Curdling

Curdling is a process by which milk proteins solidify and separate from the whey. Curdling is usually caused by acids, tannins, salt, and heat.The mild acids in many vegetables and the tannins in potatoes are often enough to curdle milk.

Starches partially stabilize milk and cream.This is why it is possible to make soups and sauces with both milk or cream and acid ingredients. Avoid combining milk or cream with strong acids unless a starch is present.

Reducing temperatures and cooking times also helps. Curdling is more likely at high heat or with prolonged cooking.

Salt lightly, unless the milk has been stabilized by starch.

When adding milk or cream to a hot liquid,heat it first in a separate pot, or temper it by stirring a little of the hot liquid into it first.

Reconstituted dry milk is more likely to curdle than fresh milk.

Figure 25.1 Whipping cream.

Figure 25.1 Whipping cream.

(a) The cream has begun to thicken.

(b) The cream has reached the soft-peak stage. Stop at this stage if the cream is to be folded into a batter or other mixture.

(c) The cream has reached the firm-peak stage. Whipping beyond this stage causes the cream to break or separate.

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