Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Article

Why does vinegar curdle milk?

Fine Cooking Issue 20

Q:

Why does vinegar curdle milk? Would adding pickled capers to a cream sauce curdle it?

Iris A. Brown, Kerhonkson, NY

A:

Shirley Corriher replies: Acid on protein causes the protein to coagulate, because the acid is actually “cooking” the protein strands. When vinegar curdles milk, what you get is a dairy version of scrambled eggs.

As to whether pickled capers cause a cream sauce to curdle, that depends on what else is in the sauce. If the sauce has a reasonable amount of starch, it shouldn’t curdle, since the starch should prevent the acid from coagulating the proteins in the cream. If you want to be certain, mix 1/2 cup cold milk with a teaspoon of cornstarch, heat, stirring, until thickened, and then add some of the pickled capers.

Adding an acidic ingredient to heavy cream doesn’t usually cause curdling. The cream has very few proteins and a lot of fat to coat them. When in doubt, a little cornstarch is always good insurance to prevent curdling. And you should always rinse the capers.

Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

San Luis Obispo, CA (506)

In this episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking from San Luis Obispo county, California, Curtis jumps into the waters of Morro Bay Oyster Company, a hub for oyster farming…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks