You can’t make a cheese sauce with skim milk

10 10 2007

I was making mac and cheese for the boys the other day when I got this great idea. “I’ll just make a nice cheese sauce and pour it over the pasta when it’s done.” (Let me say at the beginning that there were no blue boxes in the house, so I was on my own.) Usually I wait until the mac is done cooking, drain it, and then put in some cheddar cubes, milk, and butter. This time I decided to make the cheese at the same time as the mac.

I got off to a bad start when the milk almost boiled over. Yes, a mere quarter cup of milk almost boiled over. Skim milk, remember, plus a pat of butter. So I put in the cheese and let it sit so it could melt a little.  When I came back to it two minutes later I was greeted by what appeared to be baby vomit mixed with cottage cheese.

The only reason it wasn’t a complete disaster was that I never poured it over the pasta.  When the pasta was done cooking I proceeded just like normal. Instead of skim milk I used half n half, and it turned out fine. Later that evening there was a Good Eats episode on mac and cheese. Alton said something about cheese clumping when it melts too quickly. So I’m not sure if it was the milk or the high heat that did me in. Probably both.

As I was washing it down the sink I thought to myself, “I should take a picture of this, it would be a great story for my blog.”



2 responses

11 10 2007

Proof positive that mac and cheese should only come from a blue box. 🙂 Well, at least if you ask my picky children.

11 01 2008

Of course you can make cheese sauce with skim milk. You just need to make a roux (flour and butter) then add the milk a little at a time, making sure that it incorporates before you add some more. Once you reach about the right consistency, cook it for about 20 min stirring constantly. Add your cheese. You could add less of a more flavorful cheese and make a lighter cheese sauce. A shot of white wine, some tabasco, worcestershire sauce, S&P, and a bit of mustard powder will make it taste better too.

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