Any ideas on how to keep a cheese sauce from congealing?

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It's probably impossible to keep a cheese sauce made from unprocessed cheese from congealing without heat but I thought I would ask this group and see. I've tried adding a bit more milk to my cheese sauce which helps a little, but in the end it always congeals once heat is removed. Any thoughts?
 

phatch

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Sodium citrate to hold the emulsion and milk to your desired texture. Will take some rial and error.
 
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Roux, milk and cheese, is there a better way?
Take it easy on the roux. You can always add more but thinning it down over and over, affects the flavor. Cheese naturally melts and thicken a little. Add the roux AFTER the cheese and in small amounts.

As the sauce sits in a heated container, it naturally evaporates and thickens.
 
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Explain further, you are worried about it thickening after you take it off the heat? What are you using cold cheese sauce for?

It's natural for the sauce to thicken as it cools. Thin it out as needed and adjust seasoning when you reheat.
 
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Excellent idea phatch, I've ran across something mentioning sodium citrate before but didn't read further then a glance (probably should have read further aye lol). So phatch using sodium citrate will give me a slower congealing rate or hopefully almost no congealing verses using a roux? Forgive me if I sound ignorant, but I'm just a home cook with no formal culinary education and every cheese sauce recipe I came across (including the recipes in my old cookbooks) all use a roux so I've no experience with sodium citrate.

Chefbuba, I just want to find a cheese sauce recipe (using real cheese) that won't congeal 10 minutes after I remove heat. I would like to make mac & cheese or a cheese fondue etc. that won't lump up quite so fast, and instead stay rather loose and creamy in the pot.

Chefross, so you think if I add the roux after the cheese and in small amounts I'll have better luck reducing congealing? Or is this to get a creamier sauce and my dream of avoiding congealing just impossible?
 

phatch

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Sodium citrate is an emulsifier but it's properties are different than roux in many ways. Roux uses starch to hold your cheese sauce together. If your roux is out of balance wtih your milk and cheese, then you can get fat separation, protein graininess and wet strings of cheese.  Long holding time at warm temp breaks down the roux as well.

Using sodium citrate, you can hold your cheese and milk in suspension rather than wiht a starch. You're still bound by some ratios but you have more leeway to play with and still hold your sauce together. I've not played with it enough to say how far you can take it, but it seems more versatile than a roux for your purpose. 

Even with citrate, it will thicken when cooled and you will lose some cheese impact if you want it thin when cool. You might want to consider higher impact cheese flavors such as parm, romano, blue to pump the cheese impact in a thin cooler sauce.  Same reasoning as using these cheeses in cheese flavored chips, crackers and such, they pack a lot of cheese flavor in smaller quantities. 
 
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I see, so sodium citrate has a little more wiggle room then roux. So the problem with getting the cheese sauce to stay more liquified is I'll break down the sauce a dilute the cheese flavor, that's pretty much the conclusion I came to as well. I just thought I would see what this group could come up with and I'm glad I did, you all never fail to give good ideas. I'm going to try citrus acid salt and get some stronger flavored cheeses to see if I can get the cooler temp fluidity I'm looking for. If not oh well, it's not a big deal to have to keep the cheese sauce warm, I just thought it would be nice to have the sauce congeal at a slower rate.
 

phatch

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I think it has more room, but in your ratios, it might be too sour for what you want I don't know.
 
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Yeah I hear ya phatch, too little cheese + citrus acid salt and more milk = sour sauce lol.

So kingfarvito, does a heavy cream and cheese sauce not congeal or congeal slower then a roux and cheese blend?

I've yet to run into a heavy cream and cheese sauce recipe, sounds interesting.
 
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Yeah I hear ya phatch, too little cheese + citrus acid salt and more milk = sour sauce lol.

So kingfarvito, does a heavy cream and cheese sauce not congeal or congeal slower then a roux and cheese blend?
I've yet to run into a heavy cream and cheese sauce recipe, sounds interesting.
it'll thicken up, but to get it to congeal I have to put it in the fridge
 
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I will make a loose bechamel sauce. Take off the heat and slowly add my cheese. You can get fancy and add a little nutmeg to your bechamel but not required. I'll set mine in a double boiler on the colder side of my flat top and its holds no prob through lunch ( Couple hrs) and remember to give it a stir every once in a while.
 
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It may sound crazy, but I found using evaporated milk and a corn starch slurry makes a great velvety sauce that takes a long time before congealing.  The flavor is still good, just make sure to use evaporated and not condensed as it would be very sweet.  Basic batch: 2 12oz cans evaporated milk, 12 oz shredded cheddar, slurry: 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch.  low to med heat until desired thickness.
 
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It may sound crazy, but I found using evaporated milk and a corn starch slurry makes a great velvety sauce that takes a long time before congealing.  The flavor is still good, just make sure to use evaporated and not condensed as it would be very sweet.  Basic batch: 2 12oz cans evaporated milk, 12 oz shredded cheddar, slurry: 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch.  low to med heat until desired thickness.
I came up using evaporated milk in a lot of ways but this is a first.

Thanks.....

mimi
 
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Have you tried adding more fat i.e. in the initial stages of making the sauce? 
 

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