Melted cheese is a staple ingredient for many recipes: cheese quesadillas, loaded nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches and much more. The ultimate melted cheese dish, though, might be ooey-gooey cheese fondue.
Cheese fondue originated in Switzerland. It's traditionally made with fontina, Gruyère or gouda cheeses — you can even use a combination of all three. You can make cheese fondue at home using a slow cooker or the double-boiler method. The key is to use a low heat setting to melt the cheese along with cornstarch, wine and garlic. You can also add kirsch (a clear spirit made from distilled cherries) and pieces of French bread, per Washington State University.
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But one problem you may run into when making cheese fondue is the dreaded lumps. The consistency should be creamy and smooth (no one wants lumpy cheese fondue).
Here, we spoke to Susy Massetti, a professional chef and restaurateur, on how to get rid of lumps in cheese fondue.
Things You'll Need
Spoon or spatula
1. Warm Up Fondue on Low Heat
You shouldn't work with cold or room temperature fondue. Even if the lumps are due to overcooking, Massetti recommends bringing it back to a warm temperature. And don't turn up the heat!
Place the fondue pot back on the burner to revive it. Turn the heat on low and allow it to warm. This makes it easier to stir and incorporate ingredients.
2. Add Cornstarch, Lemon Juice and White Wine
"Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to a tablespoon of lemon juice and white wine," Massetti says. Try not to add the ingredients individually to the fondue. Mix them together first. For best results, use warm ingredients. Then, add the mixture to the fondue and stir.
Cornstarch is a classic thickening agent in cooking, and it will come in handy when trying to get the clumps out of fondue.
You'll also need lemon juice and white wine (using both is recommended). The acid in wine helps prevent the proteins in cheese from clumping together, so an acidic white wine will help dissolve the lumps.
3. Bring to a Gentle Boil
Turn up the heat on the burner slightly. The fondue should come to a gentle boil but not a raging boil, according to the EHL Hospitality Business & Hotel Management School.
4. Stir Constantly
Work the lumps out of the fondue by stirring it constantly with a spoon or spatula. Do this until the lumps disappear. You may need to stir for several minutes to get the desired consistency.
5. Serve While Hot
Fondue should be hot! Massetti recommends serving it alongside your favorite accouterments, such as bread, apples, pears, vegetables or meatballs.
Fruits, veggies and meat dipped in cheese fondue can be a nutrient- and protein-rich snack, but cheese fondue should be enjoyed in moderation. Limit your dairy intake to no more than two servings per day, as cheese is a source of saturated fat, according to Harvard Health Publishing.