Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

What's in your cream?


  • Please log in to reply
94 replies to this topic

#1 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,243 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:23 PM

I've always thought of heavy cream as one of those single-ingredient things (unlike 'convenience' creams that are pre-sweetened, or intended for coffee). The Homemade butter topic opened my eyes to the fact that, in many places, heavy cream containing various additives is the norm, to the point that finding unadulterated versions is almost impossible.

In Denmark, there doesn't seem to be any difficulty in finding plain heavy cream: The stuff I have in the refrigerator, purchased at the local Fakta chain, lists cream as its only ingredient, and indicates a fat content of 38% (it is 'økologisk', which is roughly equivalent to 'organic').

Does the heavy cream you find in your area tend to be unadulterated, or does it contain extras? And, if it does contain extras, what are they, and what's the fat content of the cream?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#2 SylviaLovegren

SylviaLovegren
  • participating member
  • 1,056 posts
  • Location:Toronto, ON

Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:29 PM

We used to be able to get unadulterated pasteurized heavy cream at the Whole Foods (it was about 40% as I recall), but now the ones near me only carry ultrapasteurized (hate the off taste that has) with stabilizer gums.

#3 emsny

emsny
  • participating member
  • 526 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:10 PM

In Manhattan, Whole Foodses typically have plain pasteurized cream - house brand as well as Ronnybrook, one of our New York State producers that is sold fairly widely, including at farmers' markets. But occasionally - sometimes at the Bowery store, sometimes at Columbus Circle - they also sell a wonderful Vermont cream from Jersey cows: Butterworks Farm. I seem to remember seeing Milk Thistle dairy products at some Whole Foodses too, but I don't recall seeing their heavy cream.

#4 Moopheus

Moopheus
  • participating member
  • 1,308 posts
  • Location:Cambridge, MA

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:17 PM

It's pretty normal here now for cream to be ultrapasteurized, with stabilizers. Whole Foods house brand was unadulturated the last time I bought some, but maybe that's changed. It's possible to get regular pasteurized gunk-free cream, but these days it may mean a special trip to one of few places that carry it. As to fat content, it can vary a bit from dairy to dairy. I think cream marked "heavy" cream has to be at least 36%.
"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

#5 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 835 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:20 PM

Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 80, and Carageenen in my GFS ultrapasturized cream. It still can make a good cultured butter though (culture obtained separately).

#6 lancastermike

lancastermike
  • legacy participant
  • 1,354 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:41 PM

It makes me wonder when I see folks here complain, or at least comment on, the use of these stabilizers in their cream while on the multitude of "Modernist" topics EG is lousy with everyone is just giddy about using them.

#7 jsmeeker

jsmeeker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,505 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:52 PM

I don't think i've ever been able to find cream that was just cream. Not even whole foods. And i've checked many many times.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org


#8 BadRabbit

BadRabbit
  • participating member
  • 690 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, AL

Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:57 PM

It makes me wonder when I see folks here complain, or at least comment on, the use of these stabilizers in their cream while on the multitude of "Modernist" topics EG is lousy with everyone is just giddy about using them.



I really don't have any problem with modern gums etc... except when I'm trying to do something with a product that's a little unusual and the gums get in the way. It has never bothered me about cream until I was trying to make butter.

I'm not one that is scared of modern ingredients. I think the health risks to most of them are greatly exaggerated if not completely false.


ETA: It also ticks me off I can't buy unpasteurized milk with which to make cheese but that's another discussion.

Edited by BadRabbit, 20 April 2011 - 01:58 PM.


#9 tim

tim
  • participating member
  • 828 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:06 PM

Hi,

The easiest way to find "manufacturer's cream" (no additives) is to phone local dairies and ask if they make the product and what retailers stock that product. Your State's Department of Agriculture can supply the names and numbers of dairies.

Meijer food stores in MI, IL, IN, OH an KY carry fresh heavy "pasteurized" cream from Michigan with two ingredients, cream and milk. It is excellent. We hold unopened containers until they are a few weeks beyond the expiration date and scooping out wonderful double cream.

Tim

#10 Jenni

Jenni
  • participating member
  • 1,040 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:09 PM

I can easily get cream with no additives. All different kinds too: single, double, extra thick double, clotted, sour...

#11 cbread

cbread
  • participating member
  • 275 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:26 PM

My not so local, local market's house brand half and half is milk, cream and disodium phosphate. I'm going to have to go check out what the heavy cream is made of.

#12 Jenni

Jenni
  • participating member
  • 1,040 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:30 PM

Just out of interest, what country is everyone who is saying their cream is adulterated from?

For reference, I am in the UK.

#13 Anna N

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,180 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:31 PM

100% cream is now only available at specialty stores here and then it is extremely expensive. The stuff with additives will clump and come out of the carton looking quite disgusting. Like an earlier poster, I am not against additives per se but on my terms. They should not be in my cream!
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#14 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 835 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:36 PM

The stuff with additives will clump and come out of the carton looking quite disgusting.


I don't find that to be the case. At least not for a month or two.

#15 paulraphael

paulraphael
  • participating member
  • 3,008 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:26 PM

Do we really have reason to believe that added gums cause the cream to clump together? I've had cream clump, but the most clumping I've gotten has been from unhomogenized cream that didn't have additives.

I assume gums are added to make whipping easier. Do they serve any other purpose?

#16 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 835 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:36 PM

I assume gums are added to make whipping easier. Do they serve any other purpose?


This page seems to support your assumption.

#17 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,314 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:05 PM

Hi,

The easiest way to find "manufacturer's cream" (no additives) is to phone local dairies and ask if they make the product and what retailers stock that product. Your State's Department of Agriculture can supply the names and numbers of dairies.

