~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Creme Fraiche...

Homemade Creme Fraiche.... I am quite fascinated with making dairy products at home. If it's a fairly simple process, I tend to want to try it. Always amazes me how you can take a couple of common ingredients and turn it into something that's quite spectacular. It's been fun over the years to make homemade ricotta, mascarpone, paneer...why, I 've even tried my hand at making kefir using kefir grains. And since I've never made creme fraiche....well, I decided I should give it a try. I had put it off far too long... I looked all over town trying to find a non- pastuerized cream, but didn't find any. And so I had to settle for the ultra-pastuerized cream. In any case, I felt I wanted to try it anyway.... even with an ultra-pastuerized cream.
I definitely knew I needed some live cultures in order for the creme fraiche to work. So I ended up using a yoghurt I had in my fridge...it had the necessary live cultures, so I was good to go. Most people recommend using buttermilk, but I think you can use any dairy that has live cultures in it. For me, it really was more of an experiment...just to see if I can get away with using the ultra -pastuerized cream. I was thrilled to find out that it worked...even though it took a bit longer than expected.
I placed my cream and yoghurt mixture in a cozy oven as my kitchen wasn't very warm....sort of like when you proof your bread. My creme fraiche took close to 36 hours too thicken....I was getting a bit worried after the 24 hour mark, but in the end it worked beautifully. Sometimes it pays to have a little bit of patience:).
Ok, so what is creme fraiche?....well, it's simply a "soured" cream. I suppose you can use plain old sour cream instead of creme fraiche in most recipes...but I think the taste isn't the same....sure they both have this tangy taste, but the creme fraiche has a richer taste due to its higher fat content. And well, homemade can't be beat:). Hope you enjoy...

Tip: Keep in mind the creme fraiche will continue to mature and thicken in the fridge.
Sweeten it a bit and use it as a topping for desserts. Use it in pan drippings to make a savory sauce, on top of potato pancakes, as a sauce for fish... or simply add it to other savory sauces for a smooth finish. I've even seen it used as a "sauce" for a pizza.

You will need:

1 cup heavy cream, room temp.*
1 TBS live culture yoghurt(or 2 TBS buttermilk), room temp.
*the higher in fat, the better...non-pastuerized cream is preferred

1. In a clean glass container, add the heavy cream along with yoghurt(or buttermilk, if using) and mix thoroughly. If your cream is cold out of the fridge, you may want to heat the heavy cream in a pan gently to just warm( room temp or so... nothing higher) and then add the yoghurt. This jump starts the bacteria to work....as the live cultures do thrive better in a warm environment.
2. Let stand overnight... or even up to 36 hours or so(depending on how warm your kitchen is and if you are using an Ultra-Pasteurized Cream)..or until thickened. I like to place a plastic wrap over the mixture.... or a small towel.
The creme fraiche will thicken, but won't be extra firm...probably the consistency of a custard. It will continue to thicken in the fridge.
3. Refrigerate for a week... or a bit longer.


Matthew said...

The length of time it took your creme fraiche to develop likely had little to do with the temp and more to do with your choice of yogurt cultures. In the pictures it appears that you're using Fage, which only has two types of probiotic. I've used Fage in the past to make yogurt and labneh cheese and it always takes a long time to develop. Try using something like plain Chobani yogurt which has six active cultures. I find that it works much faster.

Mihaela said...

Hi Ellie, thanks so much for sharing this! I did try to make creme fraiche after the recipe from Emily Luchetti's book: I only let heavu cream in a closed jar on the counter, and I tried it twice, it didn't turned out good. I'll try for sure your recipe :) Have a wonderful day!

Ellie said...

Matthew, Thanks so much for your input...I will be sure to try it with a Chobani yoghurt next time. For sure the amount of active cultures matters...
Again, thanks for sharing the great tip and for stopping by. Have a great day!

Mihaela, I am hoping it will come out this time for you...just use a good yoghurt/buttermilk with plenty of live cultures and no preservatives. Also, just place a towel over the jar...rather than a lid.

Mihaela said...

Hi Ellie, it's me again :) I was reading the previous comment, and I checked my old recipe: I mixed the heavy cream with sour cream (or buttermilk it said). Probably that's why mine didn't turned out good, the sour cream doesn't have that many cultures. I will make it with kefir, that's what I use for yogurt, and this time I'll just cover the jar with a towel :)

Ellie said...

Mihaela, I think you'll have some creme fraiche in no time:)! I'd love know how it comes out for you... Tanks for stopping by. And have great day!

Speranta said...

Hi Ellie,

Foarte interesant ideea, imi place foarte mult! "Homemade Creme Fraiche"

Simplu si gustos!

Ellie said...

Speranta, Multumesc... O "smantana" mai cremoasa buna pentru multe deserturi dar si pentru mancaruri cu sos.
Iti doresc o zi buna!

Cat said...

i'm so glad i found your blog! i've been scouring the net for sour cream recipes. i'm living in Turkey and as far as i know, sour cream does not exist here. (the up-side to living here food-wise is that the produce is stunningly fresh and delicious and the yoghurt is unbelievable!) i could only find UHT cream so it was wonderful to hear that it's possible to use that! aaaaand the only buttermilk i have is in powder form =/ i can probably somewhat easily find unpasteurized milk here (even though i am living in a large city) -- i believe buttermilk is the thick stuff that sits on top of unpasteurized milk? anyhow, great to know i can use yoghurt instead for the culturing! phew. i need the sour cream to make an absolutely amazing coffee cake that my mom makes state-side. i_also_need almond extract for the recipe. unfortunately, it's going to take 2 months to make that at home!! =) if you have any suggestions for alternatives to almond extract, that would be great! it would also be great because my husband won't eat anything that has extracts in it since they are made using alcohol (yes, the alcohol cooks off and it is such a minute amount that it doesn't matter anyways-and he is a scientist, so he knows all this-but is still uncomfortable with it =D). thanks again for the recipe!!! the internet is a beautiful thing... =)

Ellie said...

Cat, I'm glad you stopped by... and that I could be of help:).

I know what you mean about not finding certain ingredients... I sometime shave to deal with that myself here in the states... Montana:). I totally agree with you on the quality and flavor of the produce in Europe, every time I visit I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly can:).

Cat, You know, you can make sour cream using just some cream and lemon juice... to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 1 TBS lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature until thick(overnight is better... then refrigerate)

Also, plain yogurt can usually be used as a stand-in for sour cream in most baking recipes. Maybe you can strain it a bit if it is too runny.

Anyway, you may want to use an almond oil extract....instead of the alcohol extract. Normally, it shouldn't contain any alcohol. You'll definitely have to use drops instead of teaspoons as it is much more potent. You can buy the oil online( King Arthur Flour sells them, as well as Lorannoils, https://www.lorannoils.com/p-8258-almond-for-flavoring.aspx
Almond oil is artificial in flavor, so I'm not sure if you are ok with that.

Maybe you can use some Marzipan
paste instead to get some of the almond flavor you will need for the recipe. Just some ideas... hope it helps somewhat:)

It was really good to hear from you , and I hope the cake works out for you:).

Have a great day!