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Recipes - Mixing Dairy Products

t
tina F Mar 21, 2005 09:29 AM

I have been watching food shows and I cannot understand why they mix dairy products. For example:

For a cole Slaw dressing: mixture of sour cream, butter milk and mayo...why not just use only mayo or only sour cream?(another food show)

For whipped topping: whipped heavy cream mixed with marscapone...why not just use the whipped cream(Giada)

A dessert component of a wolfgang puck recipe: mixes ricotta and creme fraiche...why not just use ricotta or creme fraiche?

A dip type thingy by the Barefoot Contessa" mixes yougurt and sour cream...why not just use one or the other?

Am I missing something here? If there is an article or other source that explains the rationale behind these combos, please direct me to it. I would love to learn more and why?

  1. k
    krissywats Mar 24, 2005 06:35 PM

    My favorite french onion dip is a mixture of cream cheese, mayo and sour cream. Anyone of those alone would not nearly be as good. Just mayo would be hideous. Just cream cheese would be cheese and not dip. Just sour cream would be too harsh for the mellow sweetness of the caramlized onions.

    I'm a huge fan of dips, for instance, and I have found that unless you mix, you can't balance the flavors as necessary.

    I think this goes for a lot of recipes. Adding marscapone, as you mention, adds a completely different dimension.

    1. w
      Wayne Keyser Mar 21, 2005 04:59 PM

      The answer lies not in the requirements of the food, but in the requirements of television. They've got a half-hour to fill, and the same basic library of wonderful straight-to-the-point recipes have been done long ago ... what's a TV star going to do? Let's see ... AHA! I could trick up the recipe any number of ways and pretend I'm improving it! Looks like I've earned my salary for another episode!

      Tina, I'm with you - give me the basic principles and I'll use my own creativity, thanks.

      1. d
        dillard Mar 21, 2005 09:45 AM

        These dairy products simply taste different from each other, have different textures, thicknesses, degrees of sourness or creaminess, etc.

        Sort of like hamburger meat and steak and roast beef are all the same thing, essentially, but are not interchangeable.

        Marscapone, for example, is heavier than whipped cream. It might be too rich to be used alone. So a mixture of marscapone mixed with cream makes something halfway between marscapone and cream which is spreadable but still thicker and richer than straight whipped cream. Also, ricotta is more of a cheese while creme fraiche is more like yogurt. So if you want a cheesy-yogurty thing, you mix 'em.

        Ah the beauty and infinite variety of dairy. Hope that helps.

        6 Replies
        1. re: dillard
          k
          kc girl Mar 21, 2005 10:02 AM

          Great explanation. Flavors and textures are different.

          Maybe OP should conduct a taste test of see if there's a noticeable difference.

          OP wrote: "For a cole Slaw dressing: mixture of sour cream, butter milk and mayo...why not just use only mayo or only sour cream?"

          The Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) says she doesn't like the taste of just using mayonnaise and thins it and dilutes the saltiness with something (even wine sometimes).

          And, mayo is not dairy unless your considering eggs a dairy product.

          1. re: kc girl
            t
            Tina F Mar 21, 2005 10:32 AM

            Thanks to both for your responses. I have tested all of the above and I know how they taste individually.

            For example Vermont & Butter co. creme friache has the same texture as Philadelphia Cream Cheese except that PCC is more sweet butter flavor while CF is slightly tangy and nutty.

            Fresh Ricotta reminds me texture wise of crumbly cottage cheese BUT fresh ricotta is creamy and nutty like ceme fraiche but more sweet than tangy(when I say sweet, i dont mean honey sweet)

            Buttermilk is sour with a heavy cream consistency. Yogurt is slightly tangy and is somewhere between sour cream and buttermilk in consitency. Sour cream reminds me of dehydrated buttermilk.

            Quark reminds me of processed cottage cheese in taste but with a stiffer consistency.

            I guess my experiences above are based on the brands I jave tried. The question is when I see the recipes, I often wonder what the chef is trying to achieve...

            1. re: Tina F
              c
              Caitlin McGrath Mar 21, 2005 11:37 AM

              The chef is trying to achieve a certain balance between the flavors and textures of the different components. Mayonnaise alone makes a very different dressing than mayonnaise and sour cream or buttermilk together (and vice versa), and presumably it's not one that the chef finds pleasing.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                l
                linza Mar 21, 2005 11:46 AM

                I think that the 'richness' is also a factor. For example a chicken salad made with all mayo has a much richer/fattier/saltier taste the sour cream minimizes that.

                1. re: linza
                  j
                  JudiAU Mar 21, 2005 03:25 PM

                  One reason they are mixed is if the dairy products aren't what they want, i.e. add creme fraiche or butter to boost the fat content of U.S. whipped cream.

              2. re: Tina F
                s
                Sir Gawain Mar 21, 2005 01:47 PM

                >>For example Vermont & Butter co. creme friache has the same texture as Philadelphia Cream Cheese except that PCC is more sweet butter flavor while CF is slightly tangy and nutty.

                Really???? I have to disagree. Creme fraiche is much less dense and creamier, and at the same time lighter in weight, than Philly cream cheese. They are very much unlike each other.

                What is closest in texture to Philly cream cheese is fromage blanc, also from VBC. But it's much "leaner" tasting.

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