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Shannon Woody
(swoodyut) - F - MLife

Locale: The Front Range
Cheese - Dehydrating cheese sauce on 03/19/2010 21:36:29 MDT Print View

I make a mean mac n' cheese. Actually, several different mean mac n' cheese's. I specialize in recipes that utilize the 'white sauce' or 'bechamel' method, and do not require oven time. I also like to add in tons of veggies, broccoli and peas being the favorites depending on the cheese used.

As such, I'd like to be able to replicate some of my recipes in the backcountry... I just ordered a dehydrator and a few recipe books (including some authors that post here regularly), and am channeling my spring fever energy into mastering Freezer Bag Cooking. From research here, other forums and the general interwebs search I think dehydrating elements in pasta dishes separately then packaging together is the way to go.

Now the question - has anyone, at all, found any success in dehydrating cheese sauces? I did a thorough search here and elsewhere, and everyone's a Negative Nelly about dehydrating dairy in general. I believe because of the high fat content, but I also wonder if the lack of stabilizer might play a role? The glimmers that give me hope are mentions of how dairy is ok when it's a component of a recipe. I'm probably taking that hope too far since the only non-dairy component in a cheese sauce is the flour, but am hoping that someone has at least tried it and can give me some specific notes as to results. Perhaps from there I can try to mitigate the issues that everyone’s come across.

At the end of the day, I’m open to attempting a one-pot non-FBC treat meal. I imagine this could involve ghee, flour, butter & milk powders and real cheese I bring on the trail. Maybe a separate fry pan for the cheese sauce and boil pot for the pasta. But it sure would be nice to develop a FBC-friendly m&c.

I’m also interested in why the general wisdom is that things like eggs, milk, butter, etc aren’t good candidates for home drying. If you’ve tried it what were the actual results? I am aware that items with fat in them should be stored in the freezer, but other than that, what’s the issue?


Thanks all!

Shannon

BTW, this is my very first post here, and in fact I’m a new member @ BPL, but a long-time lurker. It was this very forum and this very question that prompted me to FINALLY subscribe. I did attempt to search for several hours on the topic in this post, and if my search skills are horrible and this has been covered extensively in the past, I apologize in advance.

And, my second post is going to be on transport of cheese – blocks and shredding at dinner vs. shredding before.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
This might work on 03/19/2010 22:42:17 MDT Print View

While this isn't gourmet it does work :-) You can sub in any dried cheese by the way. I recently scored some great all natural cheddar cheese powder by Frontier Foods Co-op (they are part of the Simply Organic company, Frontier is who stocks most bulk bins in natural food stores)

http://www.trailcooking.com/recipes/parmesan-cheese-sauce-powder-mix

Parmesan Cheese Sauce Powder Mix
Summary
Yield 1
Prep Time 5 minutes
Recipe Types Sauces
Description

DIY cheese sauce mix base.
Ingredients

* 1 c dry milk
* 1⁄4 c shelf stabel parmesan or romano cheese
* 1 1⁄2 t dried garlic
* 1⁄2 t onion powder (not onion salt)
* 1⁄2 t ground black pepper

Instructions

Mix all ingredients and store in a tightly closed container (plastic bag or tub). Keeps for 4 months, stored away from heat. Long term storage in the refrigerator is a good choice.

To use:
Combine 1/4 cup mix with 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup water.
Notes

Add salt to taste.
This mix works well with cooked and dehydrated pasta. 1/4 cup of the dry mix with 4 to 5 ounces of dehydrated pasta. (Weight after cooking/drying). Olive oil can be subbed for butter.
You can find dried cheeses from a number of companies online, to be used instead of Parmesan. Use dehydrated cheese, not freeze-dried though.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Cheese - Dehydrating cheese sauce on 03/20/2010 23:48:12 MDT Print View

Welcome Sharon!

I have never tried to dehydrate white sauce (on purpose ;)), instead I have always used powdered or dried cheeses (similar to Sarah's methods) as ingredients. I have not really tried to mimic the richness of a béchamel or beurre blanc, but it may be possible to a degree by using ghee.

Anyway, if do find any good solutions or new recipes, do share them with us! It could be considered cheating, but I usually just raid a box of annie's white cheddar pasta for the cheese powder if I'm doing mac + cheese on the trail - and I cook it with quinoa over pasta preferably.

I have found using lighter herby olive oil based sauces to be more favorable for trail use w/ perhaps a grated pecorino romano for saltiness and extra calories.

Shannon Woody
(swoodyut) - F - MLife

Locale: The Front Range
Thanks! on 08/12/2010 21:03:31 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies, guys! Work got in the way this summer, but will update when I experiment (which will be sooooooon!)

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Cheese - Dehydrating cheese sauce on 08/23/2010 14:09:40 MDT Print View

I like to purchase the Alfredo, Four Cheese or other similar sauces in the aisle of the grocery store where the taco seasoning is. For mac and cheese, my favorite trail food that I eat almost every night, I also dice some real cheese, either cheddar or Swiss Gruyere. I think it comes out well.

The bulk powdered cheese sounds like a winner. The packets I buy in the taco seasoning aisle cost around $3.50.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Cheese - Dehydrating cheese sauce on 08/23/2010 22:03:23 MDT Print View

Piper....so odd I came by to check the forums and saw you posting - I was just looking at your book's page on Amazon :-)