This French term means fresh cream but it isn’t fresh at all. It is a soured cream but unlike sour cream it is mild and much sweeter than sour cream but goes most place sour cream is used. We use very clean utensils when making creme fraiche and very fresh ingredients. It actually takes only two ingredients but there are variations. To start use pasteurized whipping cream not ultra pasteurized. To it add either sour cream or buttermilk. We have even used yogurt. When allowed to rest at room temperature for 24 hours this mixture becomes transformed into a mild version of sour cream. Not light as in less calories, but lighter in taste and therefore more versatile. It even goes where sour cream cannot go–high heat will tend to break sour cream but creme fraiche can actually go the distance.
To make creme fraiche use the ratio of one cup whipping cream to 1 tablespoon sour cream. This makes a small batch. Best for your first try. You can warm the cream but we don’t. We simply add the two together and place in bowl that is covered lightly (not air tight) and let it be in a warm place in the kitchen out of drafts. In even 8 hours it will begin to turn and can be refrigerated if you are worried about leaving it at room temperature. In another 24 hours it should be thick enough to use. And you will know very quickly if your batch is working or not. It won’t gel and may even separate into a watery mess. That one must be discarded. Don’t even try to get it back. Sometimes however your batch seems to still be pretty thin but not watery or separated. That just means you need to give it more time to gel completely.
Use up within 7-10 days.
Again be sure to start with clean bowls or jars or whatever you make it in and use only clean utensils when mixing. That should maintain the integrity of the natural bacterial culture in the buttermilk or sour cream. Then it will naturaly make it a safer environment for friendly bacteria.