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Meet the creams

Cream is made by skimming the layer of butterfat from the top of milk before the milk is homogenized. Varieties of cream are defined by how much milk fat they contain. Creams with less fat are fine for coffee, but they can’t be heated or whipped. Cultured creams (sour cream, crème fraîche) break down when heated, and are best drizzled or dolloped after you've finished cooking a dish. 

The spectrum of cream from lowest to highest butterfat content:

Half & Half: A mix of half whole milk and half cream. No whipping. No heating.

Light Cream: AKA Table Cream - Usually contains 20% milk fat. No whipping. No heating.

Crème Fraîche, Mexican Crema and Sour Cream: The cultured creams. No whipping. No heating. Cultured creams have sour undertones that differ from the silky sweetness of creams that are not cultured.

Light Whipping Cream: Has more milk fat (30-36%) than light cream. Whips into soft peaks. Heats nicely, too.

Heavy Cream (aka, Heavy Whipping Cream): 36-40% milk fat. Can be whipped into stiff peaks. Heats to a silky, rich thickness.

Recipe: Pappardelle With Creminis, Cream And Sage (Cookthink)
Recipe: Cream Of Broccoli Soup (Cookthink)
Reference: What do I do with leftover heavy cream? (Cookthink)

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