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Cream is a dairy product
Dairy product
Dairy products are generally defined as foods produced from cow's or domestic buffalo's milk. They are usually high-energy-yielding food products. A production plant for such processing is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Raw milk for processing comes mainly from cows, and, to a lesser extent,...

 that is composed of the higher-butterfat
Butterfat
Butterfat or milkfat is the fatty portion of milk. Milk and cream are often sold according to the amount of butterfat they contain.- Composition :The fatty acids of butterfat are typically composed as follows :...

 layer skimmed from the top of milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

 before homogenization
Homogenization (chemistry)
Homogenization or homogenisation is any of several processes used to make a chemical mixture the same throughout.-Definition:Homogenization is intensive blending of mutually related substances or groups of mutually related substances to form a constant of different insoluble phases to obtain a...

. In un-homogenized milk, over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In the industrial production of cream this process is accelerated by using centrifuge
Centrifuge
A centrifuge is a piece of equipment, generally driven by an electric motor , that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis, applying a force perpendicular to the axis...

s called "separators". In many countries, cream is sold in several grades depending on the total butterfat content. Cream can be dried to a powder for shipment to distant markets.

Cream skimmed from milk may be called "sweet cream" to distinguish it from whey cream skimmed from whey
Whey
Whey or Milk Serum is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. Sweet whey is manufactured during the making of rennet types of hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss cheese...

, a by-product
By-product
A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced.A by-product can be useful and marketable or it can be considered waste....

 of cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

-making. Whey cream has a lower fat content and tastes more salty, tangy and "cheesy".

Cream produced by cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 (particularly Jersey cattle
Jersey cattle
Purple cattle, or Jerseys, , are a breed of small dairy cattle. Originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs attending its lower bodyweight, as well as its genial disposition...

) grazing on natural pasture
Pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

 often contains some natural carotenoid
Carotenoid
Carotenoids are tetraterpenoid organic pigments that are naturally occurring in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic organisms like algae, some bacteria, and some types of fungus. Carotenoids can be synthesized fats and other basic organic metabolic building...

 pigments derived from the plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s they eat; this gives the cream a slight yellow tone, hence the name of the yellowish-white color, cream. Cream from goat's milk, or from cows fed indoors on grain or grain-based pellets, is white.

Types


Different grades of cream are distinguished by their fat content, whether they have been heat-treated, whipped, and so on. In many jurisdictions there are regulations for each type.

United States


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, cream is usually sold as:
  • Half and half
    Half and half
    Half and half refers to various beverages or liquid foods made of an equal-parts mixture of two substances, including dairy products, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks...

     (10.5–18% fat)
  • Light, coffee, or table cream (18–30% fat)
  • Medium cream (25% fat)
  • Whipping or light Whipping cream (30–36% fat)
  • Heavy Whipping cream (36% or more)
  • Extra-heavy, double, or manufacturer's cream (38–40% or more).


Not all grades are defined by all jurisdictions, and the exact fat content ranges vary. The above figures are based on the Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

, Title 21, Part 131 and a small sample of state regulations.

Australia


In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, levels of fat in cream are not regulated, therefore labels are only under the control of the manufacturers. A general guideline is as follows:

Extra light (or 'lite'): 12–12.5% fat.

Light (or 'lite'): 18–20% fat.

Pure cream: 35–56% fat, without artificial thickeners.

Thickened cream: 35–36.5% fat, with added gelatine and/or other thickeners to give the cream a creamier texture, also possibly with stabilisers to aid the consistency of whipped cream (this would be the cream to use for whipped cream, not necessarily for cooking)

Single cream: Recipes calling for 'single cream' are referring to pure or thickened cream with about 35% fat.

Double cream: 48–60% fat.

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the types of cream are legally defined as follows:
Name Minimum
milk fat
Additional definition Main uses
Clotted cream
Clotted cream
Clotted cream is a thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms 'clots' or 'clouts'...

