Real Sauces: Multiple Thickeners

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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The sauces that cooks actually make are seldom simple suspensions, molecular dispersions, emulsions, or foams. They’re usually a combination of two or more. Purees usually contain both suspended particles and dispersed molecules, starch-thickened sauces contain both dispersed molecules and remnants of the granules, emulsified sauces include proteins and particles from milk or eggs or spices. Cooks often thicken and enrich sauces of all kinds at the last minute by melting a piece of butter into it or stirring in a spoonful of cream, thus making them in part a milkfat emulsion. Such complexity of the dispersed phase may well make sauce texture more subtle and intriguing.