I’ve posted a good bit about the huge family of drinks that go under the name horchata. Hence I was delighted when long-term Facebook friend, Stanford Chiou, put me on to this piece on the science of horchatas by Arielle Johnson.
“On a molecular level, horchata-making is about grinding, soaking and blending rice, almonds, seeds, chufas, etc. to encourage their fat, starch and/or protein molecules to migrate into the water you’re blending them with, and to float there as a thickened, milky-creamy mixture known as a suspension. Suspensions with especially tiny particles, like horchatas, will remain in this floating, opacified, viscous state indefinitely.
Starch, protein and fats each interact with water a little differently, leading to differences in the suspensions they form. This means that the texture of a given horchata will vary depending on its base ingredient. Fat molecules, in their pure state, are loath to mix with water and will separate into distinct layers like a broken vinaigrette.The fats in nuts and seeds, however, are fitted with tiny coats of protein, which is much happier to mix with water. These coated fat droplets, known as oil bodies, create an especially thick mixture called an emulsion.”
A fairly complete list of my posts on horchata. I have a bulging file of other historical notes and other ingredients.