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Making one's own Creme Fraiche

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I would like to try making my own as its hit or miss here whether it'll be in the shop when its needed..

So, I did some research, found so many different recipes that I figured I'd better ask a few questions before starting this project..

Sour cream or buttermilk? Which one makes it the best and the thickest? What would the difference in taste be using one or the other?

If I was to use the buttermilk, should I purchase the old fashioned style (its higher in fat and very thick) or just plain old buttermilk?

Also, the amounts?? geez, that can be somewhat confusing!
Heres just a few as an example..

From: Lesley Chesterman (Montreal Gazette)

conbine 500ml 35% cream with two tablespoons (30ml) buttermilk..

From: More Than Salt and Pepper by Caren McSherry

combine 1 cup whipping cream with 4 tablespoons sour cream or buttermilk..

Then on an creme fraiche search I did here, its recommened to use the same amount of each..
1 cup whipping cream with 1 cup sour cream or buttermilk..

Another one by Rob Feenie.. His calls for 1 cup cream, 1/3 cup buttermilk, plus 1 tsp. lemon juice. He also states that the standard porportions for creme fraiche are 3 parts cream, 1 part buttermilk and a little lemon juice..

:confused: As you can see.. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 23
I don't really have any advice as I've only made creme fraiche a couple of times, but when I did, I used Paula Wolfert's technique found as an addendum to her recipe, Poulet aux Perles d'Ail Doux et au Sauternes, found in the first edition of The Cooking of Southwest France. Here it is verbatim, unedited, and in all it's verbose Paula Wolfert glory.

CREME FRAICHE ... Delicious and thick with a round, nutty flavor, this wonderful product is often used in desserts, but it also makes a great marinade in my house for broiling and cooking. It is sweet heavy cream that is naturally thickened with the lactic bacteria - the good bacterial part of cream, which is killed by pasteurization - restored.

You can make it easily with the freeze-dried Solait starter. Homemade Creme Fraiche made with the freeze-dried lactic bacteria will stay fresh for 3 weeks in the refrigerator. It makes the best-tasting product - even better than the commercially produced Creme Fraiche now available in some parts of the country (some American-made commercial versions contain preservatives and gum for thickening). To use the starter, mix it with 1 tablespoon cold water until thoroughly dissolved, then combine with 1 quart heavy cream that has been heated to 100 degrees F. Let it rest in the "cooker" made by Solait, or under pillows and blankets just the way the Turks used to make yogurt. Do not use an electric yogurt maker. Let it rest 18 hours, or until it sets (this can sometimes take up to 24 hours). Then place it in the refrigerator to set further. Chilling will make it thicker! It keeps a few weeks under good refrigeration.

To make Creme Fraiche with buttermilk, combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons active-culture buttermilk in a large jar.Cover and store in a warm place away from drafts 12 to 18 hours, or until thickened. Stir and refrigerate, covered. Keeps 1 week or longer.

As a variation, Creme Fraiche can be made with light cream. In this case, it should not be used for broiling or thickening sauces but can be used as an accompaniment to desserts and as a tenderizer for chicken, and as part of a sauce in a dish such as Squab Chicken or Rock Cornish Game Hen with Lemon-Garlic Sauce. Save about 2 tablespoons of Creme Fraiche to use as a starter for your next batch. It will keep a week and will make more Creme Fraiche in half the time.

If you want double-thick Creme Fraiche, it is very easy to make. Simply drain your Creme Fraiche in a drip coffee funnel lined with a paper filter and set over a jar. The whey separates through to the jar below, leaving the thickened Creme Fraiche in the filter. This process takes about 3 hours. (If you let it go longer, you will end up with-fresh cheese.)

Don't discard the separated whey. According to Barbara Kafka, whey has special cooking uses as well as nutritional value. She suggests using it to make lighter and flakier pastry. Use it also in fish and vegetable stocks, where it quickly draws out the flavor of the ingredients. Whey will keep fresh for about a week in the refrigerator.

My Note: I recall using the thicker, more flavorful, buttermilk.

Shel
post #3 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:11pm
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks Shel

I love the idea of the starter but don't recall ever seeing anything like that here..
I'll try the buttermilk version as that seems to be everyones first choice from what I've read so far.. Still curious as to what the difference would be using sour cream though.. I'll probably end up trying both just to see for myself..

By the way, I looked up Paula Wolfert's website as I was not familiar with her or her books.. I'm quite enjoying it..
Have you made many of the recipes from your book?
post #5 of 23
I've made a few of her recipes, although she's quick to point out that many of the recipes in her book are from a variety of sources, and are not really "hers." She will sometimes adapt a recipe to use ingredients that are not found in the US, although she was also quick to point out where more "authentic" ingredients could be found, usually by mail order or, now, thru the 'net. It's certainly easier to get authentic ingredients these days, especially in my area.

I made the dish mentioned in my original post, used her technique for air dried duck breast, her duck confit (she has a wonderful chapter on making confit the traditional way), a cassoulet (which, in the book, is preceeded by a five page introduction on her search for the most authentic cassoulet and the anecdote of how André Daguin prepared three versions of the dish for her for lunch one day), and a Catalan chicken dish that bears the nickname "the poultry dish for the bandits' hideout" (repaire de bandits Catalans). And although I don't bake much, I do love brioche, and her account of trying to make the "perfect" brioche dough is wonderful.

I am a big fan of hers if only because she was the one who inspired me to search out authentic ingrediends, eschew shortcuts, and pay attention to the history of a dish, understanding it's origins and background and how important - or unimportant - local ingredients can be.

