Any cheese—Gruyere, blue, goat—can melt as evenly as American-style cheese, with this revelatory recipe from the cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, the home-cooking follow-up to their six-volume Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Of this recipe, they write: “By using sodium citrate, an emulsifying salt, you can make any cheese into slices that melt as perfectly as American-style sandwich cheese does. These slices are perfect for hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetables, apple pie, or any other dish needing a melted cheese that doesn’t separate. You can either form the cheese into a thin sheet, or mold it into a cylinder or block for slicing later.”
Cheese keeps for 10 days when refrigerated, or up to 2 months when frozen
- 1⁄2 cup (115 g/115 mL) cold wheat beer or water
- 14 grams sodium citrate
- 3 cups (200 g) Gruyère cheese, grated
- 3 cups (180 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, or lightly oil the sheet, and place it in the oven to warm while you prepare the cheese.
- Combine wheat beer and sodium citrate in a pot, stir until dissolved, and then bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Gradually add shredded cheeses to the simmering liquid. Use an immersion blender to blend in each addition until it has melted and is completely smooth.
- Pour the liquid cheese mixture onto the warm baking sheet. Tip the sheet as needed to form an even layer. Alternatively, pour the cheese into a mold coated with cooking spray.
- Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fully set, at least 2 hours.
- Cut into rounds or squares 3″ (7.5cm) across. Place plastic wrap or parchment paper between the slices to prevent them from sticking together, and store refrigerated or frozen.