Whenever I make macaroni and cheese, the sauce breaks. Even though it tastes good, it looks curdled. What am I doing wrong?
Submitted by bubby (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Hi Bubby. Sorry you are having a problem with macaroni and cheese. It seems as if it is always the plainest foods that cause problems. Here are some pointers that might help:
1: evaporated milk and UNSWEETENED condensed milk (most of the condensed milk we see in the supermarket is sweetened) have stabilizers added, so it helps keep the sauce ingredients together.
2: same goes for American cheese; adding a bit of American cheese to the mix can stabilize the sauce too.
3: or use whole milk (rather than skim) because fat serves as a stabilizer.
4: use young cheeses such as asiago, non-aged cheddar, havarti, muenster, non-aged gouda, and so on. These have more water content than aged, older, drier cheeses and melt more easily, keeping the mixture stable.
5: shred or grate the cheese so that it melts more easily when you add it to the hot white sauce. Only add a little at a time and mix it in thoroughly before adding more. If you add cheese all at once there’s more of a tendency for the sauce to separate.
6: Although most people use cheddar, it’s better to use another cheese (or cheeses) in addition because cheddar alone can be grainy.
I hope this helps. Let me know!