Can someone explain...*update/question*

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  • 1 Post By curlysue21
  • 1 Post By curlysue21
  • 1 Post By Amazinnatural

why I cannot make decent mac & cheese? I have tried baking it and stove top and its either too dry or gritty or SOMETHING! I know some call for eggs and others a beschemel (sp?).

I made a simple one this evening and used pre shredded cheese with a flour/butter/milk mixture. I'm wondering if I didn't cook the flour right or the pre shredded cheese had something in it to mess it up. It was definitely creamy but the texture was a bit gritty. I hope someone can enlighten to me so I can make one good recipe in my lifetime!!
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."


Last edited by curlysue21; 01-29-2012 at 09:12 AM.
It may be the cheese you're using. Are you rinsing your pasta? It may be the starch on your pasta.

Try this:
http://www.marthastewart.com/271998/...oni-and-cheese
Ah, it all makes sense now. Goldy is the puppet master!
Originally Posted by Poodlehead
I forgot to mention I do not like Gruyere. Is there something to substitute it for?

Oh and is there a reason for slowly adding the liquid? My husband was helping and just dumped all the liquid in. I didn't know if that could account for the grittiness.
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."


Last edited by curlysue21; 11-16-2011 at 06:38 PM.
Do you not like any swiss cheeses? If its just gruyere then maybe try emmenthal?
Do you like fontina? That's a smooth easy to melt cheese that could be used if you're against swiss cheeses.
Ah, it all makes sense now. Goldy is the puppet master!
Originally Posted by Poodlehead
Yeah I'm not fond of any swiss cheese. I've heard of Fontina but never tried it. I prefer more mild cheeses. Extra sharp is as strong as I get!
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

I prefer mac and cheese to not be baked. It's creamier. I make toasted breadcrumbs for topping if I want the crunchy topping and/or sprinkle some grated cheese on top and broil until golden and crisp.

If you're making a béchamel, you add your liquid slowly to the roux to ensure smooth sauce.

Pre-shredded cheese should not be used for mac and cheese. It contains cornstarch as an anti-caking precaution, which affects how it melts and makes the dish have extra starchiness.

Gruyere is fairly mild. I don't care for Swiss (Ementaler) unless melted, but Gruyere I like. Maybe try another? But that's a separate issue. I like cheddar in mac and cheese, one that's not aged much because that type of cheddar doesn't melt well. Comte is also nice. For classic mac, a combination of cheddar and American is used. You need to get a block of American cheese though, not the crappy singles.

For fool-proof mac, Alex and Aki of Ideas in Food have it:
http://blog.belm.com/2011/04/06/anot...c-cheese-idea/
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2...nd-cheese.html

They pretty much take the restaurant approach, stovetop and then broil, which as I said, is how I prefer. It's also easier.

This is another good one:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/04/di...pagewanted=all

If you want a macaroni and cheese that keeps, that's where the béchamel comes in. The Martha recipe Goldy posted is a good one.The other recipes don't re-heat as well. Of course, I like the restaurant way for béchamel base as well. Just make the cheese sauce, cook your pasta, then when you want macaroni, heat up the sauce, put them together, sprinkle with cheese and crumbs, and broil.

Last edited by Saria; 11-17-2011 at 02:51 PM.
That first one looks great. I love pepper jack cheese. I might try that one next!

I love the contrast of the crunchy topping with the creamy cheese but my DH doesn't care for it.

What do you think about using mustard? I don't know if that's supposed to give it a tang or added flavor.

I hope you don't think I'm a total dolt.
JanieGriffon likes this.
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

The mustard adds a bit of bite and tang, some sharpness. If you like that, add it, if not, don't. You shouldn't be able to instantly taste mustard though, that means it's too much.

You can use any cheese you like, as long as you get a mix that will melt well. Otherwise you end up with an oily, grainy mess. Anything you like --- Taleggio, Gouda, Mimolette, Asiago, Pepperjack, mascarpone, parmesan. It's all about a combination of creaminess and flavor.

I like grated Parmesan on top of my creamy mac and cheese. It gets crispy under the broiler and forms a crust that gives way to that gooey, creamy interior.
I toast fresh breadcrumbs (untoasted bread broken into chunks and ground in FP or in my case, the coffee (spice) grinder until coarse) in butter in a pan over low heat until golden and crispy and then just top the macaroni with that.

I think you'll like making stovetop macaroni and cheese that just gets a quick broiling to crisp it. Baked macaroni and cheese is just dry and not creamy enough in comparison.

Last edited by Saria; 11-17-2011 at 07:03 PM.
Thanks for your help

I think I may give that fool proof recipe a try next time. Its exactly what I was looking for. Simple and straightforward. And pepper jack!
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2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

You're welcome. I hope you try it. Post with results!
why I cannot make decent mac & cheese? I have tried baking it and stove top and its either too dry or gritty or SOMETHING! I know some call for eggs and others a beschemel (sp?).

I made a simple one this evening and used pre shredded cheese with a flour/butter/milk mixture. I'm wondering if I didn't cook the flour right or the pre shredded cheese had something in it to mess it up. It was definitely creamy but the texture was a bit gritty. I hope someone can enlighten to me so I can make one good recipe in my lifetime!!
Originally Posted by curlysue21
Hmmm… I've never heard of anybody using flour in their mac and cheese, but here's the recipe my mother always used:

2 c mac noodles
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
2 pks sharp cheese blend
1/4 c butter
Dash salt/pepper

Prepare noodles, drain. Pour noodles back into pot, add eggs, milk, butter, 1 pk cheese, and salt/pepper, mix well until creamy. Pour mixture into a glass pan. Put the other pk of cheese on top, then bake for 30 mins, until done. Enjoy!

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So I'm prepared to try that recipe you posted Saria! However I do have some Harry and David semi-soft havarti cheese and didn't know if I could incorporate some of it and cut back on the other two cheeses. Or would it affect the flavors of the other two cheeses? I have no idea what to do with this cheese otherwise. Feel free to guano this thread about it. I'm too lazy to start a new one.
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

Havarti is a good sandwich cheese. It melts well, so it would replace the cheddar.
It would affect the flavor, but if you like it, I don't see that as problem. If you want, keep the ratio of Havarti to cheddar low so it will taste mostly like cheddar.

To use the Havarti, try some grilled cheese or stuffed chicken breasts (ham and cheese stuffed). Or mix some into a potato gratin.
I think I may forgo the Havarti then. I did see a few recipes using it in stuffed chicken so I think I'll save it for that. Thanks! I'll report back about how it turns out.
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

So this did get a thumbs up from the family! Surprisingly the non-mac eater went for seconds. It was definitely creamier but didn't have the silky mouth feel I was looking for. The flavors were good but again maybe a little tweak of hot sauce in place of the cayenne or maybe Dijon mustard. It did pair nicely with the tomato and cucumber salad. So far it was the most successful attempt yet!
2b/c, medium/high porosity, medium/coarse texture
Current HG: Kinky Curly errythang, GVPCB, LALSG

"I will never be the woman with perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

I'm glad it worked out. If you want a silkier mouthfeel, you might try cream instead of milk, or use a béchamel. We use cream and a béchamel for ours at work, actually.

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