Monday, 9 February 2009


Cream is a dairy by-product – it is a layer of butterfat that is skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. In this method (or the un-homogenized milk method), over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In many countries, cream is sold in several grades depending on the total butterfat content. Cream can be dried to a powder for shipment to distant markets.

Cream produced by cows (particularly Jersey cattle) grazing on natural pasture often contains some natural carotenoid pigments derived from the plants they eat; this gives the cream a slight yellow tone, hence the name ‘cream’ to identify the colour of yellowish-white tones. Cream from non grazing cows, on grain or grain-based pellets, is white.

Cream is used as an ingredient in many foods, including ice cream, sauces, soups, stews, puddings, and some custard bases, and is also used for cakes. Irish cream is an alcoholic liqueur which blends cream with whiskey and coffee. Cream is also used in curries. Cream (usually light/single cream or half and half) is often added to coffee.

For cooking purposes, both single and double cream can be used in cooking, although the former can separate when heated, usually if there is a high acid content.


Thickened or Double cream has about 48% of milk fat. It's the easiest and thickest cream to whip, usually used for for puddings and desserts. It can also be piped.

Whipped cream is made by whisking or mixing air into cream with more than 30% fat, to turn the liquid cream into a soft solid. Nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide may also be used to make whipped cream.

Sour cream, common in many countries including the U.S. and Australia, is cream (12 to 16% or more milk fat) that has been subjected to a bacterial culture that produces lactic acid (0.5%+), which sours and thickens it.

Crème fraîche (28% milk fat) slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Mexican crema (or cream espesa) is similar to crème fraîche.

Smetana is a heavy cream product (35-40% milk fat) Central and Eastern European sour cream.

Rjome or rømme is Norwegian sour cream cointaining 35% milk fat, similar to Icelandic rjómi.

Clotted cream, common in the United Kingdom, is cream that has been slowly heated to dry and thicken it, producing a very high-fat (55%) product. This is similar to Indian malai.

TIP: It’s always handy to have some long life cream stored in the pantry. During summer, I suggest you store it in the fridge.

No comments: