one of the methods whichever feels easier to you and savor in!