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how to combine wine in a cream sauce so it doesn't curdle?

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1 Answer 1

The curdling effect is produced both by alcohol and acidity.

The alcoholic part is solved pre-heating the wine for a while until most alcohol evaporates.

The acidic reaction is a little more difficult to stop: As wine canonically has 3g/l TA (total acidity), a little Potassium Carbonate (KCO3) will neuter the thing. Experiment from 1 to 3g/l depending on your wine. Filter with care the resulting liquid as it may contain little crystals.

Always remember to pour the wine on the sauce and never the sauce on the wine (not a joke, the milk will curdle instantly).

Some related material and here

You may also try to avoid curdling by adding only small quantities of low alcoholic content and low acidity preheated wine only.

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Note that it takes a very long time for "most of the alcohol" to evaporate. There's a question about it on this site, the accepted answer of which links to this wikipedia table. Short answer: if you want to reduce the alcohol by a factor of five, you need to cook the wine for an hour and a half. By that time, it will have reduced very significantly and will have a different effect on your sauce than "fresh" wine (not necessarily a bad thing). –  Erik P. Nov 22 '10 at 18:05
    
@Erik True, but a little diluted alcohol will not induce curdling (not very scientific, though). Also, as evaporation is an exponential process you loss less and less alcohol for each period ... –  belisarius Nov 22 '10 at 19:34

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