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Avoiding milk curdling in tomato sauce

sylvan Sep 8, 2010 05:28 PM

I want to try one of Hazzan's Bolonese sauces with Muir Glen plum tomotoes recipe. But she calls for whole milk and tomatoe in the recipe and I'm concerned the whole milk will curdle. Can I avoid curdling by using: cream cheese, cream/Half-n-Half, or making a Mornay sauce instead of whole milk?

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  1. dave_c RE: sylvan Sep 8, 2010 05:36 PM

    I'm not familiar with the Bolognese recipe you're referring to, but most of the recipes I've tried specifies that let the milk and beef cook down before you add the tomatoes. Also, most authentic bolognese sauces require very little tomato (maybe 1 cup of mashed plum tomatoes at the most, which works out to about 2 or 3 plum tomatoes).

    With the milk and beef cooked down and the few tomatoes added at the last part of the cooking process, you shouldn't have any issues with curdling.

    1. scubadoo97 RE: sylvan Sep 8, 2010 07:46 PM

      Just use cream instead of milk.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scubadoo97
        L987 RE: scubadoo97 Sep 9, 2010 09:32 AM

        yeah that what was I was thinking. cream works best

      2. s
        sylvan RE: sylvan Sep 8, 2010 07:59 PM

        Thanks for your help. Hazzan's recipe calls for 1 1/2 "cans" of plum tomatoes.
        In the future I'll use cream with the meat and let it cook down before adding the tomatoes.
        I've never had tomatoes in Bolonese before and wanted to try this.
        Thanks, again.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sylvan
          Chemicalkinetics RE: sylvan Sep 8, 2010 08:18 PM


          I believe you are worry about milk curdling due to the acidic nature of tomatoes, right? Beside the "cooked down" mentioned by dave, I believe adding tomato slowly (in steps) to warm milk help. Add a bit tomato and stir, add a bit and stir.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            sylvan RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 9, 2010 10:10 PM

            Thanks, great tip

          2. re: sylvan
            dave_c RE: sylvan Sep 9, 2010 10:34 AM

            1 1/2 cans! Wow!

            Is this recipe on the web? I'd like to try it out. :-) I'm always looking for new bolognese recipes.

            I tried one recipe where I misread the tomato portion... 2 canned tomatoes. I thought it meant 2 cans of tomatoes when all it was asking for was 2 tomatoes.

            1. re: dave_c
              c oliver RE: dave_c Sep 9, 2010 03:23 PM

              Here's the Hazan recipe that, I believe, is pretty standard.


              It calls for 1-1/2 CUPS not cans.

              1. re: dave_c
                sylvan RE: dave_c Sep 9, 2010 10:25 PM

                dave, here is the link to the recipe I'm referring to:

                1. re: sylvan
                  c oliver RE: sylvan Sep 12, 2010 09:18 AM

                  That's an error, something that all too often happens when recipes are "listed."

            2. cassoulady RE: sylvan Sep 9, 2010 09:40 AM

              I have made her bolognese probably 100 times and the milk won't curdle. It will look kinda unappetizing as it cooks down but just follow the directions and it will turn out amazing. I would however not use low fat milk

              5 Replies
              1. re: cassoulady
                c oliver RE: cassoulady Sep 9, 2010 10:08 AM

                +1 altho I've only done it a few times...but in VERY large quantities, i.e., 4 or 5x. This recipe is a classic for a reason. All OP needs to do is follow it and will likely be quite happy.

                1. re: cassoulady
                  sylvan RE: cassoulady Sep 9, 2010 10:15 PM

                  The milk finally did "blend" in after initially curdling and it turned out fine. Next time I'll use half-and-half or cream, though.

                  1. re: cassoulady
                    sylvan RE: cassoulady Sep 9, 2010 10:16 PM

                    It did turn out great but I won't use milk next time. I'll use half-and-half or cream.

                    1. re: sylvan
                      c oliver RE: sylvan Sep 12, 2010 09:19 AM

                      If you follow the recipe as it's printed in her book(s), you'll be fine. I would not substitute cream etc. Check it out in the library if you don't have.

                    2. re: cassoulady
                      DGresh RE: cassoulady Sep 10, 2010 09:33 AM

                      +1. I'm not sure why you're worrying ahead of time. Zillions of people follow Hazan's recipe for a reason. It makes the most incredible sauce imaginable.

                    3. mamachef RE: sylvan Sep 10, 2010 09:16 AM

                      i don't know, exactly: but the old adage says, "add the red to the white, and you'll never be blue." I think the mornay is a fine idea.

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