Dairy Creams 101

January 09, 2012

Confused when it comes to creamers and whipping cream? Here is your quick reference 101 to get you started when shopping for dairy creams in the market

What’s the difference between half-and-half, cream, and whipping cream? All are made from cow’s milk, with varying percentages of butterfat. Higher percentages can be whipped; low fat varieties cannot be whipped or used in cooking.

How to Buy: Check expiration date on the carton or bottle in the refrigerated milk section. Half and half is a light cream (10-18 percent butterfat) made by separately pasteurizing milk and cream, then homogenizing equal parts together so it does not separate.

Half and half is best used in beverages like coffee, not alone and it is not advised to substitute for cream in recipes.

Cream is the fat that rises to the top naturally in whole milk.

Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (36-40 percent butterfat) holds its peaks when whipped. It also doubles in volume and is used for either filling or decorating pies, pastries or other desserts.

Whipping cream (32 percent fat), heavy cream (40 percent fat) are good for toppings.

How to Use Other Choices: 
Light or coffee cream (18-30 percent fat); half and half cream (10-12 percent butterfat; does not whip); 
Single cream (20 percent fat; can be used in cooking); 
Double rich cream (48 percent fat; can be whipped; use in pies or sauces). 
Clotted or Devonshire cream (55-60 percent fat) needs no whipping. It is a thick, yellowish cream scalded by heating unpasteurized milk until the cream sits on top, the milk is cooled and the cream skimmed off. Used to top scones and is imported. 
Crème Fraiche (30 percent fat) is thick and smooth; a heavy cream with a nutty, slightly sour taste made by culturing pasteurized cream with special bacteria. Use as topping for fruit or pies.

How to Store: Follow expiration date and store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Health Benefits: All the benefits of dairy (calcium, protein, vitamin D); use sparingly because of high fat content. 

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