Meijer food stores in MI, IL, IN, OH an KY carry fresh heavy "pasteurized" cream from Michigan with two ingredients, cream and milk. It is excellent. We hold unopened containers until they are a few weeks beyond the expiration date and scooping out wonderful double cream.

Tim



I buy manufacturing cream, an Alta Dena product, at Smart & Final. It comes in half gallon cartons and is much cheaper than buying heavy cream in the smaller containers.
I use it to make butter, clotted cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese &etc. Works like a dream and has no additives.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#18 Moopheus

Moopheus
  • participating member
  • 1,308 posts
  • Location:Cambridge, MA

Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:26 PM

It makes me wonder when I see folks here complain, or at least comment on, the use of these stabilizers in their cream while on the multitude of "Modernist" topics EG is lousy with everyone is just giddy about using them.


At least some of use are not giddy about them. For some applications it makes not much difference, but I don't like gunk in my ice cream. Also, ultrapasteurization is less desirable for ice cream too. I'm not real big on gelatin, either.
"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

#19 Jenni

Jenni
  • participating member
  • 1,040 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:41 PM

Seriously, I am interested in where all this cream with weird stuff in it is from. Are we talking America? Canada? Australia? Here in the UK pure cream can be easily got from Tescos without a high price tag. So I am curious as to why it is not similar elsewhere.

#20 BadRabbit

BadRabbit
  • participating member
  • 690 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, AL

Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:14 PM

In the US is where it's very difficult to find pure cream.

#21 jsmeeker

jsmeeker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,505 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:48 PM

Seriously, I am interested in where all this cream with weird stuff in it is from. Are we talking America? Canada? Australia? Here in the UK pure cream can be easily got from Tescos without a high price tag. So I am curious as to why it is not similar elsewhere.



I live in Dallas, Texas, USA. I can't seem to find it in grocery stores here. As has been mentioned, this is pretty common throughout the country.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org


#22 janeer

janeer
  • participating member
  • 1,225 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:57 PM

Seriously, I am interested in where all this cream with weird stuff in it is from. Are we talking America? Canada? Australia? Here in the UK pure cream can be easily got from Tescos without a high price tag. So I am curious as to why it is not similar elsewhere.

It is a function of our large commercial agriculture and supermarket distribution system in the U.S.

I am able to buy "real" cream from spring to fall at farmers markets.

#23 lesliec

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,080 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

Posted 20 April 2011 - 07:26 PM

We had some thickened cream this morning with a nice apple cake one of my workmates had baked. I was amused to note that it 'may contain milk'.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#24 SusieQ

SusieQ
  • participating member
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 20 April 2011 - 07:41 PM

It makes me wonder when I see folks here complain, or at least comment on, the use of these stabilizers in their cream while on the multitude of "Modernist" topics EG is lousy with everyone is just giddy about using them.


Not to mention all those justifying the use of "meat glue" in another forum! :huh:

#25 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,314 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:00 PM

I have a quart of regular store bought heavy cream in my fridge (Alta Dena) and with the "extra" ingredients.

I need to make some butter and really don't feel like trekking down to Palmdale to the nearest Smart & Final so will make a half-size batch tomorrow with this 'ultrapasteurized" stuff to see how different it is to the manufacturing cream.

First thing in the morning I will do the routine, taking photos as I go.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#26 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 2,877 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:22 PM

I never paid attention to this until this thread. My heavy cream from Trader Joe's is 40% butterfat and contains carrageenan (percentage unspecified). I am located in California.

It also has a disclaimer that it "contains MILK"!!

#27 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,243 posts

Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:16 AM

. . . . Like an earlier poster, I am not against additives per se but on my terms. They should not be in my cream!


Exactly! I like to be able to retain some control over what is in the ingredients I buy.


It is a function of our large commercial agriculture and supermarket distribution system in the U.S.
. . . .


This can't be the whole story though, because I doubt there's a country left whose dairy industry isn't primarily industrialized. In Denmark, for example, there are just two or three huge, ultramodern dairies, and I don't even know whether there are any small independent ones left, but finding plain heavy cream isn't a problem.

Many electric mixers turn unadulterated cream into butter if you over-whip it by even a few seconds, so perhaps in places where additives are the norm, this arose because of consumer complaints about that.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#28 Jenni

Jenni
  • participating member
  • 1,040 posts

Posted 21 April 2011 - 02:44 AM

Ok, thanks for letting me know. I guess I find it weird because UK has commercialised agriculture and supermarket distribution centre but pure cream can easily be found. So as Mjx said, that can't be the whole story.

#29 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,243 posts

Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:15 AM

The probability that the the presence or absence of additives is most likely a national, rather then industry-related issue gets some support from the fact that a brief online search indicates that, actually in Denmark there is one massive dairy (Arla), and a number of smaller producers; the unadulterated stuff sitting in our refrigerator comes from Karolines Køkken, part of the Arla group.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#30 natasha1270

natasha1270
  • participating member
  • 391 posts
  • Location:Falls Church, VA

Posted 21 April 2011 - 04:25 AM

Perhaps you are overlooking the physical size disparity of the US vs UK or Denmark in regards to time to market? The ultra-pasteurization that is so common here triples shelf-life. It is always worth it here if you can to pay the premium and support the smaller regional dairies. I'm jealous of all the wonderful dairy products the UK has on offer - double cream, single cream, clotted, etc. There is a huge tradition of these in the UK, I'm not surprised that you would be surprised at our relative lack of the same.

eta. because u-p process 'cooks' the milk, I assume many of the additives are there to compensate for any lost properties (ie reduced whippability, etc)

Edited by natasha1270, 21 April 2011 - 04:28 AM.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali