Is the oil and water homogeneous

Emulsifying - combining water and oil

Oil normally shies away from any contact with water-based liquids and always floats on top. Not so after that Emulsify. Thanks to this preparation method - which is derived from the Latin expression for "milking out" - oil and vinegar combine to make a delicious salad dressing or create a creamy mayonnaise with other ingredients.

In an emulsion, two liquids are finely mixed together. One liquid - the inner phase - forms small droplets in another liquid - the outer phase. Correspondingly is from one Oil-in-water emulsion or Water-in-oil emulsion the speech. When cooking, oil-in-water emulsions are the rule, see vinaigrette, gravy or homogenized milk, in which the milk fat is finely divided in water. Butter or margarine, on the other hand, are water-in-oil emulsions.


Fat floats on top

And that's why emulsification is necessary in the first place: Many liquids fall into one of two categories. Either they can be mixed well with water or well with oil. The difference lies in the different forces that act between the molecules. For this reason, oil molecules have a hard time connecting to water particles. A tension arises at the border between the two substances. It leads to the smallest possible interface. The oil molecules are therefore not distributed in the water, but rather float up on top.

This settling can be temporarily stopped by stirring vigorously with a whisk. However, such a mixture does not remain stable for long and the two components quickly separated from each other again. That's why come Emulsifiers for use. They facilitate the formation of droplets and prevent the two phases from separating.


Emulsifiers form bridges

The secret of the emulsifiers: These substances can combine with fats on one side and with water on the other. One of the most common emulsifiers in the kitchen is lecithin, alias food additive E 322. It is found in egg yolks, soy and legumes, among other things. In addition to egg yolks, mustard and honey are popular ingredients for emulsifying. Incidentally, emulsifiers are also used in industrially produced foods such as sausage, chocolate and milk ice cream to keep fat and water stable.

Despite the addition of phase mixing ingredients it is vigorous whisking essential. You can use a whisk for this, for example. Vinaigrette can also be prepared excellently by shaking it in a screw-top jar or a lidded beaker. A hand blender or kitchen machines also help with emulsification.