Culinary Mystery -- Wine

Joined Oct 9, 2008
Okay, I put 1/2stick (60g) good unsalted butter, 150g cold water, and 50g white wine in a heavy ziploc bag with a pinch of salt. I processed it in a water bath at 175F/80C for 2 hours. The idea was to extract the butter flavor into the water, and I've read that a little alcohol helps with this process.

The result smelled fabulous: pure butter.

The taste was hideous: acid, bitter, just deeply unpleasant, something you'd naturally spit out.

Admittedly, I used this stuff:

But I definitely do not have a subtle wine palate, and indeed I drank the rest of the bottle quite contentedly while the butter was processing.

Something happened there, something quite dramatic, and it was BAD. And I'd like it not ever to happen again.

Any ideas?
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I think you may need a chemist for this one. the only guess I can make is that it may be better to leave the salt out during the process. 

Otherwise, maybe the time was too much. But just guessing. 

Is there a name for what you were trying to do?
Joined May 5, 2010
I am confused Chris....You said you wanted the WATER to be flavored by the butter?

To what end? What do plan to do with the water....or for that matter, the butter?

If you are trying the flavor the butter, my experience has been with herbs.

I'll combine the butter, water, herb and salt, bring to a simmer on the stove top and allow all the water to evaporate.

I'll then add more water and repeat the process.

I'll do this 4-5 times, each time evaporating all the water before adding more.

After the last time I strain all remaining liquid and what remains is infused clarified butter.

I believe your bitter taste was a combination of things. 

The salt and wine can cause bitterness.

Also the fact that you used Sous Vide and not direct heat, as the cooking process mellows out all flavors.

Also the fact that there is still alcohol present in the mixture as the SV process does not cook out the alcohol.
Joined Jun 23, 2015
Could it be that cooking this mix caused the fat to oxidize?  This would produce a bad flavor.
Joined Sep 29, 2016
Lol I was expecting a discussion about wine in cooking. I was going to say "I don't drink wine, it's all sour grapes to me. I just cook with it, and I choose whichever bottle looks the most interesting (although I do know which types go with which foods etc)".

Never heard of this though.


as other have stated im slightly confused what the end goal is with this 

3 parts water 1 part wine with butter 

the 3/1 ratio of water should have nullified any sourness from the wine even if the wine was vinegar 

perhaps the 175 degree water gave your mixture the flavor of the ziplock bag plastic 
Joined Feb 9, 2014
Probably too high temp to be enzyme activity, so that leaves a chemical reaction. Maybe that was a high enough time/temperature to cause something to happen between the milk solids and the wine?
Last edited:
Joined Oct 9, 2008
The aim is irrelevant here, but because folks have asked:

I wanted to extract the intense buttery flavor of good cultured butter into water. This is because spherification, à la Ferran Adrià et al., does not work well with a high-fat mixture. And my idea was to have a beautiful sphere of flavored butter, but I don't care about the fat content.

I've found other methods since, but....

I had read that flavor extraction works best in the presence of some alcohol. Because the ultimate flavor sought commonly includes white wine, I used white wine for the experiment.

After other tests, I conclude that cheap white wine, butter, and long sous vide processing do not mix. I suspect a reaction between milk solids and tannin.

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