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.
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.