What Is Crème Fraîche—and How Do You Make It At Home?

Crème fraîche is a cultured dairy product that came from in France, however is commonly utilized across Europe. With a slightly sour taste, crème fraîche is frequently referred to as a cousin of sour cream, though it’s richer and has a higher fat material.

Crème fraîche isn’t as common in the United States, many people are not sure what it is, what it’s utilized for, and how to make it at home. You can discover crème fraîche in some grocery or specialty shops, but if you have problem finding it, it’s easy enough to make in your home– you’ll just require a little perseverance. Here’s everything you require to know about crème fraîche so you can use it in your own cooking.
What Is Crème Fraîche?
Crème fraîche is a European-style dairy product made from two basic components: whipping cream and buttermilk. It’s a kind of fermented or cultured cream given that it includes naturally taking place ferments or cultures from the buttermilk. These cultures offer the cream a slight tang, and likewise contribute to its thick texture.

Crème fraîche is made by combining mainly heavy cream with a splash of buttermilk, gently heating the mixture, and letting it stand at room temperature for numerous hours. Crème fraîche typically contains at least 30 percent fat.
Crème fraîche can be used in many ways, and it’s versatile enough for both mouthwatering and sweet applications. Its buttery consistency makes it the ideal dressing to dollop onto potatoes or eggs, and it’s also a practical method to thicken sauces and soups. On the sweet side, it can be baked into desserts and baked goods, or whipped into a sweet topping for fruit.

What’s the Difference Between Crème Fraîche and Sour Cream?
Crème fraîche and sour cream have a lot in common. They’re both fermented, used as a dressing, creamy in consistency, and made from a base of heavy cream. They’re so similar that you can switch them at a 1:1 ratio in certain recipes, and since sour cream is much easier to discover, it’s generally the best substitute for crème fraîche.

Crème fraîche is made from heavy cream with a splash of buttermilk, while sour cream is typically made from a mixture of heavy cream, vinegar, and milk. Crème fraîche is much thicker and richer, thanks to the greater fat material. With its lower protein content, crème fraîche can be used at higher temperatures where it’s less most likely to curdle compared to sour cream, which is sure to curdle when heated.

When selecting in between sour cream and crème fraîche, the former is finest for savory uses. It’s also best utilized as a condiment and not as a thickening agent, like crème fraîche, making the latter a little more flexible.
Crème Fraîche Substitutes
Crème fraîche isn’t exactly a staple in American supermarkets, so if you can’t find it on grocery store shelves and don’t have time to DIY, here are numerous crème fraîche substitutes you can use in a pinch.

Sour cream
Sour cream is the best alternative for crème fraîche. In tasty dishes that require a dollop of crème fraîche, you can sub sour cream at a 1:1 ratio. Since sour cream is susceptible to coagulation, it’s not perfect for still-cooking recipes, like soup or a sauce.

Mexican crema
Mexican crema can be used like sour cream, so the opportunities to switch out crème fraîche for this dressing will be comparable. It does not curdle as easily as sour cream, so choose for Mexican crema in crème fraîche recipes that are still-cooking.

Full-fat Greek yogurt
With its appetizing taste, it makes sense that Greek yogurt might be used in lieu of crème fraîche, especially in sweet dishes. Even full-fat Greek yogurts are lower in fat than crème fraîche, so the alternative dairy item won’t yield the very same level of creaminess, but it’s a good option if you’re aiming to simulate the sour, appetizing taste.

How to Cook With Crème Fraîche
Crème fraîche is an extremely flexible component. You’ll discover it in both sweet and savory dishes, and the uses for it span every meal– from breakfast to dessert. Because it doesn’t curdle easily, crème fraîche can be cooked over high heat or chilled, so there are so many methods to cook with it.

Its high fat content makes crème fraîche an essential active ingredient to thicken creamy soups, sauces, and pastas. It can also be baked into casseroles, stirred into dips, and dolloped onto savory meals. Crème fraîche is typically paired with proteins, like salmon and chicken, or as a topping on eggs, stews, and baked potatoes. And if it’s up your alley, it’s also a timeless garnish for caviar.

The richness of crème fraîche makes it a popular component in baked goods and chocolate desserts. You can even use it in cheesecake and homemade ice cream.

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