Creme Fraiche Recipe

Learn how to make an amazing homemade version of crème fraiche that retains a variety of healthy probiotics otherwise lost in factory production.

| April 2019

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Creme fraiche, which translates from French into “fresh cream,” is often considered the French version of sour cream, but it’s quite different. It’s made from 30 to 40 percent butterfat cream that has been left out to mature and sour naturally without the addition of bacteria starters or cultures. It has a nutty and mild tangy flavor, with a smooth, rich, custardlike texture. When it’s first made, the flavor is slightly sour and the texture is smooth — almost pourable. As it matures, the flavor becomes stronger and the texture thickens, becoming almost solid.

Creme fraiche originated before the days of pasteurization, when refrigeration and fast transportation weren’t available. The cream collected bacteria and fermented before it was able to make its way from the French dairy farms to the markets. The French developed a taste for it and still enjoy the flavor today.

Like all raw creams, creme fraiche contains lactic acid and other ferments. These naturally occurring ferments, if allowed to grow properly, work as thickening agents and also help preserve the cream. This process is disrupted in dairy products made in the United States because they’re pasteurized, which kills the natural ferments and bacteria, but any fresh cream, if left alone at room temperature, will go through this fermenting process.

All creme fraiche has an average of 30 percent butterfat, and some can be as high as 60 percent. Heavy cream in this country comes in at about 35 percent, but the taste is not at all similar to the French type. Because creme fraiche is a matured cream, it’s often referred to as a soured cream, but don’t confuse it with sour cream; they’re different products.

Yield: about 2 cups



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