I'm trying to make this for a large group, and as I was simmering the half & half and spices, the liquid separated. Help! What did I do wrong?

  • Posted by: JenLeePA
  • December 31, 2011
Dirty Chai Toddy
Recipe question for: Dirty Chai Toddy


Voted the Best Reply!

JenLeePA December 31, 2011
After some research online and talking to my Indian friend who makes chai regularly, I'm pretty sure the culprit was the fresh ginger. Ginger can curdle dairy in an instant, so she recommended adding the ginger only after the other spices and tea have simmered for a while. That seemed to do the trick!

If you want a super-nerdy but interesting explanation, see here: http://thymocyte.blogspot.com/2010/02/chemistry-of-chai.html
gingerroot December 31, 2011
Good to know! Thanks for the link. I'm glad you were able to make it without a hitch.
Hope everyone enjoyed it. Happy New Year!
Ophelia December 31, 2011
Or you could use dried ginger, maybe a bag of ginger tea that's just ginger (some have peppermint and other spices added and would make things taste funny).

You can make ginger custard by adding ginger juice to milk and letting it sit for a little bit, which is unrelated, but the first thing I thought of when I read the question.
gingerroot December 31, 2011
Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that happened. Were you whisking the mixture as it was heating up? For that amount of liquid, maybe the prolonged time on the stove would require more stirring to prevent separation before it reached a simmer. Since I've never experienced separation with this, that is my best guess. I'm hoping someone else will chime in!
JenLeePA December 31, 2011
I'm using about 64 ounces of liquid in total, and scaled the spices upwards accordingly. It hadn't even reached a simmer yet when the liquid broke. It's now totally gross and I'm hoping I can figure out what went wrong before I make a second attempt. :(
Recommended by Food52