Today we are going to talk Creme Fraiche.
Crme Fraiche is a fermented dairy product used in both hot and cold French cuisine.
I think it is important to note that French does not always mean snooty and haughty (most times it does though).
As a practical person, I am a big fan of what is called “peasant food” – local, nutritious, inexpensive, and plentiful food that is used by the lower economic class as staples.
I figure if it was used to keep the average peasant alive in the 1600’s it would work to keep me alive if I had to deal with the End of The World As We Know it…
Now back to French cuisine…
Creme fraiche or (Crème fraîche for the haughty) is a think fermented liquid cream, like yogurt. Because it has greater than 30% fat content It can be used to finish hot sauces without curdling.
Making it is pretty simple, all you do is add a starter culture to heavy cream, and allowing it to stand at appropriate temperature until thick.
What starter culture should you use? – Buttermilk comes to mind.
The ratio of cream to buttermilk doesn’t really matter all that much.
Add more buttermilk and you’ll need less time for it to thicken (but it’ll be less creamy). .
Add more, and it takes longer, but tastes better.
One tablespoon per cup (that’s a 1:16 ratio) is the closest to the European product.
With a 1:16 ratio It will be very rich and creamy about 12-hours after mixing.
You can also halt the process early by just refrigerating it to stop the bacterial action.
This is useful if you want a thinner Mexican-style crema agria for drizzling over tacos or nachos.
Yes we are dealing with room temperature milk, but for the safety nellies, the good bacteria from the buttermilk prevents the dangerous bacteria from taking over.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.