Milk Fat Globules Tolerate Heat . . .

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Interactions between fat globules and milk proteins are also responsible for the remarkable tolerance of milk and cream to heat. Milk and cream can be boiled and reduced for hours, until they’re nearly dry, without breaching the globule membranes enough to release their fat. The globule membranes are robust to begin with, and it turns out that heating unfolds many of the milk proteins and makes them more prone to stick to the globule surface and to each other—so the globule armor actually gets progressively thicker as heating proceeds. Without this stability to heat, it would be impossible to make many cream-enriched sauces and reduced-milk sauces and sweets.