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Creme Fraiche revisited

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  • D.Gresh Mar 5, 2006 11:57 AM

Well I put my 48 hour ultra-pasteurized creme fraiche in the fridge and it did thicken up, though the flavor did seem a bit too strong.

I spent this weekend visiting 6 stores in my area (northern Westchester NY, NOT the boonies) and not a single one had non-ultra-pasteurized cream (or creme fraiche for that matter). This included 4 regular grocery stores, a gourmet market and a health food store. Pretty discouraging.

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  1. Until people refuse to buy the ultra-pasturized junk, that is what is going to be on the shelves. Daries and stores like the junk because of its long shelf life.

    Complain, complain, complain!

    1. My suggestion would be to talk to the store management. If enough complain, they'll stock it...but also, they may be able to special order it for you.
      If there is a Whole Foods (I'm guessing not) near you, they have creme fraiche and even raw cream.
      You could also look into buying some cream directly from the farm.

      1. Check the web site or Vermont butter and cheese co that may direct you to a retailer near you. My guess is that the gourmet store or health food market may be willing to order some

        Link: http://www.vtbutterandcheeseco.com

        1. Tried one more place (larger health food store) and got a pint of pasteurized (not ultra) cream. Ok, so I went ahead and bought it because this has become a bit of a mission; however I already did the recipe(s) I wanted it for (winged it with sourcream or my pretty tough creme fraiche). So now that I'm going to make some more, does anyone have any good suggestions for how to use it? I'd like something more than a dollop in soup; I usually use sour cream for that; I'd like something to really showcase the creme fraiche. TIA.

          4 Replies
          1. re: D.Gresh

            Subject line says it all--how long will my homemade creme fraiche last in the fridge?

            1. re: D.Gresh

              Subject line says it all--how long will my homemade creme fraiche last in the fridge?

              1. re: D.Gresh

                you can use it in any way that you would use sour cream. on an omelette. in top of mexican dishes like tacos and enchiladas. if you put it in a stroganoff, it is better than sour cream because it does not separate so easily. sometimes i just eat it with a spoon, out of a bowl. good stuff!

                1. re: D.Gresh

                  Sweeten and eat with fresh berries or peaches; use instead of whipped cream for a twist on classic shortcake dessert; w/pie, cobbler, etc. Or mix with cream cheese and use as a base for a cold fruit tart.

                  Make a decadent sauce for pasta--sauteed wild mushrooms, shallots, garlic simmered in creme fraiche--and top it with lots of fresh parmesan.

                2. I'm confused, are you making your own creme fraiche or buying already made? I've been making my own for awhile now and if I remember correctly the recipe came from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques (sp?)". It called for a carton of heavy cream (I use regular off the shelf ultra-pasteurized) brought to blood temp and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk for the first batch. After it's thoroughly mixed I leave it at room temp for a full 24 hours, then stick it in the fridge for another 24 hours before use. The first batch is always kind of runny but tasty and usable. With 2 tablespoons from that batch, I culture the next batch. Same recipe, just use the leftover creme fraiche instead of buttermilk. This new batch is always much thicker and by the third batch I have the consistency I like with a nice tang. Three seems to be the magic number because from there on out the creme fraiche seems to remain the same no matter how many batches I make- nice and thick, creamy, tangy. The original recipe said this would be the case. I usually make a batch every two weeks, simply because that's how fast we use it. I've had it go for 3 weeks and it's been fine, but last winter one of them sat for a month before it was all used up and when I pulled it out it had turned pink so I tossed it and started over. So for me, 3 weeks max is it's lifespan.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: morwen

                    morwen, how many ounces is the carton of heavy cream you start with?
                    thanks

                    1. re: csweeny

                      Here's the recipe. It starts out with a cup of cream but when I culture the second batch I use a pint of cream and 4 Tbs of creme fraiche. It's berry and peach season, must have lots of creme fraiche on hand!

                      The smallest amount of buttermilk I can get is a quart so with the leftovers I make several batches of different kinds of scones, cut them out, and freeze them unbaked. Then when I need a quick dessert I can bake a few scones, cover them with fruit and dollop the creme on them.

