I made my own crème fraiche! And it was pretty easy!
Actually, I tried two methods side by side: (1) Joe Pastry’s recipe, and (2) a method suggested in an article by Harold McGee.
Joe suggests mixing a “splorp” of buttermilk into a combination of 2/3 cream and 1/3 milk and letting it rest “12 hours at room temperature in a relatively warm place.”
In an NYT article, McGee suggests: “the cream will set faster and firmer if you preheat it and keep it warm as you do the milk for yogurt.”
When I e-mailed Joe about the recipe, he explained that “relatively warm” meant 90 degrees, so I warmed the milk and cream to 90 degrees before adding the buttermilk. Then, I put the mixture in a warmed ceramic mug, covered it with plastic, wrapped it towels, and periodically checked on its temperature to see that it was at least 80 degrees.
For the McGee batch, I heated cream to 190 degrees, cooled it to 120 degrees before adding the buttermilk, and then tried to keep it warm, around 110 degrees.
The McGee batch did not set up after 12 hours, but the Joe Pastry batch looked perfect. Did I overheat the mixture? Did I misunderstand what McGee meant when he said to warm the cream and keep it warm like yogurt?
I don’t know, but warming the cream to 90 degrees and then insulating it to keep it at 80 degrees worked like a charm. The crème fraiche made this way set up in 8 hours.
Tags: Crème Fraiche