Emulsifiers Bring It All Together!

[Worst. Headline. Ever.]

Okay, the key to emulsification is shearing, that is, shaking the shit out of the mixture. The more things are broken up, the smaller the particles of fat, water and emulsifier are created, which leads to a more homogeneous and tightly packed mixture (molecularly speaking). Mix until it’s the consistency you want. Then stop. Further mixing will continue to make it thicker. Which is delicious for a dip, but can be nasty for a vinaigrette. Keep in mind mechanical blending can go from separated components to “mayonnaise” fast.

In general: shaking is good, whisking is better, mechanical blending is best.

Shake the Baby! – Jimi
  • Lecithin / Soy Lecithin (inc: miso paste)
  • Egg yolk (raw/pasteurized or powdered)
  • Xanthin Gum
  • Guar Gum
  • Mustard (powder or dijon)
  • Completely Pureed plant/cellulose matter
  • Honey (from what I can gather, not a true emulsifier per-se, but does hold a mediocre suspension)

Don’t let the science-y names scare you off; Xanthin and Guar are perfectly safe and used as binding agents in a lot of the “natural foods” you eat. The top chefs in the world use them often for their Molecular-Gastronomy dark-magic shit all the time.

Typical method: the water-based ingredient (ex: vinegar and Meyer lemon juice) and an emulsifier (ex: mustard powder) go in together, then the fat (ex: olive oil) gets slowly streamed in while the whole thing is quickly mixed.

As with any food additive, check your guest list for food allergies.

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