Crème Fraîche | Mexican Crema

Crème Fraîche | Mexican Crema

Details

Crème fraîche is thickened cream that has a "sour cream-like" texture and taste. It has a slightly tangy almost nutty flavor, that is the perfect complement for both sweet and savory dishes.
  • Serves: 1 cup
  • Active Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 12 hrs - 24 hrs
  • Views: 34,757
  • Success: 100%

Steps

Step 1: Making the Crème Fraîche

• 3/4 cup heavy cream (33% M.F.)
• 1/4 cup buttermilk
• juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon

Method

To make the crème fraîche, pour boiling water into an earthenware crock or a heavy, glass measuring cup.

Allow the container to heat for a minute, then pour out the water. Add the whipping cream, buttermilk and lemon juice. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap.

Store at room temperature for two days or until the mixture reaches the consistency of thick cream. It will thicken even further once refrigerated.

If stored properly, crème fraîche will last up to a week in the refrigerator.

Chef's Notes

Crème fraîche is available in specialty or gourmet markets, but making it is easy and much less expensive. Plus, making it yourself allows you to personalize it. To do this, add a herb or spice, such as lemongrass, tarragon or even cinnamon after you add the lemon juice. Then let it set and enjoy!

Crème fraîche can be added to soups and sauces and it is less likely to curdle or split due to the high fat content in the cream.

