Composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization, this dairy product is sold all over the world. In un-homogenized milk, the lighter fat eventuall rises to the top, a process which is accelerated in the industrial production of cream by using centrifuges which are called “separators”. Depending on country, cream is sold in several different grades depending on the total butterfat content. Butterfat, also known as milkfat, is the fatty portion of milk. Depending on if the cows is grazing on natural pasture or if they are fed indoors, cream can have a yellowish-white color, called cream color, or a milky white color.
There are two different kinds of cream, the cream made from milk is called “sweet cream” to distinguish it from cream made from whey, a by-product when making cheese, whey cream usually has a lower fat content and a saltier, tangier, and “cheesier” taste. Cream may contain thickening agents and stabilisers without having to declare these on the packaging, depending on the country laws.
A few different thickeners can include sodium alginate, carargeenan, gelatine, sodium bicarbonate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and alginic acid. Cream has a tendency to produce oily globules, known as “feathering” when added to coffee, to prevent this the company producing the cream can partially demineralise and add sodium caseinate, although this is an expensive procedure. Cream is a popular ingredient in many foods, such as ice cream, sauces, soups, stews, puddings, custard bases, or cakes.
Irish cream, such as Baileys Irish Cream, is an alcoholic liqueur which, along with whiskey and coffee, also contains cream. There are a few other products made from cream, these include, butter, which is produced by churning cream to separate the butterfat and buttermilk, whipped cream, produced by whisking or mixing air into cream with more than 30% fat, sour cream, made by subjecting cream to a bacterial culture, or clotted cream, a very high-fat product which is common in the UK.