by Cat, January 2008 (photo, right from Wikimedia Commons)
- See also: 1. Milk & Culturing of Milk (About); 2. Crème Fraiche;
- Includes: 1. Separating cream from milk; 2. Whipping the cream; 3. Troubleshooting; 4. Serving suggestions
Whipping cream is a lost art, as most people buy frozen whipped ‘cream’ that is not cream at all. A major problem with frozen product is that it is not made with cream and contains a lot of non-dairy products that may not be very healthful.
Back when dairies started ultra-pasteurizing their milk and cream to extend the shelf-life as dairies consolidated, homemakers discovered that their whipping cream did not whip up well – if at all. This is because the ultra high-heat and pressure required for ultra-pasteurization alters the structure of the cream so that it will not incorporate air.
On the other hand, raw cream (and regular pasteurized cream) whips beautifully, and is sooo much better for you. It is so fluffy and lightly sweet, melts in the mouth, and adds that special something to any dessert.
I also like to culture cream slightly with real buttermilk to make Crème Fraiche, and then whip it. It is wonderfully velvety. It can be sweetened, or used as is.
Separating Cream from Milk
If you start with raw or non-homogenized cows milk, you will need to let it rest until the cream separates. Or you can use a mechanical cream separator, which is especially helpful if you start with raw goats milk.
- Allow your raw milk to sit for a day in the refrigerator, undisturbed. The cream will float to the top. If your cows have been fed a grass rather than grain diet, their cream will be slightly yellow – or cream – colored. Jersey cows produce the yellowest cream.
- Once the cream is at the top, gently dip a ladle to just barely below the surface, and allow it to fill with the cream. Pour this off into a separate container, and repeat until you have as much as you want, or until you notice milk flowing into the ladle.
- Return the cream and the milk to the refrigerator.
Whipping the Cream
This recipe makes 2 cups of whipped cream.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 cup raw cream
- 1/2 – 3 tsp sugar or maple syrup; or pinch of stevia extract powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/4 tsp of other flavor); or 1/2 – 3 tsp brandy, rum, whiskey, or liqueur
- deep, narrow metal bowl, at least 3 cup capacity (glass will do in a pinch, but will not get as cold; never use plastic)
- Wire whisk, hand beater, or hand-held electric mixer
- Chill cream in refrigerator to below 50°F; chill bowl and whip (or beater) in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
- Pour desired amount of cream into the bowl – use half as much cream as the final desired volume: for example, if you want 1 cup of whipped cream, measure 1/2 cup liquid cream. Place some ice cubes and water in the larger bowl, then set the cream bowl in the ice water; this keeps your whipping bowl and the cream chilled.
- Begin whipping, first at a medium-slow speed (or light whisking with a whisk) and slowly increase the speed as the cream thickens. This will keep it from splattering too much.
- When it is lightly whipped (not yet at full volume and thickness), and beaters leave a trail, increase speed to high, moving beaters up, down and around the bowl (or whisk rapidly up, down and around the bowl), until it is soft and billowy, but not so long that it clumps, as that is an indicator that it is turning into butter.
- Slowly add desired amount of sugar while beating at high speed. I like about 1/2 tsp for a 1/2 cup of liquid cream, but you may want it sweeter than that. Powdered or bakers’ sugar works best, but I like to use maple syrup. When it forms peaks, its ready. Don’t over-whip, or you will create butter.
- Stir in brandy, liqueur, or vanilla, and serve.
- Check room temperature. In winter, open a window and whip cream in front of the window. In summer, whip cream in your basement, or cold room.
- Check temperature of cream. If it has warmed above 500 F, chill it again, then resume whipping.
- Bowl and beaters must be very clean and free of any oily film. Wash them well in hot soapy water, and rinse with scalding hot water. Allow to air dry, then chill.
- Instead of flavoring/extract or liquor, try lemon or orange zest, grated fine.
- You can stabilize the cream (make it hold peaks for a longer time without bleeding water) by incorporating gelatin into the whipped cream. See cooks.com (4) for recipe.