I love to tell people about sodium citrate, a chemical that is similar to what the inventors of Velveeta used to keep their cheese from separating into fats and proteins. It works great for creating nacho cheese and cheese sauce at home using a few ounces of cheese, a bit of water, and some sodium citrate.
You can easily find the recipe on the Modernist Cuisine Website. I cobbled together the advice of a few different recipes to create what, effectively, tasted like beer cheese. If you want to recreate out creation follow the recipe below:
Modernist Beer Cheese:
- 265 g Dunkelweiss beer
- 11 g Sodium Citrate
- 285g (10 oz) of Vermont Sharp Cheddar (I ended up using 11.5 oz)
- 2 cups cooked macaroni (or whatever pasta you prefer)
- Combine sodium citrate and beer into a pot, whisking to dissolve, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add cheese slowly to simmering liquid, blending with an immersion blender (or just whisk really hard, like I did)
- Mix cheese sauce with macaroni/pasta
The beer is really the key difference here, the added flavor contributed by the dunkelweiss gives a distinct beer-cheese flavor that adds to the sharp cheddar flavor of undiluted cheddar cheese (we may try adding some mozzarella next time to thing the flavor a bit, it got intense). We also discussed adding garlic and roasted onions and peppers. In addition, Rebecca has promised to make some spent grain bread to go along with it (so we can mop up the extra).
If you have problems with the emulsion refer to the original recipe (linked above) and look at the tips section.