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Dec 14, 2006 01:51 PM

mac and cheese came out grainy. why?

I followed the recipe, cooking the butter and flour to make a roux, then added the milk and shredded extra sharp cheddar, then the macaroni. It came out grainy as if the cheese didn't blend correctly, and it didn't have much flavor. What did I do wrong? Too high heat? Not enough butter or flour in the roux? Please help me make a creamy mac and cheese next time.

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  1. I always add the cheese after I've taken the roux off the heat. Maybe the cheese separated.

    I use the mac and cheese recipe from Joy of Cooking and it always works well for me - very rich and creamy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SarahEats

      Agree totally about the recipe for Mac and Cheese in JOC. The instructions for the Bechamel and cheese are very clear. If the cheese doesn't have a lot of flavor, a little dry mustard can give it some bite. Use a vibrant cheddar type cheese for best results.

      Even though you were dissatisfied with your results, I imagine those for whom you cooked it ate with appreciation. Go ahead and try again. I like the advice about adding the cheese off heat, but if you aren't cooking your sauce on high heat, you shouldn't have trouble with the cheese, I think.

    2. Grainy cheese means the heat was too high. Do it like Sarah says and blend the cheese in off the heat.

      1. I agree w/ the posts above. As for flavor, a good amount of S&P is all you really need as long as the cheese is decent enough quality. Mustard powder and cayenne pepper (or Tabasco) make for good enhancements though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carb Lover

          a pinch pf fresh nutmeg is great too...

        2. Too high of heat - yes...

          A little smoked paparika is tastey in stovetop mac and cheese. Also, needs salt. I use white pepper so the kids can't tell I added pepper - they have an aversion to black specs in their mac and cheese.

          1. One way to kick up the flavor is to use crutons insteead of breadcrumbs for the crust. Also , the Gourmet cookbook has you add butter and cheese to the breadcrumbs!
            You can play around with types of cheese as well...I like a little blue.