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What's in your cream?


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I have always, and probably will always, prefer the flavour and texture of cream that rises fresh to the top of whole milk. For me, carrageenan changes something fundamental about the texture in a way that I don't like even a little bit - it seems almost slimy in my mouth, which is one of the few textures I can't abide. There's also a big, big difference in the flavours of NorAm cream as opposed to what I get here in Ecuador, which has less to do with the cream itself and more to do with the diet of the cows and the breeds used (apart from the various additives, of course). Down here, as I've mentioned in other threads, I barter with a farmer who has Guernsey cattle for my cream, which means it's whole and unpasteurized and a whole lot fattier and fuller of flavour than even comparably-handled cream from Holstein or Jersey cows.

Returning to carrageenan, I'm also a big fan of the way that cream separates into crema and nata - I have specific uses for both parts of cream, and with commercial, stabilized creams I never get the nata. It's really not that much trouble at all to stir the two layers back together if I want whole cream.

If you're not adverse to the texture that carrageenan gives to cream, then by all means don't worry about it. It's there to prevent the separation.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I have always, and probably will always, prefer the flavour and texture of cream that rises fresh to the top of whole milk.

[...]

Returning to carrageenan, I'm also a big fan of the way that cream separates into crema and nata

I'm similar in that I'd prefer my cream with just cream ...

What is nata? I couldn't find much with a Google search.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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In my experience it's only ultra-pasteurized creams that have additives, the reason being that the heat changes the texture of the cream, and its whippability, so the additives are there to approximate the properties of the original. It's gotten nearly impossible to find non-ultra-pasteurized cream in my area.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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In my experience it's only ultra-pasteurized creams that have additives, the reason being that the heat changes the texture of the cream, and its whippability, so the additives are there to approximate the properties of the original. It's gotten nearly impossible to find non-ultra-pasteurized cream in my area.

That's an interesting idea ... I know I've seen carrageenan in ultra pasteurized cream, but I'm not sure about regular pasteurized cream. I'll have to look the next times I'm in a supermarket. Thanks!

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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UHT whipping cream has been around as long as the mid '80's, I know becasue I was using it in Switzerland and Singapore.

Here in Vancouver virtually all the dairys offer whipping cream at 33% MF. That is a pretty low fat content, so my guess is that the carangeen (sp?) is added to stablizlize it.

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Was just at the supermarket tonight, and I had a good long peek in the dairy case.

Two brands of "whipping cream" with carrageenan, both with MF contents of 33%

One brand of whipping cream--organic, at 36% with no other junk added

Now here's something interesting:

"Cream in a can", the stuff with nitrous oxide, a bunch of stuff in there including carrageenan, but with a MF content of 26%

And....

"Light" "Cream in a can", more stuff in there, including buttermilk powder and carrageenan, but with a MF content of 11%

Coffee cream, aka cereal cream, aka half and half, has a fat content of 10% and is impossible to whip.

So my guess is the carrageenan is in there to allow a lower fat content and still stay whipped.

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I have always, and probably will always, prefer the flavour and texture of cream that rises fresh to the top of whole milk.

[...]

Returning to carrageenan, I'm also a big fan of the way that cream separates into crema and nata

I'm similar in that I'd prefer my cream with just cream ...

What is nata? I couldn't find much with a Google search.

Nata is the thickest part of separated whole cream, when your whole cream has a fat content of over 35%. It's roughly equivalent to North American double cream.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I'm not averse to carrageenan (I keep some in the pantry) but I try to buy cream without it since I don't see the point.

At Whole Foods (both in CT where I used to live, and CA where I live now) you can normally find a couple different brands of cream without carrageenan from local dairies.

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In my experience it's only ultra-pasteurized creams that have additives, the reason being that the heat changes the texture of the cream, and its whippability, so the additives are there to approximate the properties of the original. It's gotten nearly impossible to find non-ultra-pasteurized cream in my area.

trader joe's sells pasteurized, not ultrapasteurized heavy cream with carrageenan added. i like the cream (and its dairy taste) but would prefer it without the carrageen. just sayin'.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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trader joe's sells pasteurized, not ultrapasteurized heavy cream with carrageenan added. i like the cream (and its dairy taste) but would prefer it without the carrageen. just sayin'.

Around here, TJ's sells cream without carageenan. That's where I generally buy my cream. I'll have to check to see if it's pasteurized or ultra pasteurized.

 ... Shel


 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Irish villagers of Carragheen discovered a red seaweed and algae extract, carageenan. Also known as Irish Moss, it was initially used to make health syrups and a staple food similar to a saucy blancmange. It's not only a thickener but also a jelling agent, emulsifier, stabilizer, colloid and gum. There are three types: Iota is used most for thickening commercial convenience sauces as it will set them to a soft, silky stage or a light gel, Kappa and Lambda are stronger and used for setting firmer gels. The downside to carageenan is it’s implication as a producer of allergies and abdominal discomfort and degraded carageenan is reported as a known carcinogen causing inflammatory arthritis, bowel disease and tumors. You probably already eat carageenan because it is widely used in thickening flavored milks as well as in soy and almond milk, yoghurt, low fat dairy and meat products, apple cider, ice cream, thickened cream, condensed and evaporated milk, chocolate and thickened convenience sauces. (Many sauces in canned pet food are also thickened with carageenan). The world of Molecular cookery may love its properties but the World Health Organization has recommended it be withdrawn from inclusion in commercial infant foods and formulas.