Two other cooks who inspired me (although there were certainly more than three in total) were Madeline Kamann because of her memoire/cookbook "When French Women Cook" and similarly the recipes and stories of Josephine Araldo laid out in "From a Breton Garden."

Shel
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank for the great info Luc

Actually I'm just outside Vancouver, New Westiminster to be exact..
I just like to read newspaper food columns.. They're usually full of good stuff..

I read about Lesley Chesterman on egullet so of course had to look him too..

I did read the older creme fraiche thread. That's where I saw the 1 to 1 ratio which was different from the other formula's I've read so thats why I figured I'd ask more questions..

I've checked my buttermilk and its pasturized, not sure about the thicker one at the supermarket but I suspect it will be the same.
Also, my sour cream has added ingredients, (corn starch, gelatin, guar gum, and much more before you finally see the words, active bacterial culture.. Now I'm wondering if any of them will work properly..
About the only thing I have that does not say pasturized or have added junk, is my Balkan yogourt..

I'm going to have to see if I can find untreated organic sour cream or buttermilk to go ahead with this project.
post #7 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:09pm
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post #8 of 23
Here's a thread on the subject that I found on another forum:

Homemade Creme Fraiche

Shel
post #9 of 23
Joyfull, any dairy sold in this country under a federal licence has to be aged 60 days if it comes from raw milk. That's why only ripened cheese qualifies, not buttermilk, sour cream or even yoghurt. You probably won't get any added benefits from using organic products; just look at the ingredient list for a pure and simple product.
post #10 of 23
My down and dirty method is pour a pint of heavy cream in a bowl. Add 2-3/4? tablespoons of sour cream and whisk. Cover and let sit in fridge for a day. Whisk again before use.

Chefguy had a more complicated method involving lemon juice.

But, what he said also was that he likes to add white pepper, especially if it is to be used with a chocolate dessert. He says the peppercorn flavor goes really good w/chocolate.
post #11 of 23
i use the heavy cream, butter milk, and lemon juice. I would post the recipe but others would correct it and all I can tell you is that I have been doing this sort of stuff for years. all my recipes work...if you want more info, contact me direct via PM>
Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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post #12 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:08pm
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post #13 of 23
Luc, yoghurt, buttermilk etc is always sold pasteurized, and you'd be hard pressed to find a farmer who would even give you a taste of the unpasteurized stuff even within the confines of his property. Remember the Michael Schmidt story? 60 days is a bit of a "magic number", but it has been proven that E.Coli is rendered 99% inactive after the prescribed aging. To allow the sale of dairy aged less than that would be counterproductive for those who support choice because it would bring even more scrutiny on those who work with raw milk products. Raw milk artisans are highly respectful of their product and HACCP measures, for the most part, but they are swimming upstream and few could handle the additional cost of added scrutiny and bad press. The industry is simply not ready for it; imagine the backlash should just one person get sick from what could be a raw milk product after the rules were loosened?

Fresh dairy with live cultures are still available in pasteurized form, nevertheless; from what I understand it just means they've been added back into the mix in a scientifically controlled fashion.
post #14 of 23
Thankfully, I can go to any of about 10 local supermarkets/small shops and get all the creme fraiche I need! :D
post #15 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:19pm
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post #16 of 23
first off let me appologize to Luc H. I feel I should appologize for my comment earier....I am a little gun shy as it were.....another forum there were instances were cruel things were directed towards me......very non constructive. then comments that were ment to ridicule me..... It just was not something I wanted to fall into again so I proceed cautiously.

with the fresh raw milk products that I make I have never had any problem with contamination. Of course there are some proceedures where you do have to heat the milk up and hold at a certain temp for a certain length of time before adding in the cultures that you want to rippen the milk.

I DO know how and have made many dairy products on a regular basis for many years now. I do not advertise because I deal with individuals by word of mouth.......anything I "sell" IS aged 60days or more, as stated above.
Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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post #17 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:16pm
I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #18 of 23
Little Mamma, and others I apolgise for getting off track a bit.

Little Mamma, I could not agree with Luc more regarding participation in this forum. I find that the free flow of ideas, from very savvy members is not only very appealing but thought provoking as well. For those of us that do not have the years of experience many have or the training/education, it is great to have this site as such a great resource. Very seldom have I seen any bashing....(huge kudos for the members/moderators and owner) so for those of us that don't feel we know it all...please share freely.
Scott B
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As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
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Scott B
MISC

As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
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post #19 of 23
my appologies to all if I seemed a little stand-offish. Another forum, not this one has made me a little gun shy to being totally upfront on giving and taking oppions. I have not had good expeiences and remain guarded on the whole. In anycase....good critisisum welcomed. just wary of hurtfull remarks...that is all


on the subject of fresh milk or raw milk products. I do fine in working with those who want my products and stay legal. there are different things you can add to the milk if it has been pasurized to help in the rippening process. Try adding calcium cloride...it restores the balance of the calcium in the milk. for 2gallons of milk you will need to dilute 1/4 teaspoon in 1/4 cup cool water. stir and add diluted mixture to thr ripened milk.
Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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post #20 of 23
you know I am having the dernest time with posting....the post made earlier showed that it never posted. now it is there. sorry all....if I repeat myself.

then again...not to savy with computers.
Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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post #21 of 23

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Edited by Luc_H - 10/30/15 at 10:20pm
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #22 of 23
Luc H, I tried to send a pm but I guess you box is full. any way thank you for the link. I use information from Ricki Carroll....the cheese Queen.

un ripend cheese curd, with vinegar and the longer you introduce the milk to low heat the tighter and firmer the curd.....
Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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Make a Dairy Farmer Happy and Drink your Milk
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post #23 of 23
Do you know where I can find a Solait yogurt maker?
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