A rich and velvety liquid cheese sauce is one of the simplest ways to enhance the flavour of any household favourite. Cheese sauce is incredibly versatile and can be poured over anything from veggies and potatoes to pasta and meat. All cheese sauces begin with a roux, and if you want your sauce to be thicker, use milk with a greater fat content or add more cheese.
It’s acceptable to blend different cheeses together to produce a cheese sauce, but it’s important to make sure they have a similar flavour profile. Parmesan and Gruyère, for instance, are popular matches because they both have a subtle nut flavour. If you’re after a high-melt, cheeses like Gruyère, cheddar, havarti, Swiss and nacho cheese are excellent choices.
The more the fat content in your sauce, the creamier it will be. For a rich taste, use heavy cream or half of the cheese. It’s also important, whenever possible, to shred the cheese yourself. Anti-clumping chemicals like starch are commonly used in pre-shredded cheeses to keep them from sticking together in the bag. Because of the additional starch, the melting process may be hampered, preventing you from achieving a smooth texture in the sauce.
STEPS TO PREPARE THE SMOOTHEST CHEESE SAUCE
- Take a saucepan and melt the butter over a medium-low heat.
- Stir in the flour until everything is well mixed.
- Over a medium heat, stir this mixture for three to four minutes. This helps to mask the flavour of uncooked flour.
- Slowly pour the milk into the roux, stirring continually until it thickens and no lumps remain. It should be wet and thick but not too much in order to prevent it from overflowing.
- For taste, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg (this is optional).
- Toss in the cheese. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the cheese, stirring continuously. Adding extra cheese to the pan can cause the fats and milk solids to separate, resulting in a lumpy, curdled sauce, therefore gently pull out before overheating.
As the cheese melts better when it’s at room temperature, take it out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before you start preparing your sauce. Here are some frequent problems that you could encounter while creating cheese sauce.
The sauce is too thick: You don’t want your sauce to be too thick as it will thicken when you add the cheese at the end. If this is the case, add additional flour.
The sauce is too thin: Thickening your sauce can be achieved by adding extra milk or preparing a new roux.
The cheese sauce is too runny: By adding extra cheese to your sauce, you can quickly thicken it.
The cheese sauce looks grainy: As acidity breaks down the molecules in the sauce, vigorously whisking in a teaspoon or two of lemon juice can help smooth it out. Preservatives are commonly used in pre-grated cheeses to keep them from clumping, which can affect their ability to melt and give the sauce a gritty feel.
In an airtight container, the leftover cheese sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to five days. Before sealing the lid, lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the sauce to prevent developing rinds. When you’re ready to use the sauce, slowly boil it in a pot while stirring in some milk to obtain your desired consistency.
Pure Dairy is the choice brand for liquid cheese sauce in the food services industry. From leading restaurants to commercial kitchens, the Anita Cheese Sauce underpins some of Australia’s most tasty and popular cheese dishes on the menu and is also available for home use.