Cheese Sauce Problems

Joined Jan 12, 2010
Yesterday, I decided to try a homemade mac and cheese recipe.  Everything was ok until I added the cheese to the milk.  The sauce became visually cloudy and the texture was gritty.  I thought the possibly that the cheese didn't have enough heat after turning it off, but the problem still existed after popping it out of the oven.  The recipe I followed is here:  I've made an alfredo sauce before and had no problems like this.  What should I do next time to create a smooth creamy sauce?
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
[h2]Make a Bechamel sauce, add cheese, toss with cooked elbow macaroni, top with bread crumbs bake until light brown and crispy top. You may need to dbl the cheese for a Mac & Cheese, this is just a guide for a cheese sauce. I have also made Mac and Cheese by layering the mac and cheese and adding Mozzarella cheese and build a few layers and top with bread crumbs, or a bread crumb and parm mix. Happily ever after[/h2][h2] [/h2][h2]Cheesy cheese sauce[/h2]
  • 1 pint (600 ml) of milk
  • 1½ oz (40 g) of plain flour t
  • 1½ oz (40 g) of butter
  • 2 oz (55 g) of grated mature Cheddar cheese
  • 1 oz (30 g) of finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  1. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Add the flour and mix together to form a smooth paste and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Very slowly, add the milk, a little at a time, whilst continuously whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon.
  4. Continue to stir or whisk and cook over a medium - high heat until the sauce starts to thicken and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to boil.
  5. Add the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir until the cheeses melt.
  6. Add the cayenne pepper and then season with salt and freshly milled black pepper, cook gently for a few more minutes.
  7.  Stir well and then serve.
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
As ChefBilly said, start with a bechamel.  Transform that into a Mornay by adding cheese and thinning as required to get the right consistancy.  But don't put all of the cheese into the sauce or you risk it getting too thick and going grainy.  Put about 25% of the cheese into the sauce, mix 50% (grated) into the sauced pasta, and top with the remaining 25% and some bread crumbs.

I use 3 - 4 cups of Bechamel, and 1 lb cheddar, for every pound of pasta.
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
The link to your recipe didn't work.  Did your recipe call for making a roux first?  That's the key step.

Speaking of cheese sauces, I wanted to make a cheese sauce (I was going for the orangy plastic look that you find at the movie theater and other fast food places).  Anyone know of a good way to make this?  I wanted to top some broccoli, baked potato, or dip fries into it.
Joined Jan 12, 2010
Hrm.. I relooked at the link and nothing is wrong with the physical address, but the link doesn't work for me either.  But yes it does start off with a roux.

Full copy and pasted recipe in spoiler:
Almost Zov's Mac and Cheese



1 1/2 cup toasted, chunky bread crumbs  3-6 slices depending on the size of your slices)

1 stick of butter-melted

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese-grated

2 Tablespoons Italian parsley-chopped

salt and pepper to taste

  Mac and Cheese
2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided use  
1 pound large elbow macaroni  
2 tablespoons olive oil  
9 cups whole milk  
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter  
1/2 cup all-purpose flour  
6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into small cubes  
9 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded  
4 ounces finely shredded Asiago cheese  
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce  
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco  
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note from Zov: It may seem like there is a lot of cheese sauce, but the pasta will absorb all of it.


1. Mix all topping ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower third position and preheat oven 325 degrees.

3. Combine 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander; toss it in the colander with the oil to coat; set the macaroni aside in the colander while preparing the cheese sauce. Reserve the pot to make the sauce.

4. Prepare sauce: Warm milk in a large saucepan until it is hot but not boiling; cover and set aside. Melt butter in reserved large pot over medium heat until foaming. Add flour and whisk until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high and continue whisking until mixture comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. The mixture must reach a full boil to fully thicken. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove sauce from heat and gradually add cheeses, whisking until they melt completely. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. (Can be refrigerated for up to 7 days. When ready to serve, heat the sauce in a large saucepan before proceeding.)

6.  . Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Stir the cooked macaroni into the warm cheese sauce. Spoon the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top casserole with prepared bread crumb topping.

7. Bake until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly around the sides and heated through, about 30 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil the macaroni and cheese until the crumb topping is deep golden brown, rotating the baking dish for even browning, about 2 minutes.
I'll try Brian's advice and see how it turns out next time.  When you say thin the sauce what exactly are you thinning it out with?  Milk?
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Follow Chef Billy's recomendation. They are right on.  another thing is possibly check the typr of cheese you are using, high quality cheese when subject to boiling will in fact break and the oil or butterfat will seperate and the thing becomes not only oily but grainy.. By topping with buttered crumbs and baking you are making Macaroni Au Gratin. Without doing this is just macaroni & cheese. Make sure whatever cheese you use is either shredded or grated.  Alfreddo is a bit different and the true Alfredo is not a Bechamel Sauce base at least not in Italy . Here in the states we have modified it.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Grainy mac and cheese is one of two things. Starch not cooked fully or not enough starch.

Whisking well and often is also important once you add the milk to the roux.

I once had a minor "emergency" with one of the kids while making mac and cheese. The roux/milk were far from proper bechamel. A blast or two from my immersion blender brought the milk and roux into a very good bechamel, better than I'd  been making previously. Whisking is more important than many might think for this dish. I learned it that day. Here's my original post about it.
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