Cheese comes in many shapes and forms, and is ever so tasty. But getting it to melt to a creamy smooth sauce is hard. Until now. Here’s the secret trick.
How it works
The natural acidity of cheese makes it lump when melting. Anyone who’s ever tried to melt cheese knows this. The creaminess we’re all striving for just ain’t gonna happen. And mixing with a liquid like beer or wine isn’t helping either. The main issue needs to be addressed, and that is to reduce the acidity. That is done by using sodium citrate.
What is sodium citrate?
Sodium citrate is also known as sour salt or citric salt. If you taste it you will find it tastes salty (obviously), but it also has a sour taste. It is produced during fermentation of citric acid.
Sodium citrates reduces the cheese’s acidity, which makes the proteins in the cheese more soluble. This is key. With the addition of sodium citrate the cheese can be melted into a creamy ’emulsion’ that doesn’t lump.
How to use
Sodium citrate can easily be dissolved in a liquid. It dissolves faster if we heat up the liquid, so that’s what we’re gonna do. And if we’re gonna use a liquid, we might as well use something with flavor: Beer.
You need very little sodium citrate in proportion to the cheese and liquid (beer). Depending on the consistency/thickness you desire you can use more or less. But a general recommendation for making a cheese dip is to use 1 part cheese, 0.5 parts liquid, 2-3% sodium citrate (by weight). Translated into real-world numbers that means 4 oz of cheese needs 2 oz of beer, and 2% sodium citrate means (4+2) = 6 * 0.02 => 0.12 oz.
If you want a thinner dip then use more liquid (but the same amount of sodium citrate). Here we’re using 50% liquid, try going up to 60-70% for a thinner sauce.
Use precision kitchen scales, it makes it all a lot easier.
- 3.5 oz cheddar cheese
- 1.8 oz beer
- 0.1 oz sodium citrate
- Grate the cheese using a grater, or chop it up in small cubes using a knife.
- Add the beer and sodium citrate to a pan and heat it up.
- Turn off the hob as soon as the beer starts to simmer. Now add the cheese and stir.