Bon Appétite recently released a video showing pastry chef Claire Saffitz’s attempt at recreating the Cheetos. While it may take you 3 minutes to eat a whole bag of the oh-so-additicting neon orange snack, it took Saffitz three days to make something recognizable.
The final product was less “gourmet” Cheetos and more of just Cheetos made with natural ingredients. While the original processed Cheetos product has some questionable ingredients, Saffitz’s included everyday items like polenta, baking powder, egg whites, salt, spices, vegetable oil, cornstarch, sharp cheddar, powdered milk. Only tapioca maltodextrin raises an eyebrow. Upon further research this is how chefs convert high-fat liquids into powder — necessary for recreating the powdered cheese and getting it to stick.
The official process reportedly only take Cheetos only 19 minutes, but is nearly impossible for a home chef. That is, unless you follow this video, get out your high-powered blender, dehydrated, fryer, oven, deep fry thermometer and food processor, and set aside a few days to get everything properly dehydrated at home.
If the laundry list of Cheetos ingredients and sciences experiments hasn’t turned you totally off, it’s obviously the only sane choice to just drop a few quarters at the gas station for a bag, but props to Bon Appétite and anyone who has this sort of kitchen curiosity and patience!
In case you want to try this at home, here’s the step-by-step:
For the cheese
1. In a high-powered blender, combine 1/2 cup tapioca maltodextrin a few slices of dehydrated sharp cheddar cheese (make sure it’s orange). Add salt, turmeric, a tablespoon or two of powdered milk, 1 or 2 tablespoons of garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne. Blend until ingredients yield a fine powder.
2. Spread mixture on baking sheet and dehydrate for 4-6 hours. Put mixture back in blender and mix again.
3. Add cheese mixture to bag along with corn puffs and shake until coated.
For the corn puff
1. Combine 1 cup of cooked, cooled polenta, 2 tbsp of baking powder, 1 egg white, a good amount of salt, and a teaspoon or two of garlic powder. Processes in a food processor until smooth.
2. Slowly add cornstarch and process until the mixture is still very thick but tacky to touch.
3. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and cut a 1/2 in opening at the tip.
4. Dust your work surface in cornstarch, and then pipe long snacks of the mixture onto the surface. Dust with more cornstarch, the cut into irregular pieces.
5. Heat vegetable oil to 375ºF, and fry pieces until no more bubbles release from them.
6. Bake in oven and then transfer the pieces to a dehydrator set to 130 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. Results should be crispy the whole way through.
(h/t Brand Eating)