The New Bakers Dozen
Creme Fraiche

The The Bakers Dozen: Creme Fraiche
By Mike S on Friday, June 02, 2000 - 02:15 pm: Edit

I recently found a recipie for a rasberry tart requiring Creme Fraiche. What is creme fraiche? Where can it be purchased?
It did give instructions on how to make some.heat 1 cup whipping cream to 85 degrees. Remove from heat; mix in 2 tbl. spoons buttermilk. Cover and lst sit in a warm draft free area until thickened, about 24-48 hours, then chill.

Any other suggestions?

Mike S

By Pcsharon (Pcsharon) on Saturday, June 03, 2000 - 12:51 pm: Edit

Creme Fraiche is more tart than whipped heavy cream and a bit richer than sour cream, and is a delicious addition to sauces and is just the right topping for rich chocolate desserts.

1/2 c. heavy or whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 c. sour cream

Whisk the creams together in a small bowl. Pour the mixture into a jar, cover, and let stand in a warm place for 12. Then stir & refrigerate for 24. Makes a cup.

The Food Lover's Companion say this about it: This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor & velvety rich texture. The thickness of it can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where it is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized & therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary for it can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. A very expensive version is sold in gourmet markets which seems frivolour when it's so easy to make an equally delicious version at home.

Good luck!

By PCSharon on Saturday, June 03, 2000 - 12:52 pm: Edit

Creme Fraiche is more tart than whipped heavy cream and a bit richer than sour cream, and is a delicious addition to sauces and is just the right topping for rich chocolate desserts.

1/2 c. heavy or whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 c. sour cream

Whisk the creams together in a small bowl. Pour the mixture into a jar, cover, and let stand in a warm place for 12. Then stir & refrigerate for 24. Makes a cup.

Good luck!

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, June 03, 2000 - 02:38 pm: Edit

I have made creme fraiche at home using the heavy cream and buttermilk method. It works fine, but I would never try this in a commercial environment.

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 07:45 am: Edit

If you want my opinion, I would just use sour cream because it seems to be exactly what I used in my bakery in France as "creme fraiche". Creme fraiche is no fancy mixture of anything, it's just plain sour cream.

By W.DeBord on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 07:48 am: Edit

Why not?
I have always used purchased creme fraiche because it's been used as a condiment not an ingredient. But I have Thurries book on Modern French Cakes (can't remember exact title name)and every recipe seems to have creme fraiche in it. Since we don't have it laying around in the cooler I've stalled on making anything from his cookbook. One day I'd like to get to making my own creme fraiche (which I know is simple) to work his recipes and wonder why you say you wouldn't do it?

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 08:34 am: Edit

Because you are leaving a dairy product at room temperature for more than 4 hours. Personally, I don't mind the risk, just like I don't worry about the 1 in 10,000 chance of getting a contaminated raw egg. From a business standpoint, I'm sure the health department won't allow it.

By Jonnyboy on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 08:42 am: Edit

Sour cream is not really a substitute for creme fraiche, and is very easy to make. 4 parts 35% cream to 1 part buttermilk 2 lemons to every liter and a pinch of salt.Let stand overnight(on top of your fridge compressor works well)and then place it all into a cheese cloth lined china cap over a bucket until all liquids have drained. Creme fraiche should be about 3 times as thick as sour cream and taste much richer.

By Mike S on Tuesday, June 06, 2000 - 07:01 pm: Edit

Wow! I did not expect such a forum on creme fraiche. It gave me alot to try. Thanks for all the input.

Mike S.

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 07:42 am: Edit

I would not eat any dessert made with that weird mixture jonnyboy says. And I still stand on my position and say that creme fraiche IS sour cream. I am French, lived in France, had a French bakery in France and used creme fraiche every day.
And once more, I say creme fraiche is sour cream, not thicker, not richer, just the same product.
Just give it a try anyway, it's easy and won't hurt.

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 08:59 am: Edit

Helene do you make any of your mousse recipes with creme fraiche (sour cream) like Thurries in place of whipped cream? Is that, or was that ever commonly done in France?

By Hans (Hans) on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 02:17 pm: Edit

FDA reg for sour-cream = maximum 18% fat
for creme fraiche = 36% fat
EEG (european common market, incl. France) regulations.
Creme fraiche: minimum. 30% fat
Sour cream = 10% fat.

Streptococcus cremoris, Str. diacetilactis, Str. thermophilus & Leuconostoc cremoris are the bacteria used to inocculate creme fraiche.

Sour-Cream is inocculated wit lactobacillus.

Creme fraiche has only a tinge of acidity, if it is sour, it is too old, spoiled.

Creme fraiche can be whipped fluffy like heavy cream, try that with sour cream!

Sincerely, HWK.
For Chefs Only

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 05:28 pm: Edit

Interesting info. Hans. Do you have a "safe" method of making cream fraiche or do you buy it?
Then, how do the manufactors make it safely?

By Hans (Hans) on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 09:01 pm: Edit

Hi W.

The way inocculated dairy products are made is perfectly safe. The Lactobazillus will not allow other, more dangerous bacs to flourish, they like it less acidic.

