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Question:Light whipping cream vs. heavy whipping cream

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Aside from the obvious difference of one product being less viscous than the other, what reasons would a cook have for using light instead of heavy? I've always used the heavy for sauces, whipped cream, etc. and every time I'm at the grocery store I look at it and wonder what the specific purpose for this product (the light) is. Anyone here have something that specifically calls for the light whipping cream?
Simply a curiosity that some of you professional folks might enlighten me on.
RTF
post #2 of 19
Hi RufusTF,

I am a food science professor (I hope that counts as a professional folk?).

Cream containing 30% or more (50%) of butterfat can be whipped. Light cream is usually below 35-36% and heavy above that.

Technically speaking. the more fat (up to 50% or so) the more stable the finished whipped cream will be. Additives like carrageenan, guar or locust bean gum also mono diglycerides are added to cream to make it stable (not separate) in the container. These additives also help in whipping. Light whipping cream would contain more gums to help during whipping.

All in all, the light whipping cream will make a lighter (maybe more fragile) whipped cream with maybe a little more effort then the heavy. Nutritionally, LWC has approx 20% less fat then HWC.

I hope this helps,
Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #3 of 19
The reason you see more "light whipping cream at the supermarkets?

(whisper...) It's cheaper!
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 19
ABSOLUTELY right Foodpump!!!!
Milk/dairy prices are directly proportional to butterfat content i.e. less fat = cheaper.

Luc H
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #5 of 19
Are you suggesting that these additives are "needed" in order to make a good, stable whipped cream using a "light" cream? What are your thoughts about these additives in a heavy cream?

Shel
post #6 of 19
Shel,

Even homogenized, cream is unstable. The additives are mainly used to stabilize the cream in the container so that it does not separate to butterfat on top and milk at the bottom when on the shelf at the supermarket. That type of configuration would be considered a faulty product for the consumer.
These same ingredients can be added in higher levels and in various combinations to stiffen the cream more and enhance whipping or to prevent the cream from collapsing when heated to make a sauce for example.
Mono and diglycerides are wax like and help to stabilize the fat in the fat/milk/air emulsion which is whipping cream.
Guar and locust bean gum come from plants (legume like)
Carrageenan is extracted from seaweed.
CMC or carboxymethylcellulose or cellulose gum is and extract from tree stump resins.

Light whipping cream is at the bottom spectrum of what can be whipped so yes, although not necessary, the additive combination is different then in the HWC to help in the whipping. Let's say it makes the product more <user-friendly> for amateur cooks.

Professionals/commercial whipping cream can be 40 to 50% butterfat. At that level, whipping cream is easy to make and very stable (utterly heavenly to taste also).

I hope I answered your question.
Luc H
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, that certainly does answer the question! Thanks!
Just as I suspected:fat makes it good.
RTF
post #8 of 19
With this thread and your coments in mind,I checked several brands of heavy cream and half and half in the market today. They ranged from "high end" organic products to the more mundane commercial products. Four brands, two types of cream, 8 cartons of the stuff ... none had any additives. Ingredients were either cream or milk and cream.

Shel
post #9 of 19
Luc even told me why basmati rice is aged and other rice isn't.

He sure knows his stuff :D I have to find out what tree stump resins taste best. Going camping in the wilderness.
post #10 of 19
Hi Shel,
can you tell me if these products are homogenized? Pasteurized? (I assume they are all pasteurized), What is the best before date (can you guess the time between best before and manufacturing date?).

This can help me understand these products.

thanks

PS Happy camping Andy G!
Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #11 of 19
Well, I'm here and the cream is at the market ... I'll have to get back to you after the next time I check ... I shop almost every day, so it shouldn't be too long before you get the info.

Shel
post #12 of 19
Looks like there's about a 14 day period for the "use by" date. Just estimating that. All are pateurized. The half-and-half products were, iirc, homogenized.

A fellow I know drinks a lot of heavy cream, and he buys several cartons at a time. That means he's often drinking the cream past it's use-by date. I tasted some that was a few days past date, and it tasted like **** compared to the fresher product.

Shel
post #13 of 19
Hi Shel,

I have retail/supermarket 35% homogenized heavy whipping cream (pasteurized of course) in my fridge right now, I bought a week ago that has a best before date of Oct 26. There lies the main difference (not saying it's better).

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #14 of 19
The stores I visit seem to have a high turnover rate. I don't buy/use cream, and very little milk, except when using it in a specific recipe, so I don't pay a lot of attention to the carton dates. However, since the milk/cream fridge is right next to the vegetable bins in one of the markets I frequent, I'll try to remember to check the cartons a little more regularly and see if I can better nail down the pull dates.

It's hard to believe this fellow I know has about six or so cartons of heavy cream in his fridge that's past the use-by or pull dates. I've never known anyone to drink the stuff like regular milk, either.

Shel
post #15 of 19
Weird eating habit. I wonder what is his reasoning? Is he on an unusual diet?

Luc H
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #16 of 19
I've heard that crack addicts drink a lot of milk and cream... gallons a day. Something in the crack gives them the craving.
post #17 of 19
<LOL> Yes, his eating habits are strange. He only eats fast food and poor quality supermarket deli take out, drinks, literally, gallons of milk per week, lots of heavy cream, and soda. He drinks nothing but milk, cream, and HFCS soda pop. The only vegetables he gets are the lettuce and tomatoes used to garnish the take out food. One day I'll take a pic of his fridge and post it here.

Oh, he eats lots of cereal - Rice Krispies, Shredded Wheat, Corn Chex, Grape Nuts - for breakfast. sometimes during the day, as midnight snacks = with about a tablespoon of sugar added to each bowl, and goes through bags of potato chips and cheesy Fritos things and lots of cupcakes and sugary cakes, also from the deli case or take out places.

I've never seen him eat a salad, fresh veggies, or cook anything other than to heat stuff up in the microwave with the exception of frying bacon on the stove top.

Shel
post #18 of 19

he wouldnt be doing his heart much good

if hes drinking cream like that on a regular basis


over here we have regular cream and light cream. the light cream is not suitable for whipping its good for things like sauces, thin ganaches, pasta, etc, its much lower in fat and therefore wont whip
and our regular cream is perfect for everything sauces, thickened products, whipped,in cheesecakes, desserts, anything that you would like to use cream for.

We are a big dairy nation and produce some of the best cream IMO ;) in the world

just a question for you , what is half and half??
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
post #19 of 19

he wouldnt be doing his heart much good

Well, he is - he probably drinks a pint of cream every few days. He mostly adds it to the milk he puts on his cereal, although sometimes he'll pour some cream into his milk, of which he drinks copious amounts.

I also wonder how healthy it might be to be drinking so much cream (and eating so much sour cream) that's past the pull or use-by date (Luc?)

Half and half is essentially a mixture of milk and heavy (whipping) cream, providing about 12% - 13% butterfat. Many here in the States add it to their coffee.

Shel
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