Help!! lumpy cheese sauce

I tried to make some cheese sauce in a double boiler and it came out curdled, what did I do wrong I added shredded cheddar cheese, milk and a little butter. I sure could use some advice.

I am a Cheddar cheese lover myself.

Working with cheeses can be tricky at times. It seems that sharp Cheddar was not meant to be melted into a sauce as easily as mild Cheddar, which still can be tricky. If the heat is too high or you leave it on too long this can happen. And once it gets near the boiling point it gets even worse!

The acidic nature of sharp Cheddar probably helped in curdling the milk. Heavy cream, with more fat, will not curdle like this.

If you want to use milk, try getting it to a simmer before taking it off the heat and whisking in the cheese in right at the end and see if that helps.

The cardinal rule for cooking with ANY cheese is “DON’T COOK IT”!

Let it boil and it will split or burn very quickly, as you saw. Unless you’re making something like Mac & Cheese you want to throw the cheese in as late as possible. You just want to melt it, not cook it. Cheddar is especially vulnerable to splitting.

To be successful with Cheddar for a cheese sauce, make a roux or a white sauce first. You know - melt butter, add some flour and whisk - not too much flour - you don’t want it gloppy.

Remember to add the grated cheese LAST and beat it in good to allow it to melt.

But - starting with a white sauce base - you will be successful.

Try this recipe:

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar or smoky flavor Cheddar cheese

Melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk, stirring until well mixed. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Cook for 5 minutes longer; add cheese. Stir until smooth and well blended. Serve with pasta or vegetables.

Makes 2 cups

Let me know if this works for you!

Kitchen Witch

Like KW says, make a roux first. Always remove from the heat before you add the cheese. From experience, make sure you have a good quality cheese. Once hubby bought this “no name” cheese and YUK !!! It separated immediately when I added it to my white sauce and I had forgotten to take it off the heat. I’ve never had a problem making cheese sauce with good quality Cheddar, and doing it off the heat.

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