I'm gonna show you a couple of ways to do a homemade stove , top mac and cheese that is every bit as silky smooth as the stuff you get from a box .
The reason that stuff is so smooth is because of emulsifying salts .
Usually sodium phosphate and or sodium citrate .
These have the effect of kind of unfurling the milk protein caine , which is then able to bind with both water and fat .
It brings the two phases together into a protein web .
A thick luscious sauce far smoother than a normal homemade cheese sauce brought together with starch .
One way to get your own emulsifying salts at home is to use processed cheese .
This is called American cheese here in the US , the Brits call it a cheese slice .
It's usually cheddar and maybe Colby cheese all ground up and then reconstituted with emulsifying salts that make it unnaturally smooth melting .
There's actually enough sodium phosphate and citrate in here to emulsify a bunch more cheese and milk .
So I'm gonna use half American cheese and half something else .
Any real cheese that is reputed to melt reasonably well is gonna work here .
That's generally gonna be a semi firm cheese and I would use something strong and distinctive .
I think that's the whole point of doing this .
Instead of making mac from a box smoked cheeses , work great smoke go or smoked cheddar , sharp cheddar .
The cheddar in American cheese is comparatively young .
And bland jack cheese would be a more mild choice .
A semi firm blue cheese would be really funky .
But I'm gonna go with this semi firm goat's milk cheese .
This will bring a nice acidic twang .
I'll grate that up the recipe .
I'm gonna show you makes one large dinner size portion or it would serve 2 to 4 people as a side dish .
You can multiply it as needed .
We need one half cup of grated cheese packed packing it down helps you get a more accurate measurement by weight .
We're looking for about 50 g of real cheese and we need a roughly equal quantity of processed cheese .
That'll be about three of these slices , get some water on the boil for your macaroni , big pinch of salt in there .
And I'm gonna use Elbow macaroni , which is the classic choice , at least in America though I will use a larger size than what Kraft gives you in the box .
When the water is boiling that goes in , I'm putting in a quarter of the box that's a quarter pound , a quarter of a 500 g box in Europe , for example , would be 100 and 25 g or like 10 more grams than this .
But this is not an exact science .
Just cook that as long as the instructions say in this case , that's seven minutes , which is the perfect amount of time to make our cheese sauce into a cold pan .
Goes our grated real cheese and our torn up processed cheese with just under half a cup of milk , 100 mils and then 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter depending on how rich you like it .
Two tablespoons would be like 30 g .
Turn the heat on about medium high and then you have to stir this constantly until it has melted smooth .
It'll just take a few minutes , but you have to stir it constantly to make the emulsion form .
Here's what happens if you don't stir constantly .
I've ignored this for a couple of minutes and now I'll stir it up .
Everything's melted .
But you can see on the side of the pan there how grainy the sauce is and it's totally loose and watery .
The emulsion never formed the sauce curdled .
It's broken .
People have ways of fixing this , but I don't think any of them really work .
Let's just start over 100 mils or a little less than half a cup of milk in a cold pan .
You might try starting with like a third of a cup .
You can always add more later .
If the sauce is too thick for your liking , I'll tear in my three slices of American cheese .
There's my half a cup packed of grated real cheese .
We're looking for 100 g of cheese total and my 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter heat goes on medium high .
And this time we'll stir it constantly and check it out .
The emulsifying salts are going to work on the milk proteins , exposing the hydrophilic and lipophilic ends of those proteins which will then join up with the water and fat molecules in the pan .
After a few minutes of constant stirring , we've got a smooth , stable thick emulsion , probably too thick .
I was conservative with my milk up front .
By the time this cools to eating temperature , it'll be gluey .
It should look a little too loose when it's very hot .
So I'll just stir in a little bit more milk .
If you overshoot on the liquid , if it seems too thin , you can just melt in a little more of the processed cheese .
You could use the real cheese instead .
But at some point , you would exceed the emulsifying power of the salts in there .
So it's safer to adjust with the processed cheese .
Noodles are done .
I'll just drainin them .
I usually drain through a gap in the pot lid .
That way , I don't have to get a strainer , dirty , dump that in and there we go .
If it looks a little too soupy at this stage , that's good .
The sauce will thicken as it cools to eating temperature .
You could taste this and then add any seasonings you want .
I usually don't think it needs any additional salt .
But you might , if you wanted to make this slightly less of an empty calorie bomb , you could do what I do for my kids , which is stir in some frozen peas directly at this stage .
They'll thaw instantaneously in the pot real good .
In the second half of this video , I'm gonna show you how to make this If you don't have access to processed cheese slices , and I'll show you some ways to make it a little bit more interesting or flavorful .
But I do love the simple version sauce as smooth as honey , which happens to be the sponsor of this video .
Honey is a free extension that you install on your web browser .
And whenever you shop online , it'll find promo codes that will save you money .
It takes two clicks to install for free and I'll show you how it works .
Mac and Cheese isn't my guiltiest pleasure .
