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Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kitchen Science - Emulsions 101

Don’t let the word intimidate you, an emulsion is an incredibly easy thing to create, if you have the know-how to do it right. An emulsion is a mixture of one liquid with another with which it cannot normally combine smoothly, such as oil and water. An emulsification is accomplished by slowly adding one ingredient to another while mixing rapidly (whisking). This suspends droplets of one liquid throughout the other. Salad dressings, mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce are just a few examples of emulsions.

The usual suspects in an emulsion are often eggs, oil, water, vinegar, or some other type of acid. Sometimes, you may see a recipe that calls for mustard. This is because mustard is an emulsifying agent, and also because mustard lends an interesting flavor.

When making an emulsion, the key to success is to be careful not to add the oil too quickly. When drizzling oil into the other ingredients, it is imperative to do this in a slow, steady stream. If the oil is added too quickly into the rest of the ingredients, it will cause the emulsion to “break”, at this point, the mixture will be separated and have a curdled appearance.

If separation occurs while you are trying to add the oil, do not throw the mixture away, as it can often be saved. To salvage the broken emulsion, simply remove a portion of the mixture and set aside. Add another two egg yolks to the small amount of the mixture, whisking quickly. Add about a tablespoon of water, and then slowly drizzle in the reserved mixture.

If there is oil that still needs to be added, simply drizzle it in as you whisk (or process) quickly. It is extremely important to constantly whisk or process the mixture as the friction warms the mixture and helps the emulsification.

This weekend, participants in our Date Night – Picnic in Provence class will be making a delicious French Mayonnaise, otherwise known as ‘aioli’. Become a fan of Mirepoix Cooking School on Facebook to receive this recipe update, which will be sent out on Sunday, April 11.

For more information about our classes and how you can cook like a pro, visit our website at

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