The sauce is able to be made with a roux (butter and flour) thanks particularly to the Velveeta cheese in the recipe. Processed cheese such as Velveeta is not made up entirely out if cheese, and contains sodium citrate, which causes processed cheese and in this case, the cheese sauce, to have such a smooth, buttery texture, and for it to melt uniformly rather than having the fats and proteins separate as many cheese often due when melted. Some very creamy non-processed cheeses can be used in replacement, however, such as fontina or brie (if using brie, be sure to cut off the rind as it will brun due to being made out of a mold).
Evaporated milk and half-and-half provide similar functionality for this recipe. The primary reasoning for their inclusion over other milks are for their creamier, thicker consistency, which greatly aids in building the structure of the cheese sauce. They also add a lot of creaminess to it as well, naturally. Evaporated milk also contains less water than low fat or whole milk, which likely helps to avoid curdling when heated up. Powdered milk can be used in replacement for both as well, as it provides similarly functioality to them, likely due to it also containing much lower amounts of water than normal milk, at least when mixed into a saturated solution.
If Velveeta were to not be used, then how would this dish change? Well, if no other suitable cheese was used as a substitute for Velveeta, it would very likely result in a much less consistent dish that lacks much structure. The evaporated milk and half-and-half likely would not have formed a sauce either, meaning the dish overall not be kept-together and would contain curdled milk and chunks of cheese. Definitely not ideal for a macaroni and cheese dish!
- Pour the chicken broth into a cooking pot. Place the pot onto the stove and turn the heat up to high, waiting for the broth to boil. While doing this, preheat the oven to 375°F. You may place a lid on top of the pot to speed up the boiling process. While waiting for the broth to boil, it may be a good idea to start shredding or slicing your cheese if you haven’t done so prior (Velveeta and fresh mozzarella do not need to be shredded however). Step 1
- Once the broth has boiled, pour the macaroni into the pot and cook until al dente (usually around 7 minutes, but may vary based off the macaroni; it’s usually on the back of the box). Step 2
- After the macaroni has been cooked, drain the chicken broth and lower the heat to medium. Place the pot on an unheated stovetop for around a single minute (to ensure the macaroni doesn’t burn) and put 2 tbsps of butter in the macaroni. Stir the butter around, and once it has melted, pour the evaporated milk and half-and-half in with the macaroni. Step 3
- Once the mixture has begun to simmer, pour in all the Velveeta, a cup of fresh Mozzarella, a cup of Muenster, and all the gouda cheese. Stir around until all the cheese has melted. Step 4
- Once all the cheese has melted, turn off the heat and butter an 8- or 9-inch pan. Step 5
- Pour the macaroni into the dish. Then, sprinkle all of the cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese on the top as evenly as possible. You may also use Muenster and fresh mozzarella to add to the top as well (slices for all cheeses are recommended from personal experience to create a nice, even sheet of cheese). If you want to have an even cheesier mac, you may pour in only half the macaroni at once and sprinkle on extra cheese before pouring in the rest to layer the dish. Step 6
- Place the dish into the oven and wait for 35 minutes (it may be longer if you want it more browned). Step 7
- Take out of oven and let rest for around 5-10 minutes. Step 8
- Enjoy! Step 9
- Achitoff-Gray, Niki. “The Science of Melting Cheese”, Serious Eats, 2021, https://www.seriouseats.com/the-science-of-melting-cheese
- Tunick, Michael. The Science of Cheese. New York : Oxford University Press, 2014
- Coop, Brittany. “The Cheesiest Macaroni and Cheese Ever”, Coop Can Cook, 2019, https://coopcancook.com/the-cheesiest-macaroni-and-cheese-ever/
- Sedghi, Sarra. “What is Powdered Milk?” All Recipes, 2022, https://www.allrecipes.com/article/what-is-powdered-milk/
- Lang, Ariane. “What is Evaporated Milk? Unsweetened Condensed Milk Explained”. Healthline, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/evaporated-milk-nutrition
- Delany, Alex. “What is Processed Cheese, and Should We Eat It?” Bon Appetit, 2018, https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-processed-cheese