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May 22, 2013 12:32 PM

Creamy mac and cheese: Substitute xanthan gum for sodium citrate?

I'm trying to make a super creamy mac and cheese using harder flavorful cheeses and read that adding some sodium citrate is the key to getting an extra creamy, smooth sauce. I can't seem to find any locally but can get Xanthan gum. Will that be an adequate replacement?

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  1. Not really. They don't serve the same purpose. Xanthan gum is a thickener - basically, it's a replacement for cornstarch or other thickener, but it doesn't require heat to thicken. Sodium citrate, on the other hand, is a chemical that works as an emulsifier for melted cheese, keeping it from breaking into fat+protein. Sodium citrate allows you to make a cheese sauce out of basically nothing but cheese, that won't break or become greasy. Xantham gum can't do that.

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