When you don't want cream to rise to the top

Have you ever opened a bottle of milk to find a thick cream layer at the top?  This is called “creaming” and is natural since milk is a mixture of oil (fat) and water that don’t mix. In 1899, a Frenchman named Auguste Gaulin discovered that pushing milk through an orifice at high pressure breaks up the fat particles to create an emulsion (a mix of two immiscible liquids) that takes a long time to separate.  This process is known as homogenization and is used extensively in dairy processing.  

Homogenizers are not cheap. Last year, we were lucky to find a small one being auctioned by a Campbell Soup factory that was shutting down in Toronto.  We used “little homie” to develop our Vodkow Cream and learn how to make a stable emulsion.  When it came to making our first batch of lactose-free Vodkow Cream liquor, we had to rent a bigger homogenizer to process the large volume of cream.  The manufacturer suggested we homogenize at a higher pressure than we were used to. This made sense to us since a higher pressure creates a smaller particle size and should create a more stable emulsion. A couple of weeks after the production run, we noticed creaming in our bottles. We reached out to our friends at Lactalis who supply us with milk permeate and now cream. They explained that running at too high a pressure or temperature can make the emulsion unstable. To show us the effect, they compared an over-homogenized sample with a properly homogenized one under a microscope (1000X magnification). The creaming was visible on the over-homogenized sample while the properly homogenized sample was very uniform.  With this knowledge, we adjusted our homogenization process and haven’t had any problems with creaming since.  Live and learn.

over-homogenized
properly homogenized
Over-homogenized sample Properly homogenized

Creaming doesn’t change the taste of a cream liquor and shaking the bottle will mix in the cream temporarily.  If you purchased one of the first bottles of our lactose free Vodkow Cream liquor and notice creaming, we would be happy to exchange it for you. 

To make sure we don't run short of Cream for the Holidays, we've hired Taylor and Matt to run 500L of cream through our homogenizer ever day. With this capacity, we'll also be making our much sought after chocolate, maple and new coffee Vodkow Creams. Stay tuned for details.

Taylor and Matt with homogenizer


 

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