41 Comments

  • Mike W
    Mike W
    Video does not provide any proportions. Weak.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Sorry the ingredients were not showing up, it is fixed now. Thanks for pointing this out. Good luck.
  • Coco H
    Coco H
    Dawn, is there any substitute for buttermilk as i couldnt find any in m hometown.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Hi Coco, there are substitutions for buttermilk; however in the case of Creme Fraiche I am not sure that just any substitution will work. I think you may be better off just doing the Creme Fraiche Shortcut - instead of the buttermilk that is called for, just use a bit of milk instead. For future reference here is a link (from another site) to some Substitutions for Buttermilk that you may find helpful. Hope this helps!
  • Andrew D
    Andrew D
    I've made this without the lemon juice before. Is the lemon juice added for safety, flavor or both?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    This is mostly just for flavor. The bacteria in the buttermilk is what makes it safe to eat.
  • Andrew D
    Andrew D
    That's what I thought. I have Made a lot of Crème Fraîche, but next time I'll try the lemon juice never used that before, thanks!
  • Coco H
    Coco H
    Dear Dawn Can u show us how to make shortcut for sour creme?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    There are a few ways to make sour cream. As for a "shortcut for sour cream?" I would say buying it already made is the best shortcut I can recommend. However, if you want to make it yourself there are a few ways to go about it. For example, you can strain yogurt and add lemon juice...you can also make it like much like we made the creme fraiche (cream, buttermilk and lemon juice). For specifics you may want to google "How to Make Sour Cream" as I am not sure which method you would like. Cheers!
  • Caroline D
    Caroline D
    May I use the creme fraiche in the gratin potatoes instead of heavy cream?
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    I am not 100% but I'm 99% sure this won't work very well. It would likely be too think to cook ingredients in (like simmering heavy cream is). Wish I could give you 100% certainty but I can't without trying. Is there a reason you would want to use creme fraiche over the heavy cream in the first place?
  • Caroline D
    Caroline D
    Saw a recipe online that's all thanks
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    ...and let us know... might be great. Experimenting with cooking is where some of the best learning happens.
  • Sophia K
    Sophia K
    I have been making creme fraiche for year in a small canning jar (such as for jams). I pour in the buttermilk and then warm the heavy cream for 30 seconds in the microwave and pour it in the jar, stir, cover lightly and voila-tomorrow it will be creme fraiche and then refrigerate. This is fast and easy, but your way sounds classier.
  • Jerry and tonya S
    Jerry and tonya S
    I followed your directions exactly. At 12 hours the consistency was more like whipped cream. Very thick. Love the taste and texture but way more thicker than the video shows. Room temp was about 85 so this may account for the thicker consistency. You call for 1/4 cup of buttermilk. All the other recipies that I have seen are 1 and maybe 2 tablespoons. Why the difference? Jerry
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    Welcome to the wild world of bacteria and spores...they are very hard to control. They react somewhat differently all the times. That is why the dairy industry prefers to deal with gelatine and sometime pectin to control their sour cream. What you have to do is just adjust. When my creme fraiche is too thin, I ladle it into a paper coffee filter and let it drain. When it is too thick, I fold in some buttermilk. Hope this helps.
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Is it possible to use sour cream as the starter, if buttermilk is not available? How should I do?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yes it is possible to use sour cream instead of buttermilk. Just follow the same method and replace the buttermilk with the same amount of sour cream. Cheers!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Thanks, Dawn, In my country, room temperature now reaches 100ºF. Can I follow the recipe at that temperature?
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Can I freeze a little bit of crème fraîche to use it as the starter for the next batch? For how long will it still be active?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yes you can follow the recipe and leave the crème fraîche at room temperature. In fact, this is 100°F is a good temperature. In regards to freezing crème fraîche, we have never tried this, so you will need to experiment. And as for adding leftover to start a new batch, you can try keeping some and adding it to a new batch, however it does get weaker, so again, you may want to experiment. Cheers!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Does a culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5, Bifidobacterium BB-12 and Streptococcus thermophilus (from a specific brand in my country sold for yogurt) lead to creme fraiche? If so, does it work if I use the strained whey from yogurt I made from that culture?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi- Crème fraiche can be made with a wide variety of cultures, including the ones you listed which are common in yogurt. To make crème fraiche, you can simply add a small amount of the yogurt to the cream and let it sit overnight at 85-100°F or so. You may still want to a add a touch of acid though. Two teaspoons of lemon juice will do the trick and add a bit of that ubiquitous "tangy" flavor. The whey will likely work just as well, as it too contains the requisite cultures. I have seen people make this a number of ways, with the resulting product being quit thin (pourable) to very, very thick. I hope this helps. Enjoy!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Hi Ken. The cream fermented overnight using the whey. It´s smelling and tasting wonderfully. But I don't know if that's creme fraiche taste, because I never tasted it. But there's a problem: it split. I have an almost butter at the top and buttermilk at the bottom. Do you know why? Should I still leave it at room temperture or the process is over? Thank you!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alexandre- Your description makes it seem that it had a bit too much culture and essentially you started to separate the curds from the whey. Did you add any acid as well? How does it compare to yogurt? It's hard to gauge what you have exactly, especially since you have never tasted crème fraiche. Let me know more about your process and perhaps you try the process again and use some of your own starter culture. Enjoy!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Ken, I didn't use any acid, because I would make butter from the creme. I used a 38-44% fat cream (this range is written in the label). It had a spoonable consistency. I removed the cream and the whey from the fridge 2 hours before, and then "folded" the whey into the cream until it had a heavy cream consistency. I didn't measure the whey, but probably added at a ratio of 1:5. Some lumps remained after folding. Then I poured it into the warmed container and put it into a pre-heated oven to 40 degrees Celsius. It stayed there overnight. I don't know If understood your question, but it doesn't taste as yogurt. At the top I have butter (yellow, tastes as butter and is a little bit sour) and in the bottom I might have buttermilk (I never tasted it; it's a little bit sour, maybe I can notice some yogurt). Both are wonderful.
