CHAPTER 21: CREAM
Cream is the lighter portion of milk containing all the main constituents of milk, but in which the fat content is high and the solid (non-fat) content is lower.
Cream is commercially separated from milk in a creamery, by means of a mechanical separator. The milk is first heated to between 32-49C ( 90-120F) before being run into the separator which operates on centrifugal force, rotating at very high speeds. This forces the milk which is heavier to the outside while the cream, which is lighter remains at the center. The cream and the skimmed milk are drained out through separate outlets. The skimmed milk is then heated to 79.5C (175F) to kill off any harmful bacteria before being further processed into dried milk etc. Cream can also undergo other processes such as homogenization to thicken the cream.
TYPES OF CREAM
There are a variety of creams available in the market each having a different fat content:
TYPE OF CREAM FAT CONTENT
Single Cream 18%
Whipping Cream 35%
Double Cream 48%
Double Thick Cream 50%
Sterilized Half Cream 12%
Sterilized Cream 23%
Clotted Cream 55%
Reconstituted cream is made by emulsifying butter with skimmed milk or skimmed milk powder. This is not true cream but a substance, which resembles it in appearance. Imitation or Synthetic cream is made by the emulsification of vegetable fats with dried egg and gelatin and then sugar and flavorings are added. This gets easily contaminated and is liable to cause food poisoning. However, it is frequently used in the food processing and catering business.
USES OF CREAM
1. To serve with hot or cold coffee and chocolate.
2. To serve as an accompaniment (fruit salad).
3. To be used for decorative purposes and for garnishes.
4. To enrich soups and sauces and to obtain smooth textures.
5. As a main ingredient in certain desserts such as ice cream and custards
6. For toppings such as ganache and truffle.
STORAGE OF CREAM
Fresh cream must be treated in the same way as fresh milk as far as storage is concerned. Cream must be covered and stored in sterilized containers in the refrigerator. The ideal storage temperature for cream is 2C (35F). Reconstituted and imitation must be refrigerated and consumed the same day.
THE WHIPPING OF CREAM
Since cream is to be whipped very often, a few observations on this point must be noted:
1. Cream must contain minimum 30-38% fat.
2. Avoid using homogenized cream. This will not whip satisfactorily. When whipping cream, tiny air bubbles are trapped and surrounded by the fat globules in the cream. Homogenized cream will have had the majority of the fat globules broken down and they will not be sufficient and strong enough to trap and hold the air cells.
3. The cream and utensils used for whipping must be chilled to below 8C (46F)
4. The utensils must be sterilized previously.
5. Glass or stainless steel containers are ideal for whipping cream. Avoid using aluminum, as it tends to discolor the cream turning it a dull gray.
Head of Department - Food Production