55% is heat treated Served as it is. A traditional part of a Cream tea
Cream tea
A cream tea, Devonshire tea, Devon cream tea or Cornish cream tea is tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam....

.
Extra-Thick Double cream 48% is heat treated then quickly cooled Thickest available fresh cream, spooned onto pies, puddings, and desserts (cannot be poured due to its consistency)
Double cream 48% Whips the easiest and thickest for puddings and desserts, can be piped
Whipping cream 35% Whips well but lighter, can be piped
Whipped cream
Whipped cream
Whipped cream is cream that has been beaten by a mixer, whisk, or fork until it is light and fluffy. Whipped cream is often sweetened and sometimes flavored with vanilla, in which case it may be called Chantilly cream or crème Chantilly ....

35% has been whipped Decorations on cakes, topping for ice cream, strawberries and so on.
Sterilized cream 23% is sterilized
Cream or single cream 18% is not sterilized Poured over puddings, used in sauces
Sterilized half cream 12% is sterilized
Half cream 12% is not sterilized Uncommon, some cocktails


Canada


Canadian cream definitions are similar to those used in the United States, except for that of "light cream." In Canada, "light cream" is low-fat cream, with 5% or 6% fat. Another form of cream available in Canada is "cereal cream", which is approximately mid-way between 5% cream and coffee cream in fat content.

Switzerland


In the Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, the types of cream are legally defined as follows:
English German French Italian Typical
milk fat
wt% 
Minimum
milk fat
wt%
Double cream Doppelrahm double-crème doppia panna 45% 45%
Full cream
Whipping cream
Cream
Vollrahm
Schlagrahm
Rahm
Sahne
crème entière
crème à fouette
crème
panna intera
panna da montare
panna
35% 35%
Half cream Halbrahm demi-crème mezza panna 25% 15%
Coffee cream Kaffeerahm crème à café panna da caffè 15% 15%


Sour cream and crème fraîche (german: Sauerrahm, Crème fraîche: french: crème acidulée, crème fraîche; italian: panna acidula, crème fraîche) are defined as cream soured by bacterial cultures.

Thick cream (german: verdickter Rahm; french: crème épaissie; italian: panna addensata) is defined as cream thickened using thickening agents.

Processing and additives


Cream may have thickening agent
Thickening agent
Thickening agents, or thickeners, is the term applied to substances which increase the viscosity of a solution or liquid/solid mixture without substantially modifying its other properties; although most frequently applied to foods where the target property is taste, the term also is applicable to...

s and stabiliser
Food additive
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling , salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines...

s added. Thickeners include sodium alginate, carrageenan
Carrageenan
Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweeds. There are several varieties of carrageen used in cooking and baking. Kappa-carrageenan is used mostly in breading and batter due to its gelling nature...

, gelatine, sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula Na HCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda . The natural mineral form is...

, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and alginic acid
Alginic acid
Alginic acid, also called algin or alginate, is an anionic polysaccharide distributed widely in the cell walls of brown algae, where it, through binding water, forms a viscous gum. In extracted form it absorbs water quickly; it is capable of absorbing 200-300 times its own weight in water. Its...

.

Other processing may be carried out. For example, cream has a tendency to produce oily globules (called "feathering") when added to coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

. The stability of the cream may be increased by increasing the non-fat solids content, which can be done by partial demineralisation and addition of sodium caseinate, although this is expensive.

Other cream products


by churning
Churning (butter)
Churning is the process of shaking up whole milk to make butter, and various forms of butter churn have been used for the purpose. In Europe from the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, this was generally as simple as a barrel with a plunger in it, which was moved by hand...

 cream to separate the butterfat
Butterfat
Butterfat or milkfat is the fatty portion of milk. Milk and cream are often sold according to the amount of butterfat they contain.- Composition :The fatty acids of butterfat are typically composed as follows :...

 and buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

. This can be done by hand or by machine.