The dairies don't do it any different than you would make it in a household, except they have temperature controlled cleanrooms and use proven, commercial bacteria strains.

Mankind has been making Yoghurt, Cheese, Kefir, etc. for Eons.

There is nothing wrong with the method Jonnyboy & PCSharon described, although using that much Sour Cream to inocculate, or the addition of lemon is a matter of personal preference.

My method uses 2 oz. of active Buttermilk per quart of Heavy Cream. Just pour on top, don't dilute, don't stirr. Cream is at 90F (use microwave) cover loosely, Saran or cheese-cloth are fine. Put on top of the fridge compressor or in the oven with just the light or pilot on.

I've done it like that many times, works well and it is safe.

When dairy products go rotten, youll see it and taste it (bitter).
Before ultra pasterization, they would turn sour, but not any more, just putrid bitter.

Think about it W., if it was dangerous, how would we make cheese?

Sincerely, HWK
For Chefs Only

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 07:51 am: Edit

W. I make my mousses with creme fleurette, heavy whipping cream, even though you may say it is different because ours doesn't have carrageenan in it. I remember years ago, in the late sixties, we didn't have heavy whipping cream and used only creme fraiche. Now we use creme fraiche in some specific recipes, but most of the time we use creme fleurette.

By vbean on Saturday, June 10, 2000 - 01:49 am: Edit

I like to use creme fraiche alot; it is a more nutty and subtle taste then sour cream.I just stir it together and let it sit overnight- then refrigerate. I make it with 1T buttermilk per cup of manufacturing cream (36% butterfat) Northern California has some very great dairies. If I am feeling extravagent I purcase some from The Cowgirl Creamery (they also make great artisan cheeses).
It is also true that you can whip creme fraiche; add the sugar at the beginning though and turn immediately to high (I like to add vanilla bean).It can over whip and break so quickly. I
just had some today with some amazing boysenberries.
I make creme fraiche ice cream all the time too (don't cook the creme fraiche, cook the yolks and sugar to a ribbon and fold together).
I like what the ag professorfrom UC Davis said about eggs- you are more likely to get hit on the way to the store to get the eggs then to get sick from them, and well- unpasturized cheese, I love!

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, June 10, 2000 - 10:13 am: Edit

Is there any unpasteurized cheese marketed in the US? The last unpasteurized stuff I had was flown in from France.

I'm in Northern California too and I've heard good things about Cowgirl. I'll definitely have to try them out. Anything in particular that you recommend?

By vbean on Sunday, June 11, 2000 - 01:05 am: Edit

The fromage blanc and the quark are great too.
There are laws saying no unpasturized milk cheeses but fortunately they are not being too enforced in San Francisco. Our restaurant works with purveyors who fly in the cheese. I have taken many classes from US cheese artisans who are are producing amazing cheeses. They certainly ask for our support! The cheese menu is side by side with the dessert menu. It is nice to see that the customers knowledge is growing too.
To me it is like naturally leavened bread, the taste, character and structure are so different because the bread is alive . The cheese is the same (and creme fraiche too).Have you heard of the new shop Artisan Cheese?

By Mike S. on Friday, June 16, 2000 - 02:28 pm: Edit

All these responses have caused me to ask a couple of questions. 1. Wouldn't any harmful bacteria be killed during baking? 2.I got the recipe from the June 2000 Bon Appetit(p.113), can sour cream be a substitute for the creme fraiche.3. if home made, how can you tell if the creme fraiche is bad?

Mike S.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Friday, June 16, 2000 - 06:31 pm: Edit

Mike S.,

Yes, all harmful bacteria are killed during the baking process. However, killing bacteria doesn't necessarily make a product safe. Bacteria go through a lag period during which they adjust to there new surroundings and don't reproduce much. This is the four hour zone during which a product can sit between 40degF and 140degF. There is a safety margin built in there, but sometime after that period they go into log phase where they reproduce exponentially. Toxins are created as byproducts of their activity and many foodborne illnesses are caused by these toxins, which are not destroyed by cooking. This is why it is so important to keep a product out of the danger zone. Creme fraiche may be okay because its lower pH level prevents bacterial growth.

By Hans (Hans) on Saturday, June 17, 2000 - 11:17 am: Edit

When creme fraiche is bad, you'll see it.

It will have gray/green/yellow mold growing on it, like a bleu cheese.

But, in the meantime, before it gets moldy, it might have turned too acidic to be used as creme fraiche.

As long as you have lactobacillus in there, that turn the milksugar into acid, there is nothing to worry about.

The harmful bacteria were neutralized during pasteurization and the spores that survived don't like the acidic environment created by lactobacillus at all.

The problem in dairy products comes from low acidity, high moisture cheese, made from unpasteurized milk, that was contaminated with listerium bacteria.

Especially the Queso Fresco types, popular in Mexico.

C=-) Hartmut W. Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K.
" Die einfachsten Dinge sind sehr kompliziert " Morgenroete
For Chefs Only --

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. A valid username and password combination is required to post messages to this discussion.

See Forum in a Frame