Before you get things cooking in your kitchen, it is best to know all about your cream! So simmer on down, and read on to find out what the real difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream really are.
The typical struggles between choosing between heavy cream and whipping cream usually start in your grocery aisle as you stand there looking at only one option on the shelf, debating about having to go searching through other store’s shelves, you question yet again; all cream is relatively the same thing, isn’t it?
Well, it is not exactly the same thing. In fact, it could alter the recipe you are concocting quite drastically. You could be facing very negative results if you grab the wrong cream. So let’s go over the down low of the cream aisle.
The main difference in varieties of cream is the milk-fat content. To be labeled as cream a dairy product must contain no less than 18 % milk fat. Whipping cream is made of 30 % milk fat. Cartons labeled as heavy cream or heavy whipping cream are required to contain at least 36 % of more milk fat. These creams are designated for recipes that incorporate whisked air. Most definitely, never reach for that carton of half-and-half that is sitting in your refrigerator. Half and half contains only 10.5 to 18 % milk fat and this minimal amount simply will not cut it when it comes to making your favorite dish.
A cream is more likely to remain in a stable whipped state depending on the more fat content the cream contains.
Now that we know the specifics of our creams, let’s get things heated up and talk about heavy cream versus whipping cream!
For a long time, I thought heavy cream and whipping cream were the same thing, just marketed under different names. But the more I started interchanging these two products in my recipes the more I learned that they were clearly different.
Heavy cream is the richest of the richest in liquid cream that you will find in your grocery store aisles or your home pantry. Heavy cream typically contains 36 % milk fat content. One heavy cream carton I found at a local grocery contained a whopping 39 % milk fat content! Whipping cream is typically between 30 % and 36 % milk fat content, slightly less than its richer counterpart.
In recipes that call for a whipping product you must use a cream that contains a minimum of 30 % milk fat content. So, in theory, both whipping cream and heavy cream will suffice. While you are able to whip up both heavy cream and whipping cream quickly, after a bit of testing and research in my own kitchen, I discovered some differences between the two.
It appeared that using whipping cream to make whipped cream created a softer, fluffier end product, and was much more enjoyable when spooned on top of my favorite desserts. In fact, it was 25 % to 30 % more voluminous than whipping cream made with heavy cream. While whipped cream made with heavy cream was much more firm and dense, this unique quality made it perfect for use in a pastry bag.
When boiling cream it is necessary to use a cream that has a minimum of 25 % milk fat. This requirement ensures that your cream will not curdle as you are cooking up delicious sauces that have acidic and savory ingredients. In this instance, both heavy cream and whipping cream both fit the guidelines, again. However, heavy cream holds the advantage in this cooking method because it needs less time to cook down and thicken to enrich a sauce.
Another difference that many fine chiefs of at home kitchen delights do not typically notice between heavy cream and whipped cream is the calories and the overall price. Most the time, we grab what is most readily available on our grocery store shelves. But consider this the next time you are shopping for heavy cream or whipped cream; heavy cream contains 5 additional calories per tablespoon than its competing whipping cream variety. Heavy cream also runs up your grocery bill an additional 5 to ten cents per pint.
When heavy cream is whipped it is best used in recipes that call for filling or decorating pastries. Whereas whipping cream does not hold its consistency as well has its heavy cream counterpart. Whipping cream can be used as filling but will not hold up to piping procedures and is best used loosely spooned on to deserts as mentioned before.
To review, the main difference between heavy cream and whipping cream is the milk fat content. Heavy cream has 36 % to 40 % milk fat content. Whipping cream has 30 % to 35 % milk fat content. The higher the milk fat content of a cream is the more likely what you make from the cream will be more stable and consistent. As well, higher milk fat content also means an increase in calories and prices at the checkout counter. Higher milk fat content creams will also be more resistant to curdling effects when used to enrich soups or sauces that you are cooking up. Creams of lower milk fat content are best used in beverages and scooping over a desert.
If after reading this article you are still stuck pondering in the dairy aisle of your local grocery store it is most likely that they are out of the specific cream that you are looking for. If this happens to you, or you would simply like to cut some calories from your favorite recipes, here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.
When you cannot find the cream that is specified for a recipe it is always the safest option to purchase a cream with a higher fat content than the one listed. This simply ensures that everything will work out on a molecular level. If this is not an option, or as mentioned before, you just want to cut some of those lingering calories, start by trying a cream with the milk fat content directly below the one called for in your recipe. As you experiment, you can begin to purchase creams that are slowly decreasing in milk fat content until you reach a point in your cooking where you have altered the texture or taste undesirably.
The next time you step into the dairy aisle at your local grocery store searching for heavy cream or whipping cream, you will confidently decipher which is the better choice for your needs.