It wasn’t until recently that I learned I could make my own creme fraiche, and easily. No more hunting for it in the grocery store- all you need is heavy cream and buttermilk, which is much easier to find, especially in the U.S. The prep for homemade creme fraiche takes all of 5 minutes- the rest is waiting. About 12 to 15 hours of waiting. I just start it the evening before I need it and, voila! There it is all ready in the morning.
Creme fraiche, popular in France and northern Europe, is a soured cream with a higher fat content and lower viscosity than U.S. sour cream. It’s made by adding bacterial culture to cream, and allowing it to stand at room temperature until thick. A big advantage to creme fraiche over regular sour cream is its high fat content, which prevents it from curdling in hot soups and sauces. It’s also a popular topping for fruit and desserts.
The ratio I have in the recipe for buttermilk to cream is 2 tablespoons buttermilk to 1 cup of cream. Some people like a ratio of 1 tablespoon buttermilk to 1 cup cream, or even 3 tablespoons buttermilk to 1 cup cream, but I found that 2 is a good middle ground for flavor. The more buttermilk you use, the more tangy it will be, and the more thick it will become. 2 tablespoons to 1 cup yields a thick mixture that has the amount of tang I like without being too strong, but it’s really just personal preference.
There isn’t a big difference in thickness between the 12 hour mark and the 15 hour mark. I would go with 12 unless the creme fraiche is not at the thickness you want, but my 12 hour creme fraiche was thick, like a pudding, and not runny at all.
- 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Mix the heavy cream and buttermilk in a clean glass jar and cover. Let sit out at room temperature for approximately 12 hours. Refrigerate to stop the bacteria growing process.
- Making creme fraiche from scratch, although you are growing bacteria, is completely safe! The bacteria you are multiplying is good bacteria from the live culture in the buttermilk, and of course it's in a sealed glass jar, so you aren't introducing any foreign bacteria.