. . . But Are Sensitive to Cold

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Freezing is a different story. It is fatal to the fat globule membrane. Cold milk fat and freezing water both form large, solid, jagged crystals that pierce, crush, and rend the thin veil of phospholipids and proteins around the globule, just a few molecules thick. If you freeze milk or cream and then thaw it, much of the membrane material ends up floating free in the liquid, and many of the fat globules get stuck to each other in grains of butter. Make the mistake of heating thawed milk or cream, and the butter grains melt into puddles of oil.