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Emulsifying is a very old cooking technique. Basically, it is when two liquids that don't mix become combined in a way that is stable. The tendency to separate and break apart remains but an added emulsifying agent can help stabilize or strengthen the colloid by binding the liquids together.

The majority of culinary emulsions are water based. These emulsions can take one of two forms, either water-in-oil, where the water is dispersed in the oil, or oil-in-water, where the oil is dispersed in the water. Some common oil-in-water emulsions are mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, vinaigrettes, and milk. Butter is the most common example of a culinary water-in-oil emulsion.

Movement is an important part of the process for many emulsions since it is what disperses the molecules into the base substance. Often times a whisk or wooden spoon is needed for this process.

From the moment the whisk or wooden spoon makes contact with the ingredients, the substances begin to break down into smaller particles. The more movement there is the smaller the particles become, making the emulsion stronger.

You can read more information about emulsifying from my guide on how to emulsifying or from the emulsifying articles below.

Emulsifying Recipes and Articles

Glycerin Flakes

Glycerin flakes are commonly used to stabilize emulsions and to thicken or foam oils. Unlike many ingredients, they have to be dissolved in oil, not in water. They are high stability emulsifiers composed of monoglyceride and diglyceride taken from the fats of glycerin and fatty acids.

Xanthan Strengthened Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

This is a simple modernist vinaigrette to make and utilizes both xanthan gum and lecithin to strengthen and thicken it. I really like the sweet maple syrup with the tangy balsamic vinegar. This goes well on salads, especially ones with berries. You can also add a little more xanthan gum and use the vinaigrette as a sauce on fish or chicken.

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is a modernist ingredient used to stabilize emulsions and foams. It is commonly used to create "airs" and other light foams.

Emulsifying Technique

One very common modernist technique used in molecular cooking is emulsification. Learn about how to incorporate it into your cooking.

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