Thursday, February 9, 2012


I have encountered a puzzle and I'm hoping you can help me with the answer.

Why is it that macaroni and cheese tastes cheesier with mild rather than with sharp cheddar cheese? It seems to me as if the opposite should be true.

I tasted the sharp cheese I purchased for this dish before using it and it was quite zingy and tangy. But, in the finished dish, there was very little cheese flavor, even though I used fully half of the block of cheese.

The rest of the recipe was the same as I always do - soften chopped onion in butter; add an equal ratio of flour-to-butter to thicken; whisk in milk to make a white sauce; add sliced or grated cheddar cheese until melted smoothly; add cooked macaroni; top with crumbs, in this case, crushed garlic croutons; bake for about 45 minutes-1 hour in a 350F degree oven.

Usually, this process produces prodigiously cheesy results. I'm going back to a mild or medium cheddar after this, but I'm puzzled. Any thoughts?


Blogger namastenancy said...

I can't help you because I don't know but I'll be that Cooks Illustrated has done an article on it. That's just the kind of thing they like to do.

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I don't know if I can help you either, but step into my lab...
Mature cheeses and younger cheeses are presumably made from the same amount of milk. As the mature cheese ages, the tart and tang flavors come to predominate. But the young cheese will still have some flavors of milk (close your eyes and it's there), albeit fermented.
I posit that it is the taste of dairy that reminds you of cheese.
Or, you don't like aged cheese.

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, good idea, but they want $$ before showing one anything on the website.

Cookiecrumb, that's an interesting theory and that might be it. But it's not that there's too much bite in the mac, it's that there is simply no flavor of cheese whatever. I do like aged cheese and was hoping for something peppy. I'm still buffaloed.

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Anonymous Evil Empress said...

So I checked Cooks Illustrated, and I couldn't find the answer. However, I did find a class mac & cheese recipe on the CI site, that suggested you add sharp cheddar for flavor, and jack cheese for creaminess. I wonder if your M&C was just missing the creaminess... sort of along the lines of what cookiecrumb suggested.

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

How about adding some Parmesan into the mix next time, for that cheesy tang?

Thursday, February 09, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

Hmmm... I do know that older sharper cheeses melt differently. Maybe a combo of both would work better.

Friday, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Evil Empress, thanks for the research and the two-cheese option. I'll try that next time.

Ms Mouse, somewhere long ago I read that adding Parm to just about any cheese dish improves the flavor, so that's a good reminder. Thanks!

Greg, now the melting factor. And I thought mac and cheese was a simple dish! Turns out, there are many possible factors at work. Good idea.

Friday, February 10, 2012  

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