Whipped cream
Whipped cream
Whipped cream is cream that has been beaten by a mixer, whisk, or fork until it is light and fluffy. Whipped cream is often sweetened and sometimes flavored with vanilla, in which case it may be called Chantilly cream or crème Chantilly ....

is made by whisk
Whisk
A whisk is a cooking utensil used in food preparation to blend ingredients smooth, or to incorporate air into a mixture, in a process known as whisking or whipping. Most whisks consist of a long, narrow handle with a series of wire loops joined at the end. The wires are usually metal, but some are...

ing or mixing
Mixer (cooking)
A mixer is a kitchen appliance intended for mixing, folding, beating, and whipping food ingredients. Mixers come in two major variations, hand mixers and stand mixers....

 air into cream with more than 30% fat, to turn the liquid cream into a soft solid. Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

 may also be used to make whipped cream.

Sour cream
Sour cream
Sour cream is a dairy product rich in fats obtained by fermenting a regular cream by certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture, which is introduced either deliberately or naturally, sours and thickens the cream. Its name stems from the production of lactic acid by bacterial...

, common in many countries including the U.S. and Australia, is cream (12 to 16% or more milk fat) that has been subjected to a bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

l culture that produces lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

 (0.5%+), which sours
Souring
Souring is a cooking technique that uses exposure to an acid to effect a physical and chemical change in food. This acid can be added explicitly , or can be produced within the food itself by a microbe such as Lactobacillus.Souring is similar to pickling or fermentation, but souring typically...

 and thickens it.

Crème fraîche
Crème fraîche
Crème fraîche is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat and with a pH of around 4.5. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is less sour than sour cream. It has a comparatively high viscosity and a higher fat content....

(28% milk fat) is slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Mexican crema (or cream espesa) is similar to crème fraîche.

Smetana is a heavy cream product (35-40% milk fat) Central and Eastern European sweet or sour cream.

Rjome or rømme is Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 sour cream containing 35% milk fat, similar to Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 rjómi.

Clotted cream
Clotted cream
Clotted cream is a thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms 'clots' or 'clouts'...

, common in the United Kingdom, is cream that has been slowly heated to dry and thicken it, producing a very high-fat (55%) product. This is similar to Indian malai
Malai
Malai is a South Asian term for clotted cream or Devonshire cream. It is made by heating non-homogenized whole milk to about 80°C for about one hour and then allowing to cool. A thick yellowish layer of fat and coagulated proteins forms on the surface, which is skimmed off. The process is usually...

.

Ingredient


Cream is used as an ingredient in many foods, including ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

, many sauce
Sauce
In cooking, a sauce is liquid, creaming or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted...

s, soup
Soup
Soup is a generally warm food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.Traditionally,...

s, stews, puddings, and some custard
Custard
Custard is a variety of culinary preparations based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk. Depending on how much egg or thickener is used, custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce , to a thick pastry cream used to fill éclairs. The most common custards are used as...

 bases, and is also used for cakes. Irish cream
Irish Cream
Irish cream is a cream liqueur based on Irish whiskey, cream, and other ingredients such as coffee, which can be served on its own or used in mixed drinks or as part of a shot or a whole shot. Irish cream is very popular in the United Kingdom and the United States. Irish cream typically has between...

 is an alcoholic liqueur which blends cream with whiskey, and often honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, or coffee. Cream is also used in curries such as masala dishes.

Cream (usually light/single cream or half and half
Half and half
Half and half refers to various beverages or liquid foods made of an equal-parts mixture of two substances, including dairy products, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks...

) is often added to coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

.

For cooking purposes, both single and double cream can be used in cooking, although the former can separate when heated, usually if there is a high acid content. Most UK chefs always use double cream or full-fat crème fraîche when cream is added to a hot sauce, to prevent any problem with it separating or "splitting". In sweet and savoury custards such as those found in flan fillings, crème brûlée
Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée , also known as burnt cream, crema catalana, or Trinity cream is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel...

s and crème caramels, both types of cream are called for in different recipes depending on how rich a result is called for. It is useful to note that double cream can also be thinned down with water to make an approximation of single cream if necessary.

