< Back to Blog
Original link:

2023-08-31 09:27:40

Silky stovetop mac & cheese with crunchy topping

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

Absolutely .

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

Again .

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 .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .

Ok .

Fine .

video content Image generated by Wilowrid

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 .


Attention YouTube vloggers and media companies!
Are you looking for a way to reach a wider audience and get more views on your videos?
Our innovative video to text transcribing service can help you do just that.
We provide accurate transcriptions of your videos along with visual content that will help you attract new viewers and keep them engaged. Plus, our data analytics and ad campaign tools can help you monetize your content and maximize your revenue.
Let's partner up and take your video content to the next level!
Contact us today to learn more.