Mark McClusky, Wired magazine’s special projects editor, adapted this Velveeta-like cheese recipe from the Modernist Cuisine cookbook. He melts Comté, cheddar, and Gouda cheeses, adds sodium citrate and iota carrageenan to emulsify and gel the cheeses, then pours the mixture into a loaf pan to cool. Once it sets, the cheese can be shredded to use in macaroni and cheese, or sliced to top burgers for a supremely melty and gooey cheese. Watch McClusky make the cheese and use it in a grilled cheese sandwich in his My Go-To Dish video for CHOW.com.
Special equipment: Because the amounts of the chemicals used in this recipe are so small, we recommend a digital ingredient scale that weighs down to the hundredths of a gram to measure out the sodium citrate, iota carrageenan, and salt.
You will need a 9-by-5-inch silicone loaf pan for this recipe. A metal loaf pan can also be used, but you’ll need to line the inside with parchment paper first in order to easily remove the cheese.
What to buy: Sodium citrate (a.k.a. sour salt) is a preservative and emulsifying salt that helps keep the fat and water from separating in the cheese. Iota carrageenan is made from farmed and processed red seaweed. It gels and thickens very well in the presence of calcium and also helps the cheese hold up to freezing and thawing.