Grated cheese. Picture: Supplied
Grated cheese. Picture: Supplied

How to melt cheese the right way

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Mar 9, 2020

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I love making my own macaroni and cheese but my cheese never seems to melt smoothly. 

The end product is fine, but not quite as smooth as I would like. 

I sometimes wonder if it is even possible to get it to melt completely smooth at home. 

So if you are a novice cook, like I am, do experience a similar problem with getting your cheese to melt, wikiHow says that cheese can either be melted over the stove or in the microwave and that we should make sure to choose a type of cheese that will melt and add some starch and liquid to prevent the cheese from becoming stringy. 

According to the site, below is how to melt cheese the right way. 

Grated cheese. Picture: Supplied

Selecting and preparing your cheese

Choose harder cheeses. 

Harder cheeses have a lower melting point. These cheeses are the types that are more frequently used in sauces, in dishes like grilled cheese, and as the base for soups. Cheddar, Gruyere, and Swiss cheese are great cheeses for melting.

Avoid soft cheeses

Low-fat and low-moisture cheeses, such as Parmesan and Romano, burn easily and do not melt into a dip-like consistency. Extremely soft cheeses, like feta and ricotta, will never melt and should be avoided when making melted cheese. 

Grate, shred or slice your cheese

The cheese will melt quicker if it's cut into smaller portions. Grate, shred or slice your cheese before melting it

Let the cheese come to room temperature. If you melt cheese cold, it may cause it to melt slowly or unevenly. Let your cheese sit out until it comes to roughly room temperature before you try to melt it.

Melting the cheese over the stove. Picture: Supplied

Melting the cheese over the stove

Use a non-stick skillet

Cheese can very easily stick to the side of a pan or dish during the melting process. Select a dish with a non-stick coating to melt your cheese to avoid this problem

Place the cheese over low heat

Place your cheese over the stove at low heat. Never start heating cheese on high or medium heat, as this will cause the cheese to heat unevenly.

Add a dash of cornstarch and evaporated milk

A little starch and milk keep the cheese from separating too quickly, resulting in a lumpy, uneven mixture. The amount of each will vary, depending on how much cheese you're melting, but you only need a small dash of each to keep the cheese smooth.

Add an acidic ingredient like vinegar or beer

If your cheese gets lumpy as it melts, a small amount of an acidic ingredient can help. Alcohol, like white wine or beer, works great and adds flavor. If you'd prefer not to use alcohol, however, you can try something like vinegar or lemon juice instead

Whisk the cheese continuously

Use a wire whisk or fork to continually whisk the cheese as it melts. This will mix in any added ingredients and also keep the cheese mixture smooth.

Remove the cheese as soon as it's melted

You should remove the cheese from the stove as soon as it reaches the consistency you want. Cheese has a low burning point, so melting cheese any longer than necessary can cause it to burn.

Melting the cheese in the microwave. Picture: Supplied

Melting the cheese in the microwave

Place your cheese in a microwave-safe container

Cheese is best melted in a non-stick container. However, it may be difficult to find one that fits in your fridge. A ceramic bowl or another similar container can work as well, although you may want to spray it down with a non-stick spray.

Add some cornstarch and evaporated milk

Before placing your cheese in the microwave, a little starch and evaporated milk is necessary. This will help your cheese from becoming lumpy during the cooking process. The precise amounts will vary depending on how much cheese you're melting, but you should only need a small dash of each.

Mix in an acidic ingredient 

An acidic ingredient can add flavour and help cheese stay smooth while it’s melting. White wine and beer can add flavour to cheese as it melts. If you’d prefer not to add alcohol, try something like white vinegar instead. 

Melt your cheese on high for 30 seconds. Place your cheese in a non-stick microwave-safe dish. Microwave the cheese for 30 seconds on high. Usually, this is enough time to adequately melt the cheese

Remove and stir the cheese

Stir the cheese after removing it from the oven. It should be evenly mixed with a smooth, Trump-free texture. If the cheese is still lumpy and somewhat soli, return it to the microwave. 

Melt the cheese in 5 to 10-second intervals

If the cheese is not melted after 30 seconds, remove it from the microwave, stir it, and then microwave it for an additional five to ten seconds. Keep microwaving your cheese in small intervals until it reaches the consistency you want.  

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