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    I'd also like to know: should I whip all the content or only the upper fatty part to make butter? And, is it possible to culture cream using mozzarella whey?
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    ...(by "sour" I mean "tangy")
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Well, after staying for some hours in the fridge, the consistency of lower part became like runny yogurt; is that buttermillk? I saw some videos of cultured cream and discovered that the upper fatty part is still cream, not butter and must be churned to provide butter...
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alexandre- It seems that you are experimenting a bit, so it's hard to know exactly what is going on with your mixture. There are many forces at play, and they are somewhat fluid in terms of how thy impact the final product. You have a cultured product now, so whether you stir them together or not is up to you. It's a matter of flavor and texture/consistency. Traditional buttermilk (thinner) is a byproduct of butter-making after churning, but you probably have cultured buttermilk (a bit thicker). Cultured buttermilk is slightly fermented milk that has active cultures added. If you want to make butter, I'd start by making sweet butter first (not cultured butter) so you can familiarize yourself with the process. Culturing adds a lot of variables, some are controllable and others not as much. What did you want to use the crème fraiche for? I've enjoyed reading about your process. Enjoy!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Hi Ken. I would use the creme fraiche to make butter. I have already done sweet butter a few times from heavy cream. As I love fermented products, I decided to make cultured butter (which I can’t find where I live and never tried). Well, I spooned the top yellow cream from the jar but some of the bottom fluid liquid went together. I whipped it for several minutes but I couldn't get soft peaks and nor butter. I had to stop the process due to an appointment. I’ll continue latter. Is it more difficult to whip crème fraiche than heavy cream? Should I wait until it settles again and then spoon the cream more carefully and then whip again? And, do you know if it is possible to culture cream using mozzarella whey as the starter? I usually buy mozzarella and I’ve been thinking if I couldn’t use the whey in which it comes to culture cream or milk. Thank you!
  • Saeho C
    Saeho C
    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone had particular suggestions with what food goes well with Creme Fraiche? Thanks.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alexandre- Thanks for your post on crème fraiche. It sounds like you are having quite the cultured experiment. Crème fraiche essentially cultures and thickens, so it does not need to be whipped or anything like that. It's like yogurt- getting it's tangy flavor and texture from the culturing process as opposed to whipping air in to the mixture. You might also want to get straight starter culture, as there are lots of things that may work but it's good to have a baseline experience to get the technique and process right and then you can experiment a bit. I hope this helps!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Saeho- That is really a matter of preference. Anything you might use sour cream for is a good starting point though...and it's also good for finishing pureed vegetable soups or as a way to add richness and creaminess to polenta or mashed potatoes. It's really up to you, so have fun!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Ken, should I begin with a chilled or room temperature cream before pouring it into the warm jar?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alexandre- Room temperature makes it go faster...it just needs to be at the right temperature to get started. If it goes in cold, it takes longer to warm up. Make sense?
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Hi, Ken. By my experimentation I learnt that - I can culture cream or milk using the mozzarella whey - By using yogurt whey as stater I have a very different cultured if the fermentation occurs at 40 degrees Celsius. It’s much more acid and less buttery, tasting much like yogurt (Do you know why?). But the resulting butter, after churning, is wonderful. - By using 40+% fat cream I could not get soft peaks before the butter separation during whipping. - It’s faster to get butter from a 40+% fat cream then from a 35% fat cream - It seems it’s not necessary to add lemon to the recipe, because the fermentation acids are already very tasteful and sufficient. Thank you
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Alexandre- I truly applaud your latest post. It shows that you not only learned a lot about the process of culturing dairy, but that you know enough to describe the details and teach someone else what you experienced. Bravo! That is the whole purpose: to make you confident, self-aware, and empowered to cook anything with inquisitive wonder. As for the specific question...I am not 100% sure why it was so acidic as there are many variables to consider. I do know that, in basic terms, it has to do with the bacterial metabolism and the conversion of milk sugars (lactose) into lactic acid. More conversion potential (present sugar) equates to more acidity. Thank you for your level of detail and enthusiasm!
  • Myles S
    Myles S
    Alexandre: 25 years ago I experimented with everything; I probably wasted more food in 5 years then most had eaten in a lifetime; It's how I learned as you are now. I'll keep this simple and as straight forward as I can. Bacteria strains have different/certain properties. Some cause the milk proteins to coagulate in different configurations, making the finished yogurt ropy, gluey or more solid and/or all variations in between. Some strains produce more lactic acid, making a more tart yogurt, sour, bitter etc... Some cause the milk proteins to coagulate in different ways/forms and means producing astringent and/or cheesy yogurt. To answer your question you must know what yogurt whey strain you started with. Hope this helps.
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Ken Thank you for your encouragement. I really enjoy doing that. About my question, I searched the answer at Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" and found that: So, it's answered why Rouxbe's recipe ask for lemon juice and lower temperature than that required for yogurt making and why my cream fermented at 40 decress celsius was more sour and less buttery! I just ran and added lemon juice to my just prepared jar of to-be-fermented cream!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    I tried to embed a link in my answer after "and found that" but it didn't work. Here it is: http://books.google.com.br/books?id=bKVCtH4AjwgC&lpg=PA49&ots=qWMCceL6nf&dq=citrate%20creme%20fraiche&hl=pt-BR&pg=PA49#v=onepage&q=citrate%20creme%20fraiche&f=false

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