                      Crème Fraiche

                      Heat 1 cup heavy cream to body temperature. Stir in 2 T buttermilk, pour into a glass container, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temp overnight or up to 24 hours, until thickened. Will keep in the fridge a few weeks. To make more, follow the above recipe substituting homemade crème fraiche for the buttermilk. As time goes on the homemade fraiche will become thicker and stickier.

                      Tips: I do use a digital thermometer when warming the cream over low heat. I don't let it go above 98 degrees.
                      Leave the culture sit for a full 24 hours. If you forget it's sitting there (like I sometimes do) a few more hours won't hurt it.
                      Definitely chill for a full 24 hours before using. It seems to go on thickening in the fridge.

                      1. re: morwen

                        Thanks so much, I figured you mean the 8 oz. size but ya never know! Here's one for anyone's input, how would the powdered cultured buttermilk blend work as well? I have a bunch leftover from a ranch dip recipe and wondered if anyone else has tried this.

                        1. re: csweeny

                          I haven't tried it either even though I have a can of the powder in my fridge. I might give it a shot this week just for giggles.

                          1. re: morwen

                            done, if it's edible I'll post, if not.........

                            1. re: csweeny

                              ok, the powdered stuff worked out pretty well... thickened nicely, nice, tangy flavor. the only issue i have is a (very) slight grittiness, probably from either the cream not being warm enough or my hesitency (sp) to over wisk initially... didn't want creme butter now did we...

                              1. re: csweeny

                                Did you liquefy the buttermilk powder before mixing it into the cream or did you mix the powder straight into the cream? I would suspect the grittiness happened if you did the latter. Or maybe it's just because it's powder to begin with. I don't think it would be from the temperature of the cream. It's great to know the powder worked though. That will save having to buy a whole quart of buttermilk (but I suspect my husband will miss the ready to bake scones in the freezer).

                                1. re: morwen

                                  Straight in, powder form it went, (first mistake), 2nd, (which wasn't apparent until several days later), is that I think the proportions don't translate from buttermilk to powder too well. It got a little too thick, especially around the edges, more like a soft cheese/butter, gradually thinning towards the center. I/m guessing it can be done, just needs more tinkering.

                        2. re: morwen

                          I don't know if I've just been lucky, but I've had good results from both buttermilk and yogurt, with proportions all over the map, and no pre-heating. The last batch I made was for the Easter lunch strawberry shortcakes, and I think I used about a half-cup of buttermilk in a pint of cream. It was fairly elderly buttermilk, too. Came out very thick and nicely tangy - I actually had to thin it for table use.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            Me too. I've never heated it, just stuck it out on the counter. (I do live in a warm climate.) Whatever cream I buy at the supermarket, and buttermilk, young or old, in eyeballed proportions. Finishes in fridge, where it thickens further. Comes out every time.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Top of the fridge is my favorite spot. Out of drafts, out of the way, nice quiet corner in a bowl with a dishtowel over it. Works a treat. Now I'm all hot to make some more...

                          2. re: morwen

                            Good info, Morwen. Thanks

                            1. re: morwen

                              Interesting. I never heard of heating the cream. I just mix the pasteurized (but not ultra) heavy cream with the buttermilk and cover the container with waxed paper. I let it sit at room temp until the mixture clabbers, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                "Joy of Cooking" instructs to heat before letting it sit. No boiling. Not sure why, but I bet it's like bread yeast - just does better in a warmer environment.

                          3. re: morwen

                            As the original poster years ago, I refound this thread and used your recipe with regular old Ultra Pastuerized (all that any of the stores around me have) and it thickened up perfectly with 24 hours at room temp and 24 hours in the fridge. Thanks! I'll try your method of continuing the culture every couple weeks.

                            Edited to add, meant to reply to morwen. Don't know how it ended up here.

                            1. re: DGresh

                              Glad to hear you gave it a shot! The only problem I have with it is it tends to get put on and in all kinds of stuff since there's so much on hand all the time and I love the flavor/texture! Creme Fraiche,,, it's not just for berries anymore!