Thursday, November 24, 2011

Creme Fraiche

With all the "little bugs", bacteria, mold, and yeast, I've collected trying different cheeses, making Finnish viili (yogurt), and cultured butter, I thought it time to make some creme fraiche....real creme fraiche.  Since it's Thanksgiving, it should be a great compliment to the pumpkin pie I will be making to share at my sister's house.  The tartness of the creme fraiche will counter the sweetness of the pie.  But not just ordinary creme fraiche.  I had the idea to slightly sweeten it and flavor it with a spice that compliments pumpkin pie.  What I got is a tart, thick, eggnogy flavored creme fraiche.  Tastes great.

According to the recipe, I heated a quart of whipping cream to 70F, added 1/4 teaspoon of the aroma mesophilic culture, and let it rehydrate for 5 minutes.  Then gently stirred it into the cream.  I let it sit out on the counter for 48 hours, chilled in the refrigerator, and then spooned it into a container.  When completely chilled, it is firmer, but soft like prepackaged pudding.  If I wish, I could whip it like whipped cream to make it fluffy, but I think I'll leave it the way it is.  I found a variation online to sweeten the creme fraiche.  It said to use 1-2 Tblsp of sugar for each cup.  I thought that a bit too sweet, so I used about a third of that, and added some nutmeg to taste, realizing that the nutmeg will infuse it's flavor while it sits in the cream.

Speaking of sour cream, I compared the creme fraiche recipe to the one for sour cream.  I never realized they were identical, except that for sour cream, you let the cream and starter set out for 24-36 hours, not 48.  Not sure what the big difference is.  So I took a taste of the creme fraiche after 24 hours, when it was in the sour cream phase.  It was slightly thinner than creme fraiche, and not as tart.  Nothing like the sour cream you buy at the's better.

Our kitchen this week is a veritable "bug" factory.  The creme fraiche was sitting on the counter next to the villi I was making.  The Caciotta and Stilton are ripening in the wine refrigerator, and the cheddars are waxed and ripening too.  I ordered a new strain of b. linens and will be making a new Port Salut on Saturday.  I am determined to not let that cheese defeat me!  But then I think I'll take a break from least until Christmas vacation :-)

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