Nothing beats a smooth, creamy, and cheesy cheese sauce. Find out today how why cheese sauce gets gritty and how to prevent it!
While I get that there are 5 food groups, in my world, there are 8. Sure we have dairy, fruit, grain, lean meats and proteins, veggies but for me, I also like to consider pizza, bacon, and cheese as their own separate food groups.
Oh sure I know they technically fall under the other 5 but these other 3 play such a high role in my life that they deserve their own group. In my household, and specifically my fridge, I have an entire cheese drawer with nothing but cheeses in it.
At any given point in time, there are at least 8 different varieties of cheeses and no, I’m not talking about the individually sliced stuff. And yes I do like Velveeta by the way. That stuff is the bomb for a creamy cheese sauce!
But have you ever made (or had) mac and cheese that wasn’t creamy or smooth? Instead, it was grainy or gritty? Kind of gross, huh? So there are a few reasons why this happens and what you want to avoid.
- Use real cheese and not cheese food (i.e, the individually wrapped slices). If those say they are real cheese without a million additives then you’re OK.
- Velveeta – so no, technically it’s not ‘real cheese” as it’s made with whey protein concentrate, milk protein, and other additives to create a pasteurized cheese product. Again if you want to use I won’t judge you.
- Grate your cheese instead of buying pre-grated cheese. Those cheese are packaged with additives (powders). Those powders hamper your cheese melting/smoothness.
- When you make your roux (butter/flour) then adding your milk (béchamel) you must add your cheese to the heated mixture slowly. *NOTE! Do NOT add the cheese to the mixture if it’s boiling/bubbling. Adding cheese to a bubbling mixture will cause the cheese to break down. The emulsifiers and coagulants break down when heated thus causing a gritty texture.
- Remove the hot béchamel from the heat. I tend to remove the pan from the heat completely when adding the cheese to prevent it from getting too hot and curdling/breaking.
- Add the cheese slowly – if your recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded cheese add in a little bit at a time. Add some, stir till melted and add more. Continue to add and stir.