We use whole coconut milk all the time. We love coconut but when I buy just coconut cream (not whole milk, just the cream), I've been having some trouble with saponification. Sometimes a cup of coffee that tastes like straight up soap, sometimes burping soap. Anyone else experience this?
Supposedly lauric acid, one of the main fatty acid constituents of coconut oil/fat, can have a soapy taste, but perhaps only for "super tasters". It was mentioned on the cookingforengineers forum once.
The poster suggests adding baking soda or banana to "neutralize" the lauric acid, though the chemistry of that doesn't really make sense. It's also not an appetizing option for coffee :(
I've also heard that over-ripe coconuts can exacerbate the soapy taste in general, so perhaps it's just your particular batch of cream.
Why would you want to use saponified oil for eating? That's how you make soap, I thought - you add lye to an oil or fat, [something something], you have soap. From wikipedia: "Saponification is a chemical process that produces soap from fatty acid derivatives. "
Also according to wikipedia: "Coconut cream can be made by simmering 1 part shredded coconut with one part water or milk until frothy, then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible; this is coconut milk. The coconut milk is refrigerated and allowed to set. Coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part that separates and rises to the top of the coconut milk." (My emphasis added)
First, I'm not even sure coconut cream is like milk cream - from the above it seems it's not all the fat that's risen to the top, it's coconut solids - so it's not pure fat (oil) like cream, just like concentrated coconut milk, so I'm not even sure how you'd saponify it.
But most importantly, why :)
I'm not a super-taster, but I've had this issue with a couple of brands of coconut milk. It almost tastes like coconut-perfumed soap. The Thai brand Chaokoh tasted like this most recently. I've also used a few other brands and have found this also. The coconut cream from the Indonesian brand Cocomas is awesome, however. It comes in a small, square container, like a small juice box and is quite thick and delicious...no soap!
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