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Now this is interesting. I typically buy heavy cream from Costco, by the half gallon, as it's fairly inexpensive. It's Horizon Organic. I hadn't noticed, before, that it contained carageenan, but I just checked on a carton I had in the fridge, and it was listed as one of the ingredients. The others were organic grade a cream and sodium citrate. Carageenan is the last ingredient listed.

What's REALLY interesting, though (and the reason I went searching pasteurized cream in the eG forums to begin with) is that the carton of which I speak was sitting in the fridge in my garage, still sealed, for a lengthy period of time, until yesterday. I pulled it out, having run low on cream in the house fridge, with which to make dinner. I knew it had been sitting there for a while, so I opened it carefully, gave it a sniff, then tried to pour some out. It smelled just fine, but did not pour. It spooged, though, when I squeezed it.

Now, I'm used to the Horizon cream having a somewhat thicker layer just at the opening, so this was not unexpected. What was unexpected, especially after seeing the carageenan listed, is that it wasn't a homogeneous mixture. Most of the cream was thick. Very thick. And none of it was sour. The stuff that wasn't thick resembled whey.

The Horizon cream is, according to the package, ultra-pasteurized. It also had a best buy date of 6 April 2011. That is not a typo. Twenty months ago. And it's still not sour, but very thick. That speaks to the pasteurization, of course, not the carageenan.

Now I have to figure out what I want to do with all this super-heavy cream, and if there's a good way to separate the less-heavy stuff from the heavier stuff. I'm almost reluctant to use it for something that isn't special.

Edited to correct arithmetic error. 8 + 12 is 20, not 22, Tracy

Edited by thock (log)

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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just heat the cream till just under a boil add good chocolate chips and stir till smooth. I make big batches and keep in the freezer, just defrost in microwave stirring often,don't overheat.It would be good for the holidays to coat a chocolate fudge cake with a raspberry or pomegranate filling or bite sized cakes.

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I'm slightly embarassed to say it, but I'd just eat that heavy cream by the spoonful. It wouldn't last that long around my house.

Other than that, absolutely, ganache! It freezes very well, and if you make it stiff enough you can scoop it out with a melon baller or tiny ice-cream scoop, roll it in coconut, and call it truffles.....

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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FWIW, another couple of data points. As it happens, I have two half-pints of heavy cream in the fridge. One is Berkeley Farms, ultra-pasteurized and has carrageenan. The other is Clover organic, pasteurized but not ultra (with a significantly shorter expiration date, though purchased a few days more recently) and has none. Bear in mnd there are three kinds of carrageenan - kappa, iota and lambda. The latter is the one being used here and is the softest of the three.

ETA: By the way, I'm in San Francisco. These are both popular brands here.

Edited by pbear (log)
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As an experiment, because it's all about the science, you know ;-), I bought two half-gallon cartons of ultra pasteurized heavy cream at Costco, yesterday. They both carry best-by dates of 19 January 2013. I put them both in the garage fridge, upside-down.

I plan on leaving one there, more or less for a year and a half. The other, I will be using, when I run out of the current house-fridge cream.

I'm going to see how much "light" cream I can pour off the long-term-storage one when I finally open it, and will sacrifice myself to make ganache out of the remaining heavy stuff. Because, you know, it will be SUCH a sacrifice. I think I will write myself a note on the stored one so I don't forget to update this thread. A year and a half is a bit too long to leave to my memory.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 1 year later...

Had a number of occasions when my cream is well within its use by date and still pours like mucous. It is disgusting. Finding cream without additives is a PITA. I can't be alone in this. Would love to foment a consumer revolution to have the additives removed. Would happily pay a premium for cream that doesn't pour like snot.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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A few miles away on the other side of the hill I can buy real cream, minimally pasteurized, without additives.  However without exception it has always spoiled before I could use much of it.  As nice as this cream is I now use ultra pasteurized, additive enriched regular supermarket cream that keeps forever.  I've never noticed that it pours like anything but cream.

 

Maybe some additives work better than other additives?

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Had a number of occasions when my cream is well within its use by date and still pours like mucous. It is disgusting. Finding cream without additives is a PITA. I can't be alone in this. Would love to foment a consumer revolution to have the additives removed. Would happily pay a premium for cream that doesn't pour like snot.

 

It's called "progress!"

Ultra-pasteurization and all those additives are good for you and the whole of mankind whether you know it or like it or not!!!! 

 

:smile:

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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I buy cream from a dairy in New York called Ronnybrook Farm. I think they may be carried at some Whole Foods, but I buy mine at a local farm. It is the best cream I have tasted, and I think I've pretty much tried them all. Nothing added, thick consistency; it is not homogenized, so does clot at the top, but it's fairly easy to reincorporate into the rest of the cream or simply scoop out and eat free of shame. 

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Good deal!

Any cream that would need to be homogenized sure wouldn't be very good cream!!!!!!!!  :blink:

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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