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Sep 8, 2010 05:28 PM

Avoiding milk curdling in tomato sauce

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. 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. Just use cream instead of milk.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scubadoo97

        yeah that what was I was thinking. cream works best

      2. 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


          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: sylvan

            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

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


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

                1. re: sylvan

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

            2. 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

                +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

                  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

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

                    1. re: sylvan

                      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

                      +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. 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.