The good thing about cheese sauce is that it makes everything it touches so much more delicious: French fries, chips, baked potatoes, meat (think about the cheesesteaks). Even broccoli is better with cheese. But the bad thing about cheese sauce is that it becomes unappetizing and congealed in almost no time flat.
Enter the kitchen geniuses over at Modernist Cuisine, who have gifted the world a way to keep cheese forever melty by using sodium citrate, a naturally occurring preservative found in citrus fruits.
Things to know before you make this recipe:
- If you can’t find it in a store, you can easily find both sodium citrate and citric acid online.
- I used cheddar cheese for the recipe, but you can use any cheese that melts when heated.
- Let your imagination run wild — you can really use any liquid you’d like (just as long as you use water to dissolve the sodium citrate or citric acid)
You will need a kitchen scale that measures volume (grams) and a milliliter liquid measure for this recipe.
- 285 grams (about .625 pounds) sharp cheddar, grated
- 11 grams sodium citrate (or 2 teaspoons of citric acid + 2.5 teaspoons of baking soda)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 jalapeños, finely diced
For the cheese sauce
Add sodium citrate or citric acid/baking soda mixture to water, and stir well to dissolve completely.
Add in milk and bring liquids to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Add in cheese in small batches, whisking constantly. When all cheese is incorporated and fully melted, add in jalapeños, stir well and serve! Cheese will thicken slightly as it cools but will still be pourable at room temperature. This will keep for a week in the fridge.