Preserving Recipes/ Spring

Crème Fraiche

Creme Fresh

Fermentation is one of the main forms of food preservation and one of the oldest. Crème Fraiche is an example of a simple dairy ferment. It is also one of the most useful items to have in your fridge.

Crème Fraiche is a fermented cream as opposed to yogurt which is a fermented milk. It originated in Normandy, France, a northern region known for grazing cows, beautiful butters, and cream products. Crème Fraiche is so precious to the French, that in 1986 the French government instituted the status of “Appellation D’origine Controlee” which regulates that Crème Fraiche must only be made by traditional methods. This action was taken to avoid commercial manufacturing additions of stabilizers and thickeners which are allowed in North America.  Common additives to Crème Fraiche and sour cream in North America include corn starch, cellulose gel, carrageenan cellulose gum and more. So why not choose the pure and simple path and make your own Crème Fraiche?

As a simple ferment, Crème Fraiche is easy to make at home. It is simply heavy cream cultured with buttermilk. When left at room temperature, it becomes a thick, creamy substance that is excellent in both savoury and sweet dishes. It is not tangy like sour cream but has a smooth, almost lightly nutty flavour. Because of the high butter fat content, Crème Fraiche will not separate when added to hot or acidic foods which is a huge bonus for the home chef.

Add a dollop of Crème Fraiche to soups or stews. Add to a tomato sauce to make it creamy. Serve on baked eggs or with mashed or baked potatoes. Make an instant Mexican crema by adding grated lime zest and a healthy squeeze of lime juice to the Crème Fraiche. Perfect for the fish tacos.

Crème Fraiche is also wonderful on the sweet side of things. Use it in baking such as with sweet breads, scones, or tea biscuits. Top a fruit tart. Serve with a slice of pie or cake. Since you will have left-over buttermilk, how about lightly sweetening crème fraiche with a small amount of sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Think about how you enjoy your whipped cream. Some like it very sweet and others like just a hint of sweetness. Treat the crème fraiche the same way. For Easter morning, how about buttermilk pancakes or waffles topped with sweetened crème fraiche and fruit?

Crème Fraiche is delicious, simple to make and far superior to anything you can buy in the grocery store labelled as “crème fraiche” or “sour cream”. Become a fermenter and try it!

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Crème Fraiche

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  • 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 3 TBSP butter milk



Combine in a bowl. Cover with a cotton lint-free tea towel and place on the counter for 24 to 36 hours. If your house is cool, the fermentation takes a bit longer. You will know it’s done when it is a thick, creamy substance that smells sweetish. Easy! It will last in the fridge for about 10 days.


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