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Cream sauces, cheese usage

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Good morning everyone, basically I was hoping to get some basic guide lines for correct cheeses to use in cream sauces. I have been experimenting lately and have made some a good meals and on the other hand failed miserably. My first attempt was good I made an asparagus/artichoke gorgonzola sauce, base white wine shallots ect. was very good, I think I added to much asparagus but still went over well.
My second attempt failed not sure if it was the cheese or not, I tried basically same formula with white wine, onions garlic heavy cream, but Feta cheese turned out gritty some cheese did not get incorporated to the sauce completely, after tasting I threw it away. im trying to get information so a im not wasting money on expensive cheese. any suggestions.
post #2 of 6

There are many cheeses that lend themselves to melting and incorporating well into sauce but Feta is not one of them. It's been a long time since I have really studied the aspects of the why but it has something to do with the bacteria and enzymes/acids present in cheese after it is aged.

Right off the bat, the cheeses that come to mind that lend well to melting and incorporating into sauces would be most of the softer less aged varieties like Montrachet, Brie or Camembert, richer creamer aged varieties like the Bleu vein mold cheeses you've already discovered, some of the Swiss style cheeses like Ementhaler, Gruyere and Jarlsburg (although be careful with Jarlsburg it can clump up in the mixture if you add too quickly. I'll explain more in a moment) then there is the Cheddar family and the highly aged hard cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano. There are other cheeses in this family as well like Asiago, Fontinella or Fontina that work too.

As far as when to add the cheese and how much..... Heat the cream until almost boiling (sometimes called scalded), then gradually add the cheese, in grated or shredded form. Wisk in until all the cheese is melted before adding more. For cheeses of the softer type, break into small clumps and add the same as the above.

Many of the hard or extremely aged cheeses like a 10yr cheddar will have little bits of a granular type feel after incorporating. This is the salt that has formed from the high degree of aging. It depends on ones taste but you can leave this in or run the sauce through a good chinoise to remove before serving.

There are far more cheeses available than those I just mentioned. Technique is another thing that could be expanded on as well but..... Let's start to crawl before we run. ;)

FWIW, I often wonder the validity of some of these questions. I have to say that many feel like a bait, especially with the lack of a response, but since we're here to help..... Let me just say I hope this proves helpful.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks OLDSCHOOL, your the best, that is exactly what i was looking for. I know how you feel about some of the posts here, and i was kinda shocked on the lack of feed back from this forum. I not a student or even had any type of professional training, but i do love to cook and pasta is right up there on that list. I was even thing about trying out for hells kitchen since there doing auditions here in denver this morning, but not like i can just quit my job and try to chase the to good to be true lifestyle. I thought that the feta was the problem just wasnt quite sure. Im definately going to try some of the sauces with brie they sound great. again thanks. Eric
post #4 of 6
You'll need some starch in there to prevent all the clumping and seperating. Start off with a bechamel sauce or toss the grated cheese with a little flour/cornstarch/wondra before you add it to the hot cream.

You also might want to add some acid to keep the sauce from getting stringy.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
a little off topic ( same section in store ) i keep seeing truffel brie/pate at the store in the cheese section, I really dont know if its a brie or not, i think from company (peligrod sp?) what exactly is it? truffel pate? or brie? i was thinking of try to do a sauce out of that, any thoughts good/bad?
post #6 of 6
I wouldn't use a pate in a sauce unless it was foie gras pate. It works kinda like butter. To use it in a sauce you would work it with some soft butter, and pass it through a fine sieve. You'll end up with a foie/butter paste. Right before the sauce is ready you would take a lump of your foie butter and swirl it into your sauce. Then serve (The technique for adding butter to a sauce is called monte au buerre and it is a great finish to a sauce)

I wouldn't use foie butter in a white or cheese sauce though. I think it tastes best in one of the brown sauces.

As for truffled brie, I wouldn't waste it in a sauce.
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