Food - Drink
The Most Important Tip To Prevent Curdled Mac And Cheese Sauce
Mac and cheese is a simple and flexible dish, but in a recipe with just a few components, it's important to get everything right, and a grainy, curdled cheese sauce can ruin the whole thing. This curdling reaction is a result of overheating the cheese's proteins, which causes them to separate from the fat and water in the sauce.
One way to avoid curdled mac and cheese sauce is by tempering, or combining two ingredients with different temperatures and slowly bringing them to the same temperature, so there is no shock or coagulation. To try this, boil milk for your sauce's roux, then take the milk off the heat and let it cool before stirring in the cheese.
Another way to avoid curdled sauce, per Sara Moulton, is by finely grating your cheese before adding it to the other hot ingredients, so that you don't require as much heat to melt it. Grated cheese melts faster due to its higher surface area, which lowers the risk of your overheating the sauce while you try to make it smooth and even.