Chemistry Question about Sauce / Dressing
I make a potato salad with a unique dressing. It is two parts prepared mayonnaise to one part peanut butter (I used natural, chunky, but have had the same thing happen with Skippy creamy), with a splash of apple cider vinegar and some curry powder.
All of the ingredients are whisked together and end-up forming a lovely, smooth, satiny sauce. However, if I glance away for even a moment (as I did this afternoon), the sauce "breaks" in that the oils separate and the sauce looks curdled.
What is happening, chemically, when this occurs and is there anyway I can bring it back together?
It would seem that you are making an emulsion which is where fat molecules are suspended in liquid. If you make a standard vinaigrette and shake it will come together but will separate if you leave it. Your using mayonnaise which is also an emulsion but a stable one due to the egg yolks. I would assume then fat in the peanut butter and the vinegar are making an unstable emulsion like a vinaigrette. Adding an egg yolk or corn flour may help stabilize the sauce.
This link may help.