My guiltiest pleasure is Papa John's the kids love the breadsticks .
So I go online to order and when I get to the checkout page , honey pops up and asks if I want to try some coupon codes .
It does its thing and boom , I just save 20% on this order .
It's that easy and it'll help you get the best deals at Amazon Grubhub Walmart , Target Nintendo .
Almost any place you could think of .
You can also go to join honey dot com and browse for deals there .
Honey does not sell your personal information .
They get a sales commission from the companies you shop from .
That's how they make money .
There's literally no reason to not use honey for everything you buy online , it's free to use and installs in just two clicks .
Get honey for free at join honey dot com slash Raia .
That's join dot com slash Ragu link is in the description you'll be doing us both a favor .
Thank you , honey .
Ok , let's say you can't get processed cheese slices or say you don't want to use them .
You only want to use high quality real cheese .
Well , you can buy your own emulsifying salts on the internet .
This is sodium citrate , it's cheap and it lasts forever in your pantry .
It tastes like slightly tart salt which makes sense .
It is the sodium salt of citric acid .
Same basic recipe .
We need 100 g of cheese total .
I'm gonna go with my favorite cheese combination for mac and cheese which is smoked , go and super sharp cheddar , but get creative and use whatever combination of semi firm cheeses you like again , same basic recipe .
I'm looking for one cup of packed shredded cheese or 100 g total .
It's nice to have a little extra in case you decide you want to add some more .
You could also just scatter some over the top at the end for some textural contrast water on the boil with a big pinch of salt .
And speaking of textural contrast , let's make a little breadcrumb topping .
Stove top Mac does not have the naturally brown top you get on baked Mac so it can be a little homogenous and boring to eat .
We can fix that by melting some butter in a pan and browning some bread crumbs in it .
I'm doing like half a cup of panco into a couple of tablespoons of butter .
You could use any bread crumbs , but Penco is the Crispiest .
This would be enough to for a whole family meal of mac and cheese .
A whole box of noodles .
My recipe times four .
If you're just making one or two portions , I do like a quarter of this topping and I absolutely would just eyeball it .
Heat is on medium high and I'm stirring constantly when it starts to brown , it'll happen very fast .
And that's when you can optionally stir in some herbs and spices .
I'm just doing a little herbs to Provence blend , use whatever , but cooking it a little bit at the end here helps to intensify the flavor .
Just be careful about burning it nice and brown all the way through .
I will dump that onto some paper towels to cool off and drain the paper towels will ensure that they're still crispy when we eat again .
A quarter pound of the elbows into the boiling water .
A quarter of a box , one big dinner size portion or a few portions of a side dish into my cold pan , goes half a cup of milk .
I usually put in a little bit less to start with because I can always add more later .
The exact amount of moisture you need could depend on the cheese you're using , you could use evaporated milk for a sweeter flavor .
Or alternatively , you could just use water if you have trouble digesting lactose , there's comparatively little lactose in the cheese .
Now , my recipe in the description calls for a teaspoon of sodium citrate like 4 g , but just like the milk .
I'm putting in a little less than a teaspoon because I can always add more in goes my packed cup of grated cheese , 100 g and 30 g of butter .
A couple of tablespoons that you could use less heat on medium high and remember stir it constantly .
It'll just take a few minutes and look at that .
Don't take it past a simmer .
It could burn easily .
I'm gonna turn the heat off .
If it's too thick , you can add more milk .
If it's too thin , you could put in a little more cheese or a little more sodium citrate .
The sodium citrate acts like a thickener in a cheese sauce like this .
But remember that it's salty .
You could oversea your sauce with it .
I think this looks perfect as is I like my sauce on the thick side .
I'll drain off those noodles and in they go another way to loosen .
This would be to let some of the boiling water go in with the noodles .
Remember if it looks a little too loose at this stage ?
That's good .
It'll thicken as it cools .
Now is when I would consider adding some additional flavors .
I'm gonna go with like a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder and mustard powder , a quarter teaspoon of mustard powder .
I'll take off the shaky lid thing .
You could go with the whole mustard if you wanted to .
I love that .
But remember it's acidic so it ends up making this taste more like pasta salad than mac and cheese , which is not a bad thing .
It's just different with a baked mac and cheese .
You have to guess about the flavoring amounts , but with the stovetop mac , we're flavoring the finished product .
So we don't have to guess when you just mix in a little bit , taste it mix in a little more until we like it .
You can't lose into a bowl that goes and scatter on that beautiful crispy topping .
Now , we've got some nice heterogeneous texture .
Each bite is a little bit different .
That is so good .
And it took 15 minutes start to finish .
Don't be scared about using the amazing food additives that science half rot .
You're probably eating emulsifying salts all the time in processed foods .
There's sodium citrate in soda , for example , you're probably consuming it anyway , you might as well .
Use it to get the most preternaturally gooey smooth cheese sauce you've ever made ?
Go Science .