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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning I stopped at one of the local Peet's for a cuppa joe, and to my chagrin, there was no cream on the counter to add to the coffee. There was soy milk, half-and-half, whole milk, and low-fat milk. I guess that's the typical Berkeley sensibility. But I wanted cream, so I asked the guy behind the counter for some and he pulled out a 1/2 gallon container of manufacturing cream produced by one of the local dairies. OK! It was real cream, but it didn't taste and feel like some cream I had recently. A friend buys Safeway cream, and it has a thicker mouth feel and doesn't taste as vibrant - it tastes sort of "dead" or almost spoiled. I've noticed a marked difference in the taste of milk and cream from the top rated local dairies and the commercial supermarket stuff. Coments?

Anyway, back to the manufacturing cream. Is it any different than regular heavy cream, or whipping cream, and if so, in what ways? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I did a little research and discovered that the Manufacturing Cream that I enjoyed this morning contained only cream, and the ingredient list for the Safeway Lucerne brand shows that it contains cream, polysorbate 80, carrageenan, and diglycerides. Sheesh! It never ceases to amaze me what garbage goes into the typical commercial foods we are sold. I also found out that these ingredients are in other brands of cream.

Why screw around with such a simple, staple item as cream? Based on my own tastings, the extra ingredients just degrade the taste and mess with the natural texture and mouth feel of the product.

JBD - thanks for the explanation of manufacturing cream.
 

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All supermarket cream is homogenized and contain those ingredients and others like xantham gum, locust bean gum, gum arabic and more.

The simple answer is for stability and prevent the product from separating.

40% fat or more cream doesn't separate as much when stored and holds together after homogenizing.

Luc H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll have to look into that. I'm not sure if that's correct, at least here in California with some of our premium brands. Unfortunately, many brands don't list their ingredients on their web sites - a trip to the market is in order, or at least a couple of phone calls or emails. <sigh>

Edit: OK, I found three brands of whipping cream which do not contain the carrageenan, polysorbate 80, various diglycerides, and the gums you mentioned. What is interesting is that one brand makes a pasteurized and an ultrapasteurized whipping cream, and the ultra pasteurized contains carrageenan while the regular pasteurized does not. The ultrapasteurized does not contain any of the other ingredients we are discussing.
 

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Pasteurization and homogenization is not the same thing by the way.

Pasteurization has nothing to do with gum addition but homogenization does.
If a product is not homogenized then adding gums is useless.

Luc H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes Luc, I know the difference. All the cream I mentioned was homogenized. It just seemed odd that the ultrapasteurized had the carrageenan and the regular pasteurized didn't.
 

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the not so simple answer.....
carrageenan and other gums are added from thickness and mouthfeel.
It helps in whipping volume (in the case of heavy cream).
It also helps to hold the milkfat emulsion better under heating conditions like when cooking in sauces.
It makes the cream also more opaque for creaming/whitening coffee and even reduces oil drops from rising on the surface of the coffee.

Essentially manufacturers choose the gums and proportions to suit their clientele which also means to go without for purist like yourself. Whatever sells and niche markets are more profitable.

Luc H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, as long as I can get the good quality cream, organic or otherwise, and not have to get the additives, I'm happy. I've not noticed oil drops rising to the top of my coffee with the "purist" version of the cream - I'll have to pay attention. Thanks!
 

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I have no problem with thickeners such as carageenan, xanthan or other vegetable-derived gums, unless I hear of a reason to be concerned. If taste of a product is affected in a way that I don't like, then of course I care.

I think these stabilizers/emulsifiers serve a good purpose and make some things, such as ice cream, better sometimes.
 

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Well I live over here in France and buying decent cream is impossible! It is impossible to whip and has zero flavour. When I asked local French people about it they tend to buy Chantilly in cans!!!!
My solution was to search on ebay for a cream making attachment for my Kenwood chef. It couldn't be easier. Melt some butter with some milk. Pour into the machine which turns it into cream within a couple of minutes and then just add a little sugar to taste. Whilst not exactly slimming there is no risk of any nasty additives. Highly recommended alternative and the taste difference is huge. I now have all my French mates requesting batches of cream when they come over, that and traditional English trifle which is also a firm favourite!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We'll just have to disagree. I don't care if an additive is good, bad, or neutral - as far as I'm concerned it doesn't belong in a natural product. In most instances it's a cheap fix. For generations ice cream was just fine without gums, stabilizers, and additives. Now these additives make it "better." I don't think so.

What the heck is wrong with eating things in their natural state? Thank goodness there's still a choice, so you can eat your additive laden and overly processed commercially produced ice cream and I can eat a more natural product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One of the concerns I have with additive laden food is that we will forget what real food tastes like. In many instances many people already have. The food they eat is loaded with various chemicals, additives, fillers, and whatnot, that the true taste of the food is compromised or masked.

Since OY brought up ice cream, I keep thinking back to a test that Cook's Illustrated did on vanilla ice creams. The winning ice creams used emulsifiers and stabilizers to get the texture and taste that satisfied the testers. The test was conducted pretty much on supermarket brands, which, IMO, are at best mediocre. It would have been interesting to see how the results would have been had the test been conducted with some of the ice creams made in small shops by people dedicated to making a quality, natural product.

Unfortunately, economics plays a big role in what we eat. It's cheaper and more expeditious to just crank out dreck than it is to spend time making a quality product. However, at least here in the San Francisco Bay Area. and, from what I read, in several other places around the US, there is something of a backlash forming. More and more people are getting out of the supermarket aisles and down to their farmers' markets, and finding butchers and ranchers who are producing the quality food that they crave, and frankly, that our society and environment needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I forgot to ask: What is the good purpose these stabilizers and emulsifiers provide, and in what way do they make some things better, and by better I mean compared to a well made product without the additives?
 

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.... wow.... i'm speechless.... no good cream in France... I thought that's where cream came from...


Shel,
I completely understand and agree with your point - additives are in the majority of the foods we buy. I'm even suspicious of reading labels very often because I'm quite sure the food contains even MORE additives than what they list - only there is no law invented yet to make them do so.

The problem with the additives (and I'm primarily speaking about high fructose corn syrup here) is that since its "invention" in the 1970's it has been used to spike all common foods. Foods you wouldn't imagine needed added sweetness like canned vegetable broth... ?? These additives change the flavor of food while simultaneously causing you to be addicted to them. At this point we have to relearn how to taste food. I've recently switched to organic peanut butter with no additives and I gotta tell ya it's not easy to get used to the flavor. I'm trying to tell myself "this is what it's SUPPOSED to taste like so get used to it" but it's hard when you're used to skippy. And it's not just peanut butter, it's everything!

Now couple that dilemma with the fact that "organic" "whole" and other endearing terminology is officially a fad that is being capitalized on and we all know what happens when we try to capitalize on a good thing - we get carried away with it and ruin it. The law of supply and demand suggests that we'll be paying a lot more money for good food until all of us are on board. I just don't trust it completely. The prices are outrageous when they should be LESS and you have to have some kind of "special person" pass to even enter these granola stores.

Things are so different now. Not long ago you only had to be aware of calories, fat and fiber. Now we have to check if it's organic, if the animals were treated well, what form of shipment was used for our produce, and suddenly we have to know the meanings of all those words on labels that I can't pronounce. Don't get me wrong - this is important for us to do and I'm glad we're finally waking up as a nation. But taking on this sort of thinking does not feel natural at first and it's making me a little paranoid. I just wish there was a simpler way to make the adjustments.
 
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