Homemade Velveeta

By now you've probably heard about the catastrophic Velveeta shortage that's sending super bowl menus right off the deep end... a crisis of serious culinary proportions.  But not so much here in the Circle B Kitchen.  I honestly haven't had Velveeta (I have a hard time calling it cheese) for like 40 years, but I will admit to having more than a soft spot for the stuff.  Back in the 60's I loved Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches and of course the iconic Velveeta queso dip, but by the time I started cooking for my own kids, Velveeta disappeared from our kitchen and has not made a return appearance.

So imagine my unbridled joy at seeing this recipe on the L.A. Times website this morning.  Maybe you can't imagine my joy, but just know that I had this stuff made 30 minutes later.  And it's so good, I mean it's so much like Velveeta (only better), that I had to get this up on the blog so that you, too, could bring this unprocessed version of a processed cheese product back to your superbowl table, and basically back into your kitchen.  Oh, man.  I'm sort of blissed out about this. 

So basically, all you do is grate up your cheddar cheese (as fine as you can), and dump it in your food processor.  Add in some powdered milk, salt, and cornstarch.  The recipe called for tapioca flour, so use that if you have it.  If not, I've given you the equivalent measurement of cornstarch (2:1).  Pulse that all together to combine it well.  And then in a little saucepan combine some butter, white wine and water.  Bring that to a boil and then pour it over your cheese mixture.  Process all of that until the cheese melts and it becomes all silky smooth. 

Then pour that into a 12-oz ramekin that's been lined with plastic wrap, or now would be a good time to bring out your rectangular Velveeta mold.  Refrigerate it for a few hours.   

Then just unmold it and use it however you'd like.  Personally, I just wanted to eat about 15 slices of it right then and there.  But I held back in a moment of heroic discipline cuz I'm saving it for my super bowl queso bean dip.  It's been a long time.  Here's the recipe...

Homemade Velveeta 

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from the L.A. Times

It’s hard to believe that one could possibly re-create Velveeta, that iconic 60’s processed cheese product.   But for those of us who retain fond memories of it from our childhoods, this is amazingly fun and thankfully, while it does taste like Velveeta, it’s just so much better.  The original recipe called for tapioca flour, which I substituted with cornstarch.  I also used sharp cheddar instead of the mild because that’s what I had on hand.  Perhaps that’s why it seemed so much more flavorful, but if you would really like more of a Velveeta flavor, use the mild cheddar. 

8 ounces solid mild cheddar (by weight, not volume.  See note)
1/4 cup nonfat milk powder
2 tablespoons tapioca flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water 

1.   Line a 12-ounce ramekin or similar-sized small loaf pan or mold with plastic wrap.

2.  Very finely grate the cheese and place it in a food processor. Add the milk powder, tapioca flour (or cornstarch) and salt, and pulse to thoroughly combine.

3. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, wine and water. Cover and quickly bring to a boil over high heat, 1 to 2 minutes.

4.  Immediately remove from heat and, with the processor running, slowly pour the hot liquid in with the cheese. Continue processing until the cheese is fully melted and all of the ingredients are incorporated, scraping the bowl once or twice in between processing.

5.  Spoon the cheese into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap.

6.  Refrigerate the cheese until fully set and firm enough to slice, preferably several hours and up to overnight. The cheese will keep for up to 1 month, covered and refrigerated. 

Note:  Do not use pre-grated cheese as it has a coating that will offset the texture.  And be sure to grate your cheese as finely as possible so it will melt properly.  8 oz of cheese is about 4-5 cups of grated.

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