Freezing a sauce, purée, or soup can often result in a bit of separation upon thawing. In most instances these will be perfectly fine, the excess water will mix right back in and you can get back to work. But sometimes the separation wont allow for a simple fix. Well if you have found yourself reading this article, you’re in luck because we have a few simple fixes to help prevent this exact thing.
“What’s an easy fix to prevent sauce separation during thawing?”
Be the boss you your sauce
Soups with thickeners such as roux or cornstarch slurry can be relatively forgiving when they are thawed and reheated. The separation will happen but a quick whisk and you’re back in business. The separation occurs due to the starches losing some of their thickening properties during freezing. But once reheated the soup should be fine. A fix for this if you are not happy with the results is to add a tapioca based thickening starch. Tapioca doesn’t have the same properties as wheat and corn and will not lose its thickening ability once frozen. An ingredient we suggest for this is Ultra–sperse 3. Ultra-sperse 3 is a flavorless cold soluble thickener. Ultra-sperse 3 requires no extra heating or blending to properly thicken. This is why we suggest using it over traditional tapioca starch.
Other soups, sauces and purées that are tomato or vegetable based will suffer from another issue. As a vegetable based sauce freezes the water trapped in the cell walls will expand. This water will break through the cell walls and now it is free to enter the sauce. As the sauce thaws it will have some visual separation and seem water logged. While the water was always present in the sauce prior to freezing it was trapped in the cell walls. If left to settle, you will most certainly see the solids sink to the bottom of a container. Two ingredients we suggest are Perfected Xanthan Gum or Perfected Guar Gum. These will thicken the water in the recipe ever so slightly and help prevent separation as well as allow for better redistribution if there is any separation. Perfected Xanthan or Perfected Guar are specially formulated to prevent clumping and improve distribution.This is especially easy when you do not want to have to purée a sauce. The Perfected gums can be whisked in whereas their “non-perfected” counterparts would most likely clump if you were to whisk them in. A good starting point for both of these is between 0.1-0.3% of the total weight of the recipe. If you are just looking to prevent separation without too much thickening power we suggest staying within those ratios.
Emulsion based sauces are tiny droplets of fat dispersed in a liquid. As an emulsion freezes the water will freeze long before the fat does. As the ice crystals form they push the fat droplets into larger fat pockets. This will cause the emulsion to separate (break) as it thaws. An ingredient we have found that completely fixes this is 210S. A small amount of this emulsifier keeps the fat evenly distributed and allows it to thaw evenly. It is truly a game changer in our Hassle Free Hollandaise recipe.
The next time you find an issue with a sauce, purée, or soup do your best to give one of these simple kitchen hacks a try. It may save you a bit of time and trouble. Until next time, keep cooking.