Creamy mac and cheese help

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by scribble, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. scribble

    scribble

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    I have tried to make a creamy mac and cheese but everytime it comes out grainy textured.
    The closest recipe i have uses the following

    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup flour
    salt, pepper, and garlic granules
    2cups milk
    2 cups half & half
    2 10oz blocks of sharp chedder
    1 10 oz block of extra sharp chedder
    1 lb pasta

    In a skillet our sauce pan melt butter and then gradually stir in flour until smooth about 2 min. add in salt, pepper, and garlic and mix. Add the milk and half & half gradually until combined and continue cooking and whisking for 8-10 min or until thick. add 1/2 the sharp cheddar and the extra sharp cheddar until combined. remove from heat and combine with cooked noodles. Pour into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over it. Bake @ 350 for 20 min.

    I think the mixture appeared to be a little grainy before even adding the cheese.

    I appreciate any help offered,


    Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk 2
     
  2. scribble

    scribble

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    One thing I just thought of is that I use skim milk and the half and half is fat free, could this be contributing to my problems. I cook this on a medium-high heat
     
     
  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Stop with the fat free liquids as they are just white colored water and good full fat hard cheese will break when added to this boiling base.
    Is there some reason why the fats in the cheese are ok but the fat in milk are not?
     
  4. scribble

    scribble

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    You know I don't think I even realized the cheese was not fat free when I purchased it. I am trying to cook healthier for the family but I know that just setting portion control for anything is the big key. I will try and make a smaller batch this weekend with whole products and see how it goes.
     

    So just change to whole milk and half/half and I should be ok?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  5. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    IMO mac n cheese is one of those comfort casseroles that are best when a one cup serving clocks in at about a thousand calories ;-)
    When we do indulge it stands in for the entree with steamed broccoli (sans butter.. salt and fresh ground pepper only, IMO) for the side to please My Gma Van.
    Now for some tips..
    Make a recipe and a half of the cheese sauce, under cook the elbows, and this will leave 'room' for the pasta to absorb some of the cheesy goodness without risking mushy noodles.
    Garlic is but one way to punch up this dish.
    Mustard powder is one.
    Onion powder, nutmeg are couple more.
    Here in the south a whisked egg or two, added in before popping into the oven will lighten things up a bit..
    Butter soaked bread crumbs, sprinkled on about 10 min before dish is done makes for a nice garnish.
    Enjoy!
     
  6. dobzre

    dobzre

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    I don't make a roux period.

    Boil your pasta drain it add it back to the pot.

    Add heavy cream a few bay leaves, cloves, a dab of chicken base and bring to a boil.

    Remove from the heat and add grated cheddar cheese, fontina, and parmeasan and stir to melt.

    Season with salt and pepper and garlic powder, cayenne, nutmeg.
     

     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  7. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    I’ll throw my hat in …

    Mac and Cheese is not meant to be a fat-free, IMO. 

    You could purchase something like Trader Joe’s brand,

    I think it’s called, ‘guilt free mac and cheese’ in their freezer case, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    As to your orginal question as too why yours came out grainy, IMHO, it may be the cheese.  Bargain brand cheese could very well be your culprit. 

    I personally use Cook’s Illistrated/America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country recipe and buy the best cheese I can find.
     
  8. scribble

    scribble

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    I figure since I am WI we have the best cheese around.  I am not sure what one considers a good brand of cheese?
     
  9. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    The first ingredient listed should be cream or milk.
    If oil is there anywhere run for the hills :-(
     
  10. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    IMO, softer cheeses along with less cheddar
     
  11. scribble

    scribble

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    I know all the cheese I use doesn't list oil but I have always just used cheddar. I am not very versed in cheese as it not high on my list of things I like in some forms.

    I get allot of grief as I am from WI and I only like mac with cheese, and baked cheese.  I am not a fan of raw, cream, or even on a burger I don't care for it.
     
  12. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Chedder is perfectly fine altho for a creamy sauce ya gotta start with a roux based cheese sauce.
    Easy tho.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  13. scribble

    scribble

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    please expound on this last comment.
     
     
  14. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    You like creamy mac and cheese.
    You are also partial to cheddar.
    In order for the cheese to melt and not have a pool of fat on top, you will first make a roux , add the cream while whisking , now you have a cream sauce to which thd shredded cheese is added a handful at a time.
    Do not boil this sauce as you could very well break it leaving you with a greasy , lumpy mess.
     
  15. scribble

    scribble

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    OK that makes sense, that is how I did the initial process. I am going to try and make  small batch tomorrow evening with regular milk and regular half/half or cream. 
     
     
  16. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    You're using too much flour.  I know I know, roux is equal parts butter and equal parts fat - however I find that I can make a super creamy mac and cheese by reducing the amount of flour and it still holds together just fine without being grainy.  My mac n cheese used to be grainy and I fixed it by limiting the amount of flour and then cooking the roux a bit longer, that flour really needs time.  Not to mention that I've added other ingredients too which takes it wayyyyyy over the top in flavor (caramelized onions, bacon, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, a little thyme and a dash of nutmeg).  You'll thank me in the morning.

    As far as cheese goes, cheddar is great and belongs in a mac n cheese.  But only using cheddar is going to give you a one-dimensional flavor.  It is temperamental and it breaks easily and it needs the support of something else.  I use 1 part cheddar, 1 part colby, 1 part monterey jack.  Sometimes I add fontina too for special occassions because it adds a lot of creaminess.

    But yea dude, mac n cheese can't be made with fat free products.... I mean it can but you won't get the results you're looking for.
     
  17. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Less flour will make for a greasy roux.
    If it feels grainy cook longer altho the longer it cooks the less thickening power you will have.
    Altho not a big deal just add more cheese lol.
    Totally agree with assortment of cheese.
    Like comparing a single violin to a full orchestra.
     
  18. scribble

    scribble

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    So I will leave the my quanities the same, but I will use a array of cheeses. Is there some cheese that don't meld good together. Like I said I really don't like raw cheese so me tasting things isn't great.  I don't think I could ever make it as a chef as I am kind of a picky eater. I figure that all chefs must be a food lover of all kinds.

    based on recommendations from above, I think I will mix in some fontina, and parmesan to my cheddar.

    I am not wanting a very thick rough, just a nice creamy consistency when I am done.  The wife gets a mac and cheese dish from a local brew/pub called the Great Dane. They serve there mac and cheese with a very pale cheese sauce and a few chunks of white cheese on it when served that melts in beautifully.  I would like mine to be close to the same consistency and taste so I can make her happy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  19. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    Ask them at the brew pub what kind of cheeses they are using and go with those when you've had a chance to get your hands on them. I'm a little surprised a brew pub doesn't list what cheeses they are using in their menu description. In my experience, brew pub menus usually describe what's in their dishes with almost painful specificity. 

    Oh...and make sure you are using real parmesan. Not the stuff in a can. (I didn't have to say that, did I?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  20. scribble

    scribble

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    I only very rarely use the can stuff and it is only when I am topping some pasta dish. I never use it for actually cooking.