A smooth, yellowish white substance, cream is now obtained by means of centrifugation. 11 litres of milk are required to make 1 litre of cream. In order to be whipped, cream must contain at least 30% fat; the tiny air bubbles produced when cream is whipped make it light, doubling its volume and creating firm peaks. Adding sugar makes Chantilly cream and vanilla to whipped cream; it is named for the French chateau where it was invented by the famous chef Vatel. It is the fat portion of milk that rises to the top when milk has not been homogenized.
Cream is defined by its varying amounts of butterfat content. Half and half cream is a mixture of milk and cream, resulting in a butterfat content of 10 to 12%. Sour cream and light cream have a butterfat content of 18-20%. Heavy cream will have no less than 30% butterfat, averages around 36%, and will go as high as 40%. Cream is sold under various labels according to its fat content. Regulations stipulating the amount of fat each variety of cream must contain vary from one country to another.
Cream is the fat that rises to the surface of non-homogenised milk during the first stage of the butter-making process. Until the end of the 19th century, allowing milk to separate for 24 hours in a cool place, then skimming the concentrated fat off the surface with a ladle produced cream.
Whipping cream (35% milk fat) contains vitamin A. Cream is high in calories because it is a relatively fatty food. 62% of the fat is comprised of saturated acids; and like all animal fats, it contains cholesterol. Depending on its fat content, cream contains between 10 – 38 milligrams of cholesterol per 30 millilitres.
Cream is pasteurised and homogenized before it is sold; it may also be sterilized, either by normal means or by means of ultra-heat treatment (UHT). Cream has to be heated to higher temperatures than the milk from which it is derived because it contains more bacteria. It is thus heated to a minimum of 65.6 – 68.3°C for 30 minutes or to 76.7 – 79.4°C for 16 seconds. Light creams and table creams also have to be homogenised to make them thicker, as well as to prevent the whey and the fat from separating. Whipping cream does not have to be homogenized because pasteurisation liquefies the fat globules. Be sure to check the expiration date on the package.
Fresh cream is a very perishable food, unless it is pasteurised and sterilized or ultra-heat-treated (UHT), then packaged in sterile containers. Like milk, it is an ideal medium for the development of bacteria and turns sour when exposed to heat and light. It should be stored in the refrigerator and used before its expiration date. Unopened UHT or long-storage cream can be stored for up to 45 days at room temperature; once opened, however, it is just as perishable as other dairy products and should be refrigerated. Whipped cream will retain its consistency for several hours when refrigerated. Cream should not be frozen, because freezing alters its flavour and tends to give it a granular texture. Furthermore, cream that has been frozen cannot be whipped. Always thaw cream in the refrigerator.
Whipped cream should be beaten at the last minute unless it can be refrigerated, because it tends to deteriorate in the heat. Use chilled utensils if possible; refrigerate them for 30 minutes or put them in the freezer if you are short of time. Do not add anything (sugar, vanilla) to the cream until it begins to foam. Whipped cream will hold up for a few hours, but once it starts to turn yellow, it can turn into butter.
- For the best results, whip cream at around 5°C after chilling the bowl and beater in the freezer.
- Whipped cream should double in volume, particularly if it has a 35% milk fat content. (Higher fat creams do not increase as much in volume).
- When sugar is added to the cream, the volume and the stiffness of the whip is reduced and the whipping time will be longer, therefore flavourings or sugar should be added once the cream is whipped. Fold through quickly and lightly using a rubber or plastic spatula.
- Too much handling takes the air from the whip and decreases its volume.
Whipping quality is affected by…
- Milk Fat Content – a milk fat content of 35% is ideal for whipping. Lower fat creams are not as stable and will lose volume on standing. Creams with more than 45% milk fat easily `over whip' to produce an undesirable 'buttery' texture.
- Age – cream reaches its optimum whipping consistency 72 hours after production. It thickens with age.
- Temperature – whipping is most successful at 7°C or less. At these temperatures, the viscosity of the cream increases, the milk fat fraction hardens and thus the stability of the foam is maintained. The whipping ability of long life cream is diminished, as it is a homogenised product. However, it can be whipped if well chilled first.
Cream should not he added to soups or simmered dishes until the last minute to prevent it from going lumpy, nor should it be allowed to boil hard (it can be simmered).
Cream is widely used in cooking because its taste and texture are hard to match. It is added to coffee, vinaigrettes, soups, sauces, omelettes, terrines, desserts, candies, and liqueurs. Milk and yoghurt are being substituted for cream more and more frequently, as people become increasingly concerned about their consumption of fat and calories. However, it is interesting to note that, in terms of volume, creams containing 35% fat or less are lower in calories than butter, margarine, or oil.
Whipped cream decorates and enriches pastries, soufflés, pies, ices, charlottes, Bavarian creams, sauces, and fruit. It is an essential ingredient in vacherins (cream-filled meringues) and cream puffs.
Cream can still be used once it turns sour, espe
- Double Cream
- Thickened Cream
- Pure Cream
- Clotted or Scalded Cream
- Sour Cream