The particle size of fat droplets in dairy emulsions such as milk, ice cream and cream liqueurs has a defining impact on attributes such as stability, mouthfeel and whip ability, which are critical to a product’s commercial viability. In a liquid product, for example, droplets that are too large may create a greasy mouthfeel and have a greater tendency to coalesce and cream, compromising product stability. Emulsification to a smaller droplet size reduces these problems and may enhance flavour release. However, it is more energy intensive and, furthermore, a fine droplet size distribution is easily eroded unless flocculation is inhibited via the appropriate use of emulsifiers.
Establishing an optimal size for fat droplets and other components that define product performance is essential for commercial success. Here, we look at the analytical techniques that can be deployed to understand and control the properties of dairy emulsions, illustrating the application of laser diffraction in an experimental study.