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Homemade creme fraiche - recipe suggestions needed

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Last weekend I tried to make creme fraiche at home with the following recipe:

2 c. heavy cream - not ultrapasteurized
2 tblspns buttermilk

Combine, store in an airtight jar in a warm place for 12 hours and refridgerate to let thicken further.

The results were less than stellar; at the end of the initial 12 hours and as many in the fridge it was nowhere near creme fraiche consistency, but the tast was similar.

I'd like to try it again but not with this recipe so any suggestions for other ones were great. Alternatively, perhaps it's my technique that needs help?

Many thanks.

Chalmers

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  1. i've hand to tinker with creme fraiche recipes myself. i don't know if it's the elevation i'm at or the cream, but the following works for me:

    first, i've had best results with cream that has no (or less than commerical amounts of) carageenan. it's an additive that isn't harmful for you, but makes the product more stable somehow (sorry, my science fails me here).

    second, I add about 1/2 cup of buttermilk to 2 cups of heavy cream. Then do all the usual bits...combine, stir, i prefer shaking in my storage container.

    third, i leave it in a slightly warm place, like right next to the stove top.

    fourth, i need ALOT more than 12 hours. At least 24, depending on the weather (really). My last batch worked perfectly with the aforementioned proportions and 48 hours of sitting out.

    then refrigerate and it's been heavenly...hope this helps!

    1. According to Julia, 2 Tbs is the right amount of buttermilk (or yogurt) for ONE cup of cream - not two. In "The Way to Cook," she says that she later went to a lighter version, beatng together equal parts of sour cream and heavy cream, which she would then either use as is or let sit out to thicken and get a little tangier. I've done it both ways, and have always been happy with the results.

      1. When making yogurt, adding powdered milk to the liquid milk will produce a firmer result. I think that the theory with creme fraiche is the same. Let us know how it turns out.

        1. The Cake Bible recommends 1 tablespoon of buttermilk per cup of heavy cream. I just made some yesterday. With ultrapasteurized cream it took 24 hours. I have never let it go that long, this time it thickened beautifully.
          -Becca

          2 Replies
          1. re: Becca Porter

            Thanks for the tip. The market that is most convenient to me, Giant, only carries ultrapasteurized. I have to drive a bit farther to the Whole Foods to get the non-ultra heavy cream. I'll try it out and see what happens.

            Chalmers

            1. re: Chalmers

              You are lucky, I've looked everywhere for the good stuff. I don't have access to any. I was glad to see it works so well even with ultrapasteurized.
              -Becca

          2. What consistency should my creme be upon removing it from the fridge's chill? The store bought stuff is about as thick as slightly softened cream cheese; somewhere between cream cheese and sour cream, let's say. Do I want to be able to pour it or spoon it or spread it?? Just curious what your experience has been. Also, should I let my finished product come to room temp before using. Yes, I don't use the stuff much but am leaning, don't you think?

            Cheers -

            Chalmers

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chalmers

              I have purchased creme fraiche at farmer's markets in France and they would spoon it out of five gallon buckets into a container. The consistency was like sour cream after it has been beaten with a fork. Sutton Place Gourmet (in Old Town) as late as last Fall had a French-sourced creme fraiche, unpasteurized altogether (as they prefer it), but I think someone found out and it was taken off the shelves (I believe it is not legal to import unpasteurized products).

              1. re: Chalmers

                From my experience, it will firm up a bit in the fridge, but I generally like mine the consistency of sour cream. I find the little tubs at the store to be too dense. If it gets too dense in the fridge, you can thin out w/ more heavy cream and loosen it w/ a spoon.

                Rick Bayless and Judy Rodgers have recipes for crema or mock creme fraiche (respectively) in their books. Bayless's recipe calls for 2 tsp. of buttermilk per 1 c. of heavy cream while Rodgers calls for 2 TB. Bayless says his will take longer to thicken (more like 24 hrs), but that it will have a more developed flavor since it cultures longer.

                Things that I think will help next time:

                1. Slowly heat the heavy cream to about 85 deg. before pouring in the buttermilk.
                2. Do not tighten the lid on your jar. You can cover loosely w/ the lid or plastic wrap, but it needs some air to properly culture.
                3. If it hasn't thickened enough for you w/in 12 hrs, just let it sit out longer before putting in fridge. The type of cream, buttermilk, your house's temp. make this process variable. Good luck!

                PS. My favorite use for homemade creme fraiche is on the side of fruit desserts like tart tartin or clafouti. Yum.