diy in the kitchen… i have a diy category because there are so many easy do it yourself recipes that not only save lots of money but are fun to do as well. such as this one. my son loves it when he see a container on the counter with a towel on it. he knows we will have creme fraiche within the next 24 hours. the last time i needed some in a pinch, it cost $6.00 for 8 ounces. hard to fathom why it is so pricey.
creme fraiche is traditionally french. historically, the fresh cow’s milk was left out at room temperature to sour as there are naturally occurring bacteria ‘live’ cultures that are working to sour the cream, resulting in a slightly tangy cream similar to that of ‘sour cream’. in order for this process to work today, we have to add the bacteria cultures with our cream because our dairy is pasturized or ultra-pasturized. the best source is buttermilk. yogurt or sour cream can work but either one must have live cultures. buttermilk is my preference as some yogurt and sour cream containers can leave one confused whether or not there are live cultures in them. buttermilk provides a thicker consistency as well.
to make creme fraiche at home, all you need is a little bit of the culture (buttermilk) to one cup heavy cream.
2 tbs buttermilk (yogurt, sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
bring the ingredients to room temperature before mixing. combine both the buttermilk and heavy cream in a bowl or container, and stir to blend the ingredients. let the mixture sit out in a warm and stable environment, i.e. your counter, for 12 to 24 hours with a dry clean dishtowel over it. i’ve read more times than not to keep the mixture uncovered. there are some conflicting methods out there that say to cover with a tight-fitting lid. each time i’ve put a lid on my creme fraiche, it has not turned out. this is why this recipes suggests leaving it out with a towel over the top. this allows it to breath and the cultures to do their work while, also, keeping dirt or bugs out. check on the cream after 12 hours by stirring it, thus allowing you to see if it is beginning to thicken. it has taken between 24 to 36 hours for me so be patient if it has not set in 24 hours. once you check on it and it is smooth, thickened, and a bit tangy, it is done. stir well and set in the refrigerator with a lid. let it sit for several hours for it to mature and to stop the cultures from continuing to sour the cream. will keep for about 14 days in the refrigerator.
this creamy goodness is ready to use. creme fraiche can be used in place of sour cream or whipped cream. creme fraiche is excellent for cooking with as it can handle heat and will not curdle like sour cream. it can also be seasoned for various uses.
uses and ideas for creme fraiche:
it can be spooned over fresh fruit, on top of pies and cobblers, a dollop on french toast and pancakes, and be used as a garnish for just about any dessert.
savory ways of using this versatile creme can include putting it in soups and sauces, using it in mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, a dollop it over chili, soups, and stews, and rather than sour cream, in tacos, burritos, and in dips. it has become a staple in our fridge and love finding uses for it. you will find it used over and over again in this blog. simply the best!