I know, orange is a strange criteria, but I have a reason.
A few times a year I make a homemade baked macaroni and cheese for family (I actually prefer stovetop kind myself). I started with cheddar and Parmesan, and then moved onto Gouda, which was a hit (though from Google it seems my family is a oddity if that we prefer fresh to smoked for our mac and cheese). The store didn’t have Gouda last time, so I tried Gruyere. It reeked, and I didn’t like it. My dad was okay with it at first, but tired of quickly. Aunt and uncle seemed to like it fine. But my grandmother is the real consideration here. As we all talked about what we did and didn’t like, she said she though orange cheese was just better for mac and cheese.
I’d like to do something she likes next time, so is there an orange cheese that you can recommend that she would like, or do you think I really need to go back to cheddar to please her? That she’s thinking of it being what she had in years past and that’s the most likely for her to like? It just didn’t melt nearly as well to me.
I’ll probably alternate with Gouda after that, as it’s preferred by myself and some other family members.
Grandma is probably jonesing for Velveeta, which was originally created as means of repackaging and selling broken cheese blocks. It’s very cheese-like, it’s orange, and it melts better and more consistently than real actual cheese and thus has long been favored for use in things like sauces and mac-n-cheese.
Some possible solutions:
Use cheese favored by the rest of the family, but add a bit of orange food dye (this is pretty much what is done with all those “pasteurized process cheese products” on the supermarket shelf to get that distinctive color). This would work best if it’s really the orange color grandma is missing rather than a flavor component.
Mix something like Velveeta into the cheese you use, which will probably give you a creamier sauce and the color grandma seems to like.
Make half and half - half gouda and half Velveeta.
Make it one to time to please grandma and the next time to please the others.
Tillamook mild cheddar. Yes, it’s cheddar. Yes, it’s mild. On the other hand it is Tillamook!
Non-rhetorical question: what do you have against cheddar? Is it that you want novelty, or is it something in the flavor of cheddar you’re objecting to?
Without that qualification, I’d say that cheddar is the best cheese for mac and cheese.
I just purchased a pound of 13 year old cheddar on line and sampled it last night on a grilled cheese sandwich. It was divine! I would definitely use that or any good, sharp cheddar because the macaroni itself is so bland.
I thought I said in the original post - back when I used cheddar it was a pain to get it melt and mix in the sauce well. Grouda was much, much easier and better-melting from my perspective. So I was wondering if there were any good-melting (and good-tasting obviously, which is why I included my dislike of Gruyere- to weed out similar recs) orange cheeses. I didn’t especially prefer cheddar for taste on mac and cheese (though I eat it regularly in other ways), but have no objection to it.
I finely grated it first. It seemed to melt fine in the grilled cheese, and it’s texture/consistently seemed identical when I looked at it and then tasted it.
It is horrifying to consider, it is not even cheese, but you can get the color from orange American.
Mine also finely grated, and that wasn’t my experience. Maybe you’re just a better cook, whatever. I’m just giving my reason.
Cheddar is hard to get to melt well, but if you do melt it once and let it re-solidify, then the next time, it’ll melt much better. And that’s all Velveeta is: It’s cheddar that’s been melted once and allowed to re-solidify. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in using it.
There shredded cheddar that includes shreds of cream cheese. That melts really well.
Personally, I have no issues with Velveeta. A blend with Velveeta and another cheese might give a great combination of meltiness, texture, color, and depth of flavor.
The mac & cheese I make that is to die for uses a mix of cheddar, parmesan and Velveeta. It also has dashes of tobasco and mustard.
Oh yeah, and a bit of paprika, which is only on the top for color. But I wonder if it could make your mac more orange?
Velveeta isn’t near as orange as the orange powder in the boxed stuff. I don’t know how much it would darken a mac & cheese made with white cheeses. The ones I make is orange but still not as deep orange as the one out of the box, and it has orange cheddar!
I can see the color affecting the taste for someone.
To get a different color, you could always go with annatto. I assume it’s something that can be purchased by itself. I get it through my love of Goya Sazon, which I use in lots of savory dishes, but that is more than a coloring. It’s also spices and MSG.
Martha Stewart ( I know…) has a recipe that solves the blandness - it calls for fresh grated nutmeg and cayenne along with the cheddar and guyere.
To help melt the cheddar evenly, start with a roux.
I must protest. American cheese IS REAL CHEESE.
We’ve had this conversation before. There really is a cheddar-like cheese called “American” that is actual cheese. There are also many, many “American cheese flavored” processed cheese products, which leads to much confusion.
One indication of which is which is that slice of real cheese remain slices even when in contact with each other. “Cheese product” slices melt back into each other, hence the need to wrap individual slices of such a thing.
I agree the traditional orange color of actual American cheese is artificial. You can now get undyed American cheese which is considerably paler, approaching actual white.
I generally use Velveeta as the base and add more flavorful cheese to it. These dq S, though, I have powder d cheddar, so I do a bechamel and add that, along with some stronger cheese.
You do know that Amazon carries kilo-sized containers of powdered cheese for just this purpose?
For when you absolutely, positively need sunglasses to eat it.
You can’t actually find slices of “cheese product”. Kraft Singles aren’t even slices. They’re poured into those little plastic envelopes and then solidify.
Kraft Deli Deluxe slices are ‘cheese product’ if I’m not mistaken, but they are not singly wrapped.
I use Land 'O Lakes yellow American cheese from the deli counter.