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Nacho time!

The urge to make nachos overtakes you, and you set to make them excellent.

But alas, seems like you've forgotten to get milk! You can't create a proper Mornay (cheese) sauce, since you can't create Bechamel.

You do, however, happen to have a very good stock at hand.

Thus, the question - would you be able to make a veloute sauce (roux + stock) and add the cheese to it to create some form of Mornay? Or would that sauce just not work?

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    I think this question would benefit from some information on what you consider a cheese sauce that "works". It is, after all, technically possible to make a nacho cheese sauce without béchamel or even roux. It'll clump and start to stiffen as it cools, but it would still be functional as a cheese sauce with occasional heating.
    – Onyz
    Mar 16, 2021 at 16:42
  • There exist milk-less cheese sauce recipes. A quick search found one that uses a cornstarch slurry, not a roux. But the "light cream cheese" might also be integral to it.
    – Joe
    Mar 16, 2021 at 16:44
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    By "work" I mean won't break, fall apart, or just result in cheese suspended in water. Basically, how close can we get to a Mornay without milk :-) Also, the cornstarch slurry one seems promising, will check it out!
    – Gilgoldman
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

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You don't need milk. There are two common ways to help prevent the sauce from splitting on you -- starch (used in mornay), and acid.

When Alton Brown did his "Good Eats: Reloaded", he admitted that his original recipe for fondue was a problem ... he had used a more acidic hard cidre, which meant it worked fine for him, but caused major problems for people trying it at home. His updated fondue recipe calls for both cornstarch and lemon juice.

This also typically means that "processed" cheeses won't break (as they typically contain a little bit of starch and acidic salts), and that pre-shredded cheese has less problems (as they coat it in starch to prevent it from clumping back together). So if someone develops a recipe that works for them, but you shred your own cheese, it might not work.

I suspect that adding cheese to veloute would work, but you want to work the cheese in slowly, over a moderate amount of heat, and you may wish to add a little bit of extra acid for insurance.

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  • Also see seriouseats.com/2017/01/… .... as they mention some of the "emulsifying salts" that can be used
    – Joe
    Mar 16, 2021 at 19:31
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    I use sodium citrate, it works very well, is easy to find and is relatively cheap Mar 16, 2021 at 20:07
  • Is there any reason to add cornstarch if using a roux? Since the flour (that’s part of the roux) contains about 80% starch, I would assume that also adding cornstarch wouldn’t be necessary.
    – runeks
    Dec 31, 2022 at 9:31
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    @runeks: I would think that it would serve the same purpose. Cornstarch typically doesn’t need to be cooked down, so can be added later in recipes if necessary
    – Joe
    Dec 31, 2022 at 14:38
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By coincidence, last night I made a soup involving stock, potatoes, and aged Irish cheddar cheese. While the recipe had milk, it was added after the cheese was completely melted. The cheddar melted and distributed through the soup easily and uniformly before I added the milk.

Based on this experiment, I'd say that veloute' with cheese should be possible, and that the only things required to get good dissolving of the cheese are lots of starch plus the right temperature (85-95C). Acidity is apparently not a requirement, nor is using processed cheese products, if you have enough starch.

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