hot-holding soups

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Joined May 8, 2009
It's really going to be a specific recipe post, but I didn't post it in recipes because I need it to hold at a high temp for a long period of time (say, 4-5 hours), which I think is more of a "professional" question than not.

I've never appreciated this particular soup and I usually just kinda chuckle to myself whenever someone proclaims that the are going to make "the best beer & cheese soup that you've ever had!". It is great for about 30 minutes then it breaks... can't serve it. $$$ down the drain.

I've never been able to pull off a cheese soup that will hold on line; kinda gave up years ago.

So, I'm humbly asking for a recipe, or really, just a method, for a cheese based soup that won't break after a few hours being held hot.
If it helps at all, the soup gets made and half of it gets held hot while the other half gets cooled and then re-heated later. Two 4-inch half pans all told.

I'm sure someone here has a fool-proof method.
Also, I did scour the search engine and found nothing that compared to this particular question, so...
TIA
 
406
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Joined May 8, 2009
That's part of the problem: I'm NOT doing it. There is a designated soup person who makes the soup de jour. I'm his supervisor, and it would be easier for me to simply give him suggestions rather that dictate a specific recipe. There are ego's to be dealt with and 'suggestion' is the preferred method in the institute in which I am employed.

I believe the method right now is:
bacon and onion
add flour
add cream/chx stock
add beer
simmer
add shredded cheddar/jack

...and honestly, that is how I would think to make it, but I wouldn't expect it to hold.
The GM asked me to check google and peers.
Her thought was to make a white sauce, cheese and dilute it with beer and other liquids. Sounds like it would work too.
I'm just looking for an honest recipe. Not trying to get out of doing the leg work, (I could get payed to toy around with it forever), just don't want to throw away more cheese. stuff's expensive.
..and sure, there are lots of recipes online, just none from people whose opinion I respect (that means YOU, cheftalk poster; don't let it go to your head:)).
 

kuan

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Staff member
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Well you know you can just buy cream soup base. (there goes the respect)
 
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
If from this you mean you add your cheese as its simmering then your problem is that you're adding it too hot.

Fix is simple: Add the (very finely grated) cheese as its cooling and stir as little as possible (unless you want it stringy). And add an acid (acids help seperate the proteins, and prevents them from forming lumps).

Suggested recipe:

Fry bacon/onion
Add flour
Add stock
Simmer. Turn off heat.
Add beer.
Add a touch of lemon or wine.
Add cheese.
 
406
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Joined May 8, 2009
Well now you're just poking at me :)
as a retired chef, Kuan, surely you have an answer...
or at least an opinion on cheese based soups.
Help a noob. We'll appreciate it!
 
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Joined May 8, 2009
truth be told, I absolutely HATE cheese soups and want nothing to do with them and I think that beer/cheese soups are pretentious and horrible, but I was sent on a quest, and I have to follow through on it.
Main question being asked: How do you hold a cheese soup w/o it breaking?
Impossible?
That's what I thought.
Please, though, prove it wrong.
 
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
I'm almost certain- apart from the beer and stock (and bacon)- this is basic fondu (certainly not impossible!).

If you don't want to gamble money on my words. Try it in a small batch, if it doesn't work; let me know- I'll try and figure out why.
 
1,354
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Joined Aug 7, 2008
Why in Gods green earth would you put lemon in a beer and cheese soup? That's likely the culprit.
You also need to watch the temperature as it sets.
There is no reason you can't hold a cheese soup with out it breaking.
 
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
Same reason why you would put lemon (or wine) in a fondue:

It keeps the proteins apart, and prevents them from binding into clots.
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
lol, beer and cheese soup is yummy good ,especially if you have a little potato in there.

I also suspect that Chris is correct in his deduction that you are adding the cheese while it is still too hot. Just like homemade mac'n cheese, if your base cream sauce is too hot the oil will run right out of the cheese leaving you a gloopy mess. Sure you can stir up a storm and get it to emulsify a bit but you are really just kidding yerself.

I would use Chris's recipe but without the flour (my wife is gluten intolerant and have found that with peeled and finely shredded potato it makes a nice thickener without that glazed cornstarch look, not that i haven't used cornstarch in a pinch) Also no soup looks that great after a 4 hour hold, while clam chowder tastes better it doesn't look as nice.
 
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Joined Aug 7, 2008
A fondue is prepared to order and not being held or at least one would hope that is the case. A fondue also considerably thicker. Clotting should not be an issue in a soup. Assuming the OP was using milk as a base and not heavy cream then seperating proteins may have been killing the soup.
 
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Joined Sep 23, 2009
You'll have to forgive me if this isn't possible, I've never had or made a beer and cheese soup.


Are you keeping a large batch of soup hot then portioning and flashing to order? Or are you bringing a portion of soup up to temperature for every order?

If your bringing a portion of soup up to temperature, could you not add the cheese to order?
 
3,355
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Joined May 29, 2006
I have tried the Le Gout brand base and must sayit is not bad however what happens is the oil and fat in the cheese seperates at two extreme a temp. To hot on any soup will cause seperation.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2009
Let's not forget HACCP in the conversation. You should only hot-hold for two hours max (UK law); it's better to heat a batch every hour or so instead of heating a hugh quantity and holding for an entire service.
 
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Joined Apr 17, 2006
I'll get crucified for this, but I use cheese sauce and add more cheese to it. I make a roux, add some cream, then the beer and cheese sauce and more grated cheese with a little garlic and white pepper, salt to taste and a small dash of cayenne. People love it and it never breaks.
 
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Joined May 8, 2009
okies.
thanks a lot, folks.

I'll have them try some of the suggestions. If all fails, I'm definitely not opposed to sneaking in a can of cheese sauce and doctoring it up, and I certainly wouldn't crucify someone for suggesting it. :) I worked for a chef who made his clam chowder with non-dairy creamer. People loved it. Of course, this was at a processing camp in AK. heh

Anyhow, in a perfect world I would personally make each bowl of soup to order, but the truth is that we can only re-heat soup two or three times a day. If there were any other option, believe me, I would opt for that; it's just another restriction that we have to work with. Small kitchen: big dining room: busy place.
And Pembroke, that rule is news to me. I don't even remember the CDC saying anything about that...? Bringing food up to temp and then NOT hot holding, yes, there is a time line, but only being able to hold hot food hot for a designated time period is new to me (unless said food is on a buffet line)...
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2009
THe hot holding times are designed to address buffet style service but obviously apply to all hot-holding; plenty of buffets serve soup....In the UK the same two hour rule applies to ambient buffets after which time left overs have to be discarded.
Merry Christmas!
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
You should call Tate & Lyle and ask about using a modified food starch. They have plenty of starches you can use. You might have to ask for a small sample and then order 50# at a time.
 

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