How to Make Creme Fraiche (or French Sour Cream)

by Amy on 02/23/2012

  

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Want to make your own creme fraiche (or French sour cream)? It’s simple and delicious, not to mention economical. I make a quart at a time and it lasts us about two weeks.

There are several ways you can make this- with buttermilk, with a starter, etc, but here’s how I make it:

Simply pour 2 pints of  organic grassfed heavy cream into a clean quart jar.
Add 3-4 TBL organic grassfed yogurt.

Stir well to combine. Place in a dehydrator, yogurt maker, crock pot or oven at a low temp set to 95 degrees for 12-18 hours. (I use my Excalibur dehydrator for this task)
Remove and let cool on the counter for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate about 12 hours before using (it will become thicker as it cools)

That’s it!

Now that you have your homemade creme fraiche- what do you do with it?

I use creme fraiche all the time for the following:

Delicious, Probiotic Rich “Whipped Topping”
Use any where you’d normally use whipped cream. Stir in a tiny bit of pure vanilla extract (or try pure almond extract for another flavor) and a drop of maple syrup into a bit of your creme fraiche and then put a dollop on top of freshly cut fruit (amazing with strawberries!), freshly baked grain-free goodies (like a stonefruit tart) or on pudding/pot de creme, etc. In the autumn/winter, I often stir in a bit of cinnamon and/or nutmeg or a drizzle of bourbon to top harvest goodies. If you want a firmer blend for icing, simply drain the creme fraiche through cheesecloth and then flavor with vanilla (or almond) and your natural sweetener of choice- use instead of whipped cream for icing.

Cumin-Scented Crema
On top of chili, tacos, Mexican soups (like caldo de pollo) or beside guacamole, I love this! A dollop of creme fraiche mixed with fresh lime juice, a dash of unrefined sea salt, a dash of chili powder and a couple dashes of cumin. Mix it all and adjust to taste and swirl it in, put it on or drizzle it! Omit the chili powder and lime- just using cumin and salt- and it goes beautifully on butternut squash soup!

As sour cream
Use anywhere you would normally use sour cream-  it is cultured cream after all :)   Top baked potatoes, stir into mashed potatoes (or faux-tatoes with cauliflower), as an accompaniment to caviar or smoked salmon, etc.

In sauces
My favorite way to use creme fraiche is in making sauces. What’s awesome is it doesn’t curdle or cause your sauce to separate! Simply saute some onions, shallots, mushrooms, garlic or whatever in a bit of butter. When soft, you can deglaze the pan with a bit of wine/sherry/port, brandy or bourbon , or homemade beef or chicken stock. Then add a big spoonful of creme fraiche. Stir, season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and let simmer gently until reduced to your desired consistency. FANTASTIC! Great with roasted chicken! Serving grassfed steak? Try this brandy mushroom sauce.

For fluffy eggs
Whenever I make eggs, instead of adding milk or cream, I add a tablespoon or two of creme fraiche to the raw eggs and beat well to mix. Season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper and cook in grassfed butter- SO good! I use it in frittatas as well.

Creamed Spinach
Yep, goes great in creamed spinach (or other greens) as well.

How do you use creme fraiche? Have you made homemade creme fraiche before? What method did you use?

Image credit: Wikipedia


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

City Share February 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the easy tutorial. I’m wanting to start making more fermented foods at home. I never thought of putting it in eggs. Thanks for the inspiration

Reply

Amy February 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

The fluffiest eggs ever! :) Thanks for your comment and let me know how it turns out for you!

Reply

Raine February 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hi Amy – great recipe! I have been making my sour cream for a long time similar to how you have described here, except I used the recipe from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s GAPS book. She says to pour yogurt into a bowl and add some yogurt, cover it and leave it overnight. In the colder weather, I have found that I need to leave it longer, at least for 3 days.

I have recently started making my yogurt in my dehydrator, I used to put it in the oven with the light on, but found that we like the texture of it better in the dehydrator. It makes me think I should also do my sour cream the same way. I have never found it to be as thick as the store bought, which kind of is disappointing, but it is very smooth and creamy, and delicious. I’ve also come to accept that the texture of home-made cultured dairy foods are different from store-bought, but I’m still always trying to make them thicker. Over the years I’ve definitely come a long way as my yogurt used to be very runny and not have much body. Now it’s the best it’s been since I started making yogurt 5 years ago. Thanks for sharing this, I will definitely try mine in the dehydrator!

Have you ever added salt to yours? I always mean to do this, but keep forgetting. Just wondering if it makes any difference in the flavor.

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Matt February 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hey Raine! Sometimes it is a bit thinner and I strain it, but generally it’s thick enough…I think it depends on the cream and yogurt and of course that varies batch to batch :) I haven’t added salt unless I’m specifically making a sauce or dip- it does make a difference in the flavor, as the spices do, but I wouldn’t salt the whole batch in case you wanted to make a bit of it sweet like whipped cream. :) Let me know how it turns out – Amy :)

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Lindsay February 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

Hey Amy!
My first attempt was a bust, so I’m going to try your method with the dehydrator. I also have an Excalibur. Your recipe calls for 12-18 hours. How long do you typically let yours sit in there? Thanks!

Reply

Amy February 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

Hey Lindsay! Well, I guess I usually leave it for about 12 hours, but I have left it for up to 18 with no problems or change…just depends on when I remember to put it in there, LOL! It does get thicker as it cools- mine usually looks liquid when it comes out of the dehydrator- but thickens up nicely in the fridge (it’s usually in there overnight before I get to it again) Hope this one turns out better for you- let me know!

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Lindsay February 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thank you! I’ll give it a try. I committed to eating the last batch regardless of how…uh, weird it turned out. Surely this one can’t be weirder than that! You just never know with cultured dairy experiments :) Hope you are well!

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Nancy February 17, 2013 at 12:51 am

Well, I’ve made about 5 batches in a row of sour cream that have all died. Even though I have milk fermenting into yogurt just fine right next to each batch of cream. I have tried 4 batches of raw cream and 1 batch of pasteurized. I have tried using the yogurt from raw milk as culture and tried store bought yogurt as the culture. I have tried using the exact ratio of yogurt to cream suggested by Dr. Natasha, and I’ve tried using more and less. The dehydrator is set to 95 and when I test the temperature of the failed sour cream, it’s 105. I set it in the fridge overnight and yes, it is 100% not right. Whey separated on the bottom (which you can see happening even 3 or 4 hours after the fermenting process has begun) and it tastes rancid. HELP!

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Amy February 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

I’m going to post this on our Facebook page to see if others have suggestions for you :)

Reply

Nancy February 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I’m not on facebook :(

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Jackie Patti February 14, 2014 at 1:53 am

This is the easiest method I’ve ever seen.

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Amy February 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm

So easy, right? And so good! :)

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