As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m having a heck of a time making a creamy cheese sauce. I’ve been trying it for months, primarily because I want to be able to make a nice creamy queso blanco (white cheese) sauce for mexican food. My white sauces are coming out sort of grainy and far from creamy. Something that I must remedy soon!
I posted a comment to chef Rex from whom I stole the Mac and Cheese recipe about my conundrum and he offered some great advice. He suggested that low fat cheese is difficult to work with – as if I would be using low fat anything – and he said, “try to add the milk slowly and stir constantly. I have found that if you add the milk a little at a time and fully incorporate it before adding more, it works the best. I have also found that a flat whisk works the best for cheese sauces.” I shopped on Amazon and found my next whisk, it’s called the Saucinator Whisk.
Using the suggestions from chef Rex, I started doing my own research on sauces this morning and I think I have this thing figured out. Testing will prove or bust my theories I’m sure. From what I’ve been able to glean from the internet is I have to master the Béchamel sauce (Mother Sauce). In order to do that however, I will also have to master the Roux (Roo). If I can get the Bechamel smooth and creamy, then my cheese sauce will also be smooth and creamy and that my culinary friends is what I’m going for.
Tips on the Roux.
- Real (unsalted) butter (fat) and equal amount of AP flour.
- Melt the butter slowly (med heat)
- Add the flour and whisk vigorously constantly.
- Allow to simmer/cook, while whisking, for 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out.
Tips on the Bechamel
- Use whole milk.
- Warm the milk (can add flavor here too like onion, bay leaf and/or cloves)
- Add the milk to the roux slowly, stirring constantly, mix thoroughly. (About 3 batches) over low heat.
- Continue to stir and simmer to desired consistency but don’t burn!
Now – the bechamel should be smooth and creamy – if not, toss and try again.
With a roux of 2 Tbls each of butter and flour with 1 cup of milk in the mother sauce, I will add 3 cups of warmed white cheese. Just like the milk in the roux, I will add one cup at a time and stir until smooth. If not smooth, toss and try again.
Hopefully, this plan will prove successful because I would also like to use the mother white sauce for a number of other cheese dips and sauces.
Which brings up a great point, as I am trying to learn to cook well, I should focus on the fundamentals such as sauces, stocks and spice combinations. A new category for the ol’ blog perhaps?