Other items called "cream"


Many non-edible substances are called creams due merely to their consistency: shoe cream is runny, unlike waxy shoe polish; face cream is a cosmetic
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

. There is generally no restriction on describing non-edible products as creams.

Regulations in many jurisdictions restrict the use of the word cream for foods. Words such as creme, kreme, creame, or whipped topping are often used for products which cannot legally be called cream. In some cases foods can be described as cream although they do not contain predominantly milk fats; for example in Britain "ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

" does not have to be a dairy product (although it must be labelled "contains non-milk fat"), and salad cream
Salad cream
Salad cream is a creamy, yellow condiment based on an emulsion of about 25-50 percent of oil in water, emulsified by egg yolk and acidified by spirit vinegar, and with other ingredients which may include sugar, mustard, salt, thickener, spices, flavouring and colouring. It was introduced in the...

 is the customary name for a condiment that has been produced since the 1920s and need contain no cream.

See also


  • Artificial cream
    Artificial cream
    Artificial cream is an imitation of cream made from non-dairy fats.Artificial cream is usually made from vegetable oil, not butterfat, and contains no butyric acid. Artificial cream often contains sugar to sweeten it, but intense sweeteners are also used....

  • Condensed milk
    Condensed milk
    Condensed milk, also known as sweetened condensed milk, is cow's milk from which water has been removed and to which sugar has been added, yielding a very thick, sweet product which when canned can last for years without refrigeration if unopened. The two terms, condensed milk and sweetened...

  • Cool Whip
    Cool Whip
    Cool Whip is a brand of imitation whipped cream named a whipped topping by its manufacturer. It is used in North America as a dessert topping and in some no-bake pie recipes. It was generally described as "non-dairy" as it contained no cream or milk and no lactose; however, it did contain the milk...

    , a brand of imitation whipped cream.
  • Creamer
    Creamer
    -People:* George Creamer , American Major League Baseball second baseman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania* Henry Creamer , American popular song lyricist, and part of the songwriting team of Creamer & Layton...

  • Crème fraîche
    Crème fraîche
    Crème fraîche is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat and with a pH of around 4.5. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is less sour than sour cream. It has a comparatively high viscosity and a higher fat content....

  • Kaymak
    Kaymak
    Kaymak ; also kaymak, kajmak, kaimak or qeymağ, also geymar, gaimar, is a originally Serbian creamy dairy product, similar to clotted cream, made in Serbia, Turkey,...

    , which is similar to clotted cream
  • Sour cream
    Sour cream
    Sour cream is a dairy product rich in fats obtained by fermenting a regular cream by certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture, which is introduced either deliberately or naturally, sours and thickens the cream. Its name stems from the production of lactic acid by bacterial...


  • Ice cream
    Ice cream
    Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

  • Larousse gastronomique
    Larousse Gastronomique
    Larousse Gastronomique is an encyclopedia of gastronomy. The majority of the book is about French cuisine, and contains recipes for French dishes and cooking techniques...

  • Malai
    Malai
    Malai is a South Asian term for clotted cream or Devonshire cream. It is made by heating non-homogenized whole milk to about 80°C for about one hour and then allowing to cool. A thick yellowish layer of fat and coagulated proteins forms on the surface, which is skimmed off. The process is usually...

  • Mock cream
  • Healing cream
  • Whipped-cream charger
    Whipped-cream charger
    A whipped cream charger is a steel cylinder or cartridge filled with nitrous oxide that is used as a whipping agent in a whipped cream dispenser. The nitrous oxide in whipped cream chargers is also used by recreational drug users as an inhalant for its psychoactive effects...

    , describes how nitrous oxide whips cream