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the idea is to add a thickening agent to a fruity liquid to emulsify it well with oil. Basically an emulsified smoothie. The goal is a fruity fatty thick dip or salsa with the texture of mayonnaise. Since you can't emulsify just water/fruit juice with oil, I thought to make the liquid thicker to emulsify it then. This is because I often read "is used as thickening agent and emulsifier". Thus, I wonder whether there are thickening agents that work especially well for emulsification? Options are arrowroot, guar gum, tapioca and other starches. With which thickening agent would it work best? Can someone confirm that it would work this way, or has some experience with a thickening agent for emulsification?

Any other ideas how to achieve this are appreciated as well!

Edit: with an emulsifier like lecithin it's no problem for sure, but the goal is to emulsify with a thickening agent.

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  • After your edit, I am quite confused. In the old question, you say that you want to emulsify a clear liquid with oil. In the edit, it seems that you want to create a thickened liquid and mix that with oil. Which one do you want to make? And also, what is it that you want to know about making it?
    – rumtscho
    Dec 9, 2022 at 9:49
  • I hope this resolves the confusion. My goal is to have a really thick fatty fruit salsa/dip. A mayonnaise that tastes like a fruit. Since you can't emulsify just water/fruit juice with oil, I thought (and because I read it) to make the liquid thicker and to emulsify it then. Thus, I wonder whether there are thickening agents that work especially well for emulsification. This is because I often read "is used as thickening agent and emulsifier".
    – Sebastian
    Dec 9, 2022 at 13:43
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    "X is used as a thickening agent and emulsifier" doesn't mean that it does both in the same recipe, or that a random mixture of X, fruit juice and oil will be anything mayonnaise-like. You would first need to think through the general type of recipe you are making, and why it would work, and how you are going to achieve the desired consistency. Only then would you pick whatever additives you need for it to work. From what you have written so far, it seems that you only have a very vague idea, and as far as it exists, it would probably need an emulsifier and not a thickener.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:26
  • I will experiment and report it here
    – Sebastian
    Dec 9, 2022 at 20:02

3 Answers 3

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Thickening agents (stabilizers) and emulsifiers (e.g. lecithine) are two different things. The first ones turn a liquid into a yelly or even a gum, while the second creates connections between watery solution and fat globules so they do not separate from each other.

For your goal you will need an emulsifier in each case and optionally a stabilizer depending on what grade of liquidity you have in mind. Using different agents or even combinations of them for both purposes will provide you the benefit to easily adjust their proportions to fit your recipe. Also there is no general recommendation possible on which agents to use as this is also dependent of the intended result. Starches will give you another texture than gelantin or carrageenan. As a starting point you could try to investigate the ingredients lists of products that are similar to the result you try to achieve.

For a deep dive on this topic have a look into Martin Lersch: Texture - A hydrocolloid recipe collection

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  • My question wasn't clear enough. I edited it now. Sure I know what's the difference between them but I want to do it with a thickening agent. I have several times that stuff like guar gum was a thickening agent and I think it makes some sense, that the oil and water emulsifies better, when it is a thick liquid. Nevertheless, I was curious whether someone did try it or has a reliable knowledge about whether thickening agents do work as emulsifiers to some degree. Should I written the question more clear
    – Sebastian
    Dec 9, 2022 at 9:30
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Answering my own question some time later after I have experimented a bit and came to the conclusion that

  1. thickening agents do indeed work as emulsifiers, although not 100% perfect like real emulsifiers. Yet in scientific papers they are listed under emulsifiers. What happens is, that only approx. 2% of the oil separates again after emulsion

  2. albeit they do work, the texture doesn't become as stiff as with emulsifiers. The problem is that the thickening agent made it already thick and creamy, adding oil makes it first a bit more liquid because there's simply more liquid in total. Adding more oil compensates a bit, but then it stays there. (The oil keeps emulsified to 98%)

In short, thickening agents do work as emulsifiers but are useless for emulsion, mainly because the liquid is already thick anyway and secondly the textures just doesn't become as delicious as it does in mayonnaise.

I had the feeling that starch did work a bit better than fibers like guar gum.

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The goal is a mayonnaise-like fruity fatty thick dip or salsa.

You will follow a recipe for mayonnaise.

https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/question617.

Mayonnaise is made by combining lemon juice or vinegar with egg yolks. Eggs (containing the emulsifier lecithin) bind the ingredients together and prevent separation. Then, oil is added drop by drop as the mixture is rapidly whisked. Adding oil too quickly (or insufficient, rapid whisking) will keep the two liquids from combining (emulsifying). But, as the sauce begins to thicken, oil can be added more rapidly. Seasonings are whisked in after all of the oil has been added. Blenders, mixers and food processors make it easy to make homemade mayonnaise, which many gourmets feel is far superior in taste and consistency to commercial mayonnaise.

Mayo is delicious. You could use an oil with some flavor - not coconut but maybe a good olive oil. I have been going thru a lot of pecan oil lately. Sunflower oil is nice too, and cheap. You could use a vinegar with the fruity flavors you want. Make a batch as a base then experiment with the fruit additives you envision.

You can find lots of good mayo recipes. And when your guests ask what this dip is you can say "Homemade mayo!"

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  • Thanks Willk, I tried it already but it only becomes thick and creamy when the fruit flavor is almost gone. Just think about how little water there is in mayo
    – Sebastian
    Dec 9, 2022 at 9:25

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