Cream is probably one of nature’s most delicious treats in life. You can pour it over a bowl of fresh fruits, add it to a sauce, or use it as a dip. It is a yellowish fatty component of un-homogenized milk that tends to form at the surface. When creams contain higher fat content, they usually taste better, have a richer texture, and don’t curdle easily, especially when used in cooking.
When you visit the supermarket or search online, you will find many different kinds of creams. It is important to understand their differences to be able to select the right cream for your needs. When it comes to manufacturing creams, each country has its own standards. With this, the term “cream” may mean different products. The name of a product differs depending on the milk fat content. For example, in the United States, for a dairy product to be called cream, it should contain at least 18% milkfat. On the other hand, cream in Europe only refers to products that have a minimum milk fat content of 30%.
If you are curious about the different kinds of creams and what they are used for in cooking, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to give you a list of the different types of creams.
Main Types of Cream
Creams can be categorized generally in two types, which are pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized.
- Pasteurized Cream: Pasteurized creams are those that can provide a better flavor. They also whip up fluffier and can hold up longer.
- Ultra-Pasteurized Cream: Ultra-pasteurized creams are those that have been heated to more than 280 degrees F. to extend its shelf life. This type of cream is more unreliable when it comes to whipping. It will not work if frothing is required in the recipe that you are following.
Varieties of Cream
Here are the varieties of cream that you might encounter in stores and how they are used.
- Whipping Cream
This type of cream will whip to double its original volume. It is perfect for adding to dishes or recipes where a light result is needed. It contains 30% to 38% fat. You can use whipping cream for mousses, souffles, filling cakes, decorating trifles, and as a topping for fruits and ice cream. Aside from that, it is also used to float on coffee and hot chocolate.Remember that once the cream is whipped, it cannot holt its volume for long. Therefore, it should be used immediately. If you wish to store it, you can keep it in the fridge for up to five days. Once it is opened, make sure to use it within 3 days. When lightly whipped, whipping creams can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream
This type of cream has the highest amount of milk, which is usually between 36 and 40 percent in the United States. In other countries, the fat content of heavy cream can be as high as 48%. It is mostly bought in gourmet food stores. It whips denser compared to whipping cream, and it can whip up well and hold its shape. When whipped, it doubles in volume.
- Chantilly Cream
Chantilly cream is a vanilla-flavored whipped cream. In Italy, it is made by folding whipped cream into a pastry cream. It is used in making a perfectly decadent mixture.
- Double Cream
Double cream is also called country-style cream. It is probably the most versatile type of fresh cream because it can be used as it is or whipped. This type of cream contains 48% fat. You can use it to pour over fruits and puddings, in cooking, or incorporating into dishes. If you whip a double cream, you can spoon it or pipe it onto cakes and other desserts.You can keep double cream in the fridge for up to 5 days. Once you open it, you can use it within 3 days. If it is lightly whipped, you can keep it frozen for up to two months.
- Single Cream
This type of cream is thin, and it is usually used for pouring and enriching cooked dishes. Single creams contain 18% to 20% fat, and it is also called light cream. You can use it for pouring over fruits and cooking soups and sauces. This type of cream is not suitable for whipping. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days and 3 days when opened. It is also not possible to freeze a single cream.
- Half and Half Cream
In the United States, when you say half and half cream, it is a mixture of half whole milk and half cream. It is usually used as a creamer for coffee. It also does not whip, but you can use it in place of whipping or heavy cream in a lot of recipes, especially if you are looking for less fat content to incorporate in your dishes. You can also use it to replace whole homogenized milk in some recipes to achieve a fuller and richer flavor.
- Clotted Cream
Clotted cream is also called Devon or Devonshire Cream. It is a thick cream that is yellowish in color. It has a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream is formed on top. After that, the milk is cooled, and the layer of cream is skimmed off. In Scotland, clotted cream is traditionally served with tea and scones.
- Crème Fraiche
Crème Fraiche is a matured and thickened type of cream that has a slightly tangy taste, nutty flavor, and velvety rich texture. Its thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as margarine at room temperature. This cream is left unpasteurized in France. It contains the bacteria needed for it to thicken naturally. In the United States, all commercial cream is pasteurized. The fermenting agents needed can be obtained by adding sour cream or buttermilk.You can use crème Fraiche as a dessert topping or add it to cooked sauces and soups. It does not clot when boiled, making it great for cooking.
- Channel Island Extra Thick Double Cream
This type of cream is thick, and it is made using milk from Guernsey and Jersey cows. This cream can be used straight from the tub. It contains 48% of fat. You can spoon it over puddings and fruits, or add it to sauces to give them a rich and creamy taste. It is also used in filling sponge cakes.
- Sour Cream
Sour cream is a tangy type of cream that is made from fresh single cream. To make it taste sour, it is added with culture and heated to about 20 degrees Celsius for 12 to 14 hours. This process produces lactic acid, which gives the cream a slightly sour taste and a thicker consistency. Sour cream has a fat content of 18%, and it cannot be whipped. You can use it to add flavor to soups, dressing, cakes, and casseroles. It is perfect for savory dishes and as a base for savory dips.
- Flavored Creams
There are also different flavored creams that you can find in stores. They come in Brandy, Calvados, and cinnamon flavors, to name a few. They are usually made from a combination of sugar, double cream, and alcohol. Flavored creams are served with Christmas pudding, nut puddings, and apple tarts. You can spoon it over warm mince pies or fill brandy snaps.
- Long Life Cream
Long-life cream is a type of cream that has undergone ultra-heat treatment or UHT to extend its shelf life. To stabilize it, it is heated at high temperatures for a short period. You can buy this cream in cartons, and it usually contains 35% milk fat. You can whip it well if it is chilled and spoon it over desserts.
These are some of the different types of cream and how they are used. The next time you go to the grocery store and see varieties of cream, you will know how they are used and where you can add them to. We hope this helped you in understanding the various types of creams out there.