Accidental Locavore Crème Fraiche Taste Test

by Anne Maxfield on August 22, 2011

Accidental Locavore Creme Fraiche

My friend Zhu Zhu decided to take on the Accidental Locavore in crème fraiche making. He’s a genius who certainly knows a lot more about the chemistry behind cooking than I do, and we were chatting about some of the science behind making milk “spoil”. Because we’re both just a little competitive, he dropped off three versions of crème fraiche that he had made and I threw my latest batch into the ring.

The first sample the Locavore tasted had great taste, tangy and creamy at the same time. Good, rich, mouth-feel, really luscious. Zhu Zhu’s second one had kind of a weird texture, it seemed to be separating a bit, kind of like yogurt. It was a little tart, more like sour cream. The third sample was thin and sour, almost inedible. How did mine compare? I would rate it second. It was just a little short on the mouth-feel and taste from his #1.

Accidental Locavore Creme Fraiche TestAfter that, I suckered my friend into tasting. In Laura’s opinion 1 was the clear winner, with mine coming in second. She thought 3 tasted nasty, and was the thinnest of all of them. “His 2 has a weird consistency and not much taste”.

My husband who originally didn’t want to taste, changed his mind (peer pressure?). He picked mine as his favorite with Zhu Zhu’s #1 coming in second. He liked the Locavore’s because it was a little lighter.

Zhu Zhu preferred  the taste of #2, but agreed on the texture. That’s why he thought it needed to sit out for another day.

So what was the secret formula? From Zhu Zhu: #1 was 1/2 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of Farmland cultured low fat buttermilk. It sat unrefrigerated for roughly 24 hours before refrigeration. #2 was 1/2 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of #3. It might need to sit out for another day for the texture to improve. It didn’t thicken as fast as #1 and he never put it in the refrigerator (the cream was also Farmland). #3  was the commercial crème fraiche from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, “handmade in Vermont and all that” (which just won the 2011 American Cheese Society Competition). The Locavore’s was also 1 cup of Farmland cream, with 2 tablespoons of Tuscan buttermilk (here’s the recipe).

What does this prove? Mostly that you can make crème fraiche at home, cheaper and more delicious than even a good commercial variety. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

 

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