by The Quonstant Quonnoisseur
[This is the first in an occasional series of short items by the QQ. Preventing kitchen mishaps, and adroitly recovering from any that do occur, will figure as an important topic in these updates.]
The problem: Overheating low-fat milk
The cause: Low-fat milk products cannot be boiled, unlike cream. Low-fat milk must be kept below 82° C or 180° F to avoid curdling or “breaking.” Using overheated low-fat milk that has curdled will result in grainy ice cream, pudding or other dish.
The solution: To avoid this qualimity, invest in a clip-on thermometer and watch your low-fat milk like an anxious Dad with a pretty 19-year-old daughter.
You’ll be heating the low-fat milk over a low or medium-low burner. But stoves vary so much in their calorie output that the thermometer really is only the accurate way to know that you’re getting close to 80 degrees, but no higher.
If the low-fat milk does curdle or break, you’ll probably have to jettison it or include it in Fido’s next repast (he’ll be grateful).
It’s also possible to stabilize the low-fat milk with corn starch or flour. Make the cornstarch into a white liquid using COLD water, beforehand; use a wire whisk to combine the cornstarch and cold water. Then add it to the milk before heating. Flour also will work for this process, but it’s more likely to form lumps than cornstarch.
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