I love to say it. Creme Fraiche (pronounced "crem fresh").
There's something so gourmet and cultured sounding about it (no pun intended!), and yet it is one of the simplest types of cultured dairy that you can make. Basically, creme fraiche is cultured cream. It's that simple.
For some reason I held off trying it out for a long time. I was so happy to discover that creme fraiche is actually ridiculously easy to make. After I tried it for the first time, I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to give it a go.
Why I like to make my own Creme Fraiche:
- It just tastes so good and adds such a wonderful touch to my meals.
- It provides us with extra enzymes to help us digest our meals, especially those with meat or grains in them. Another easy way to get more cultured/fermented foods in our diet!
- Even the organic sour cream I buy at the store contains stabilizers and thickeners (skim milk powder, tapioca starch, guar gum, carageenan), rather than just relying on bacterial cultures to do all the thickening work. Those ingredients just aren't necessary. I'd rather stick to the simplest list of ingredients possible.
- It can be more cost effective than purchasing organic sour cream, even when made with organic or raw, grass-fed dairy (depending on the cost of what's available to you).
- For those who can get an abundance of raw milk, you can make a product infinitely more nutritious than what is sold in any store!
Here's how you do it:
Start with a glass pint jar. Add about 1-2 Tbsp of cultured buttermilk to the bottom of it. I used store-bought, but if you like to make your own, that would work just fine as well.
Fill the rest of the jar up with heavy cream/whipping cream. If you like to skim yours off of your raw milk, more power to you. We don't get enough raw milk that I'm willing to give up all that cream that makes it so lovely. I usually prefer to use organic cream or another local brand that raises their cows better, but this time I was stuck with the regular store stuff. Even with regular store cream, it's still so much better than buying sour cream with all the stuff that they put in it.
I use plastic screw lids that are made to fit canning jars, and let it sit out on my counter for 24-36 hours until thickened and mildly sour-smelling. I like to write on the lids with a wipe-able marker so that it's obvious what's in them. The jar should sit in a somewhat warmer place in your kitchen. For me, that's the corner counter beside my stove. Another good place is the top of the fridge.
Another helpful thing to do is to write the day that it needs to be transferred to the fridge so that you don't lose track of how long it has been sitting out for. Mine says Jan.6 so that my mother-in-law knew when to put it in the fridge while I was away at Blissdom.
Oops, guess we ate most of the jar before I remembered to take a picture! It's hard to tell, but the consistency is somewhere between cream and sour cream. Slightly pourable, but definitely thickened. The taste is deliciously but mildly sour. One thing I have found is that the consistency begins a little bit more liquidy and then thickens up slightly once it's been in the fridge.
We love to add our creme fraiche to soups for extra enzymes, on top of any type of Mexican food, with our scrambled eggs (with fresh salsa it's a knockout breakfast), with potatoes or sweet potatoes, or almost anything else we can come up with. With my kids, it seems that creme fraiche is the new ketchup!