Dairy transformations: crème fraîche and clotted cream

It’s the gent’s birthday tomorrow, and in his honour, we’re planning a tea party. Among the items requested was clotted cream, which currently goes for $7 for a 200 mL bottle at the local grocery store. That won’t do at all. For starters, an entire litre of whipping cream costs $5, and what’s more, I can never pass up the opportunity to turn milk into something more interesting.

I started with this recipe from Culture Cheese Mag, modified slightly to take advantage of my Instant Pot, which is the model with a yogurt incubation setting:

  • Pour 1 litre whipping cream and 125 mL buttermilk (with bacterial culture) into the stainless steel liner of the Instant Pot
  • Press the Yogurt button and then press Adjust until Low is highlighted, then seal pot
  • Let incubate overnight
  • Put steel liner into a gently water bath and hold at close to 180°F (82°C) for about 90 minutes, until you can see the top layer has thickened and is starting to pull from the edges
    • That happens to be the magic temperature for pasteurization, but I’m not sure whether this recipe had that in mind
  • Let chill, undisturbed, in fridge for a few hours
  • When thoroughly chilled, carefully scoop the thickened layer from on top of the whey-like liquid into a separate container for storage in the fridge

It turned out quite nicely for what it actually is, but the problem is that it ends up tasting and acting like crème fraîche, not clotted cream. Clotted cream doubtlessly traditionally has incidental microorganism-based fermentation going on, but the thing that it’s known for is a rich, thick texture somewhere between stiffly whipped cream and whipped butter (not like the viscous, runny stuff the above recipe makes) and a freshly sweet flavour, again, between whipped cream and unsalted butter.

Some more reading had me realizing that all that is truly needed are cream, warmth, and time. Here’s the method

Clotted cream and residual milk.

I ended up using and preferring:

  • Pour 1 litre whipping cream into stainless steel liner of Instant Pot
  • Press the Keep Warm button (133-165°F/56-74°C temperature range) and set the time you want (about 12 hours, overnight)
  • In the morning, remove the Instant Pot liner, disturbing it as little as possible, and let it chill in the fridge
  • Carefully skim/lift the chilled, thickened cream from the top and put into a jar for storage in fridge
  • Use the remainder in a cake, bread, scones, etc.

 

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