Crème Fraîche

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Crème Fraîche

I begin with fresh, raw cream straight from the refrigerator. If you prefer, you can use pasteurized half-and-half as long as it is not ultra pasteurized. (Culturing is said to restore many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurization.) Raw cream crème fraîche will keep 7 to 10 days, while the pasteurized product will keep about two weeks.


  • 4-quart stainless steel pot
  • stainless steel spoon
  • mercury-free dairy thermometer*
  • 1 packet of direct set crème fraîche culture*
  • butter muslin*
  • colander


Heat the cold cream to 86 degrees in a 4-qt. stainless steel pot. Add the culture packet to the cream and stir well with the stainless steel spoon. Set pot in an undisturbed place at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Line a colander with butter muslin. Gently transfer the cultured cream to the colander. I tie the corners of the muslin together, making a bag that I hang for 3 to 4 hours; I let the whey drain into a dish underneath. You can also set the colander in the refrigerator with a dish under it, or you can choose to skip the draining process entirely. Draining yields a more versatile, thicker, and longer-lasting product.

* Available at New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (, 413–628–3808). Store culture in your freezer until you are ready to use it.

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