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08/31/2017

~ Say Cheese: How to Make Velveeta from Scratch ~

IMG_3351Scrootch over homemade mozzarella and ricotta -- make some extra space in the cheese section of the refrigerator.  Two days ago, my friend Teresa shared "a link to a link" for today's recipe on Facebook.  I could barely compose myself.  I,  Melanie Preschutti, almost always being of sound mind, always have, and always will be:  a Velveeta cheese lover.  Everything from its pale-orange color to its squeaky-smooth texture and tangy American-processed flavor appeals to me.  

Teresa's Facebook share couldn't have been more timely for me.  The college football season started this week, and, living in one of our nation's premier tailgating towns (State College, "Happy Valley", PA, the home of the Penn State University's Nittany Lions) I'd already proclaimed it "cheese feed week" here on Kitchen Encounters.  I immediately placed Homemade Velveeta on the top of my stack of upcoming blog posts to write, and, it is with great glee, I can report:  

IMG_3344Homemade Velveeta is everything it's "cracked" up to be.

Quoting the linked article written by P.J. Hamel (10/1/14 for the King Arthur Flour blog:  Flourish):  

"The New York Daily News reports Chef Michele Weber, of Manhattan's Upper West Side restaurant Good Enough to Eat, plows through four cases of it a week, making "Crack Dip" and her house special scrambled eggs.  Chef Ron Eyester, from Rosebud in Atlanta, uses it in his restaurant mac and cheese -- it's so creamy -- but doesn't say it on the menu description.  And, last winter, when there was a shortage of this key ingredient just before the Super Bowl, the Today show urged consumers not to resort to hoarding -- their favorite queso dip could be made with substitutes.  You've probably guessed we're talking about:  Velveeta cheese."

Pass or fail, I couldn't resist giving it a whirl today:

IMG_32956  tablespoons dry milk powder

1  1/4-ounce packet (one packet) Knox unflavored gelatin

1  cup boiling water

16  ounces mild orange cheddar cheese, shredded (Note:  I used mild shredded cheddar from a big, 5-pound bag that I purchase at Sam's Club, and, after weighing out 1 pound in a Ziplock bag, I set the cheese on the counter about 30 minutes so it would not be ice cold when I used it.)

IMG_3305 IMG_3307 IMG_3312 IMG_3313 IMG_3315 IMG_3318~Step 1.  Place milk powder and gelatin in a food processor.  Use a series of 5-6 rapid on-off pulses, to briefly combine the two.  With motor running, through the feed tube, add the boiling water in a thin stream and blend until smooth.  Immediately, open the lid, add all of the cheese, return the lid and process until ultra smooth, 20-30 seconds.

IMG_3321 IMG_3324 IMG_3329~ Step 2.  Immediately, using a large spoon or spatula, scoop and divide the mixture into and between 2, 5 3/4"L x 3 1/2"W x 2"D mini-loaf pans that have been lined with plastic wrap with a lot of excess draped over the sides of the pans.*  Gather up the excess plastic wrap and form an airtight seal across the surface of the cheese.  Refrigerate until set, 8 hours or overnight.  Overnight is best.

*Note:  I decided to use the empty cardboard box from a 2-pound block of Velveeta as my mold.  It worked perfectly, it's reusable, and it's more fun -- I even put the lid on it.

Remove cheese from refrigerator:

IMG_3331Open the box (this is so much fun):

IMG_3334Remove from box & remove plastic wrap:

IMG_3339Use a cheese wire to slice & eat, or, use as directed in recipe:

IMG_3357Tightly wrap leftovers in plastic & store in refrigerator:  

IMG_3368Say Cheese:  How to Make Velveeta from Scratch:  Recipe yields 1 1/2 pounds homemade Velveeta/2 small blocks or 1 large block.

Special Equipment List:  food processor; 1-cup measuring container, 2, 5 3/4"L x 3 1/2"W x 2"D mini-loaf pans, or, the cardboard box bottom from 1, 2-pound block Velveeta cheese; plastic wrap; large spoon or spatula

IMG_3031 6a0120a8551282970b01bb09bebca1970dCook's Note: "Cheese feed week" on KE consisted of recipes for: ~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~, ~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~, ~ Creamy Old English and Pimento Cheese Crab Dip ~. Making homemade Velveeta cheese was the perfect ending -- eternal thanks to my girlfriend Teresa.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)

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