This is the easiest creme fraiche recipe imaginable. Authentic French creme fraiche. Made by adding a starter culture to cream, and then controlling the temperature while it cultures.
Creme fraiche is like a French version of sour cream, only much milder. We use it frequently when making ice cream, but also in a number of other ways. Authentic creme fraiche can be expensive and hard to find. So, we decided to make it at home so that we could choose exactly what was in it, and also cut the cost.
It turned out to be really easy. It is made by adding a starter culture to cream, and then controlling the temperature while it cultures.
The culture is a real creme fraiche starter culture from Cultures for Health. It comes in powdered form in tiny packets and stores conveniently for months in the refrigerator. The creme fraiche can be made when you need it instead of having to buy it and store it just in case you might need it. It can also be hard to find in grocery stores, so being able to make it is actually convenient.
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HOW TO MAKE CREME FRAICHE IN AN INSTANT POT
We make the creme fraiche in an Instant Pot, because it can hold the temperature for hours, which makes culturing easy.
Because this is a cultured product, it is important that everything is clean. Start with cream that is not near its expiration date. Remove the sealing ring on the Instant Pot lid and thoroughly wash the inner pot, the lid and the ring with very hot water.
The cream is first heated to 145 degrees F. This causes the proteins to tighten and will produce a thicker sour cream. The temperature is then allowed to drop to 77 degrees F before the starter culture is added. Then the mixture is kept at 90 degrees F for 16 hours while it thickens.
It is made from a mesophilic culture, which translates to “medium-loving”, indicating that it thrives at medium temperatures and is destroyed at a higher temperature. The culture thrives at temperatures between 74 and 77 degrees F, and is destroyed at 113 degrees F. The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to low, where it will maintain a constant temperature of 90 degrees. This makes culturing creme fraiche very easy.
- Remove the sealing ring and thoroughly wash the inner pot, the lid and the ring with very hot water. This is a cultured product so it is important that everything is clean.
- Add 1-4 quarts of cream to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. The valve can be in either the sealed or unsealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting and change the time to 45 minutes and the temperature to 145 degrees F. This step will result in a thicker cream.
- After 45 minures at 145 degrees F, remove the inner pot and allow the temperature to drop.
- When the temperature of the cream has dropped to 77 degrees F, add the starter culture and whisk it in for a few seconds.
- Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. The valve can be in either the sealed or unsealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting and adjust it to "low". It will show a temperature of 90 degrees F. Adjust the time to 16 hours and start.
- After 16 hours the creme fraiche should be fairly thick. Transfer it to a glass container and store it in the refrigerator. It can be stored for 2-3 weeks.
More details are available on the Cultures for Health website where you can get the starter culture.
This is one of the things we discovered while traveling and recreated when we got back home. We researched the science and techniques behind the recipe and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe. For more ideas, see our other posts about recipes inspired by travel.