Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Note About Making Baked Mac & Cheese with Pre-Shredded Cheese

Just a brief note to anyone making baked macaroni and cheese. If you are wondering if you can use pre-shredded cheese in the cheesy sauce, don't do it! Prepackaged shredded cheeses have anti-clumping agents like potato starch added. These other ingredients are usually disclosed on the label, but it's safe to assume that all pre-shredded (not block) cheese contains them. Their purpose is to keep the cheese from sticking to itself so you can pour it out of the bag freely. As a side effect, they make baked macaroni and cheese sauce have a terrible texture.

The potato starch will make your cheese sauce taste gritty. If you prefer to sprinkle cheese over the top it will also affect how this cheese melts and browns in the over during baking. While you will still be able to eat the resulting dish, be prepared for a gritty (potato-like) feel in your mouth with every bite. It completely ruins the creamy smooth cheesy goodness that should be baked macaroni and cheese. Just discovered this the hard way. Lesson learned. Do yourself a favor and get a nice block of sharp cheddar. No prepackaged cheese.

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