Scratch made focaccia is grilled to crusty perfection then smothered in sage scented brown butter
Lone Star Beer Cheese Dip – in a bread bowl!
A beer cheese dip that stays impossibly gooey for perfect dipping satisfaction every time. All thanks to one special ingredient – sodium citrate. Learn how to use this special ‘salt’ to enjoy the most unbridled cheesy flavor.
I have personally been the victim of cheese ‘dips’ that simply do not taste very cheesy. Sometimes it’s understandable – cheese is designed to harden when it cools. Dips are designed to be melty and liquified. So we usually throw in a ton of other stuff into cheese dips to keep them dippable and creamy. Sometimes it’s a roux (flour and butter), sometimes a can of some kind of condensed soup. But every addition detracts from the purity of flavor. The same can be said for actually picking up a bold beer taste in beer cheese. Often it’s missing because you simply can’t add very much liquid to make the dip work.
This is where one very special ingredient comes into play. Sodium Citrate. It’s the stuff that makes Velveeta and other processed cheeses so “melty”. In the cheese world, there are cheeses that naturally lend themselves to melting, like Mozzarella. And ones that become a giant clumpy mess when you attempt to melt them, like Parmesan. Sodium Citrate is the great redeemer, as it allows all varieties of cheese to melt perfectly. Sparing you the complete science of how it works, it effectively does some voodoo with calcium and proteins, and allows the cheese to better emulsify (the stabilization of fat and water).
This matters to people like you and I who are huge fans of cooking, flavor and food. It opens up our options to a plethora of fun cheeses to use, rather than being stuck with the same ol’ Velveeta. So basically, you can experiment beyond the cheese I have used in this recipe to customize your perfect mix. Sodium Citrate it’s perfectly easy to buy on Amazon and at specialty stores, and you really only need a very small amount. It’s also come in SUPER handy for nacho cheese. Trust me.
And so to the beer. Because the beer is going to completely determine the consistency of your dip, you can actually get pretty generous with the amount you add. And that means, instead of just having beer in the title of the recipe, you’ll actually get to taste it! YAY! I prefer to use Lone Star Beer (because Texas!) which is an American style lager.
Your selection of the variety bread which is to become the receptacle is of utmost importance. Hollowing out a basic white loaf will lead to breaches in your cheese dam. Which then leads to a big, fat, delicious mess. You’re not going to find what you need in the bread aisle at the grocery store. You need to source a sturdy loaf from a bakery. Something like a boule or sourdough. A super crusty French country loaf that has a hefty weight attached. It’s this kind of baked good that will truly contain the dip.
Lone Star Beer Cheese Dip
- 1 round loaf of rustic bread, 6-8" wide
- 8 oz shredded gruyere cheese
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
- 2 teaspoons sodium citrate
- 1 cup Lone Star (or pilsner style) beer
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 2 teaspoons coarse grain mustard
- In a small/medium saucepan, place the sodium citrate and 1/4 cup of the beer. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until the sodium citrate has dissolved.
- Add both cheeses, and stir the mixture frequently while the cheese melts. It will take a while for the cheese to melt completely.
- Add garlic, paprika, pepper, mustard and remaining beer. Stir until well incorporated.
- Use a paring knife to cut a circle out of the bread loaf, staying at least an inch from the edges. Remove the top piece, and cut into cubes for dipping. If necessary, scoop out any extra bread to create the bowl shape, taking care not to get too close to the bottom and sides, or dig too much out.
- Arrange the bowl on a platter with the bread cubes and other optional 'dip-ables' like tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks, etc. Pour the warm cheese dip into the bowl.
- Garnish with optional fresh black pepper or paprika and serve immediately.
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