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A thick coating appears on the surface of milk while it cools after being heated. This layer of fat and proteins are then skimmed off. This process is repeated twice over to get a yellow tinted substance that is rich in butterfat and fondly called cream.
This velvety smooth dairy product adds depth and volume to curries and gravies elevating taste and texture. In the olden days the regular skimming of unhomogenized milk took place after 12 hours of allowing the milk to settle in shallow pans. The even richer heavy cream skimmed off later, after 24 hours is called double cream. Buffalo milk cream is often preferred as it is richer in fat content and taste. Homemade cream is often collected in a vessel and refrigerated for a week
• Cream is used as an ingredient in many foods, including ice cream, many sauces, soups, and some custard bases, and also in baking.
• Cream is usually added to coffee, lassi and milkshakes.
• Fruits can be chopped and added to cream. A chilled cup of Strawberry with cream tastes heavenly.
• It adds rich flavour to vegetables like methi matar malai, for example.
• Cream is the major ingredient in sweet dishes like malai pedha, ras malai and malai kulfi.
• Buttermilk refers to the slightly sour whitish liquid obtained after churning cream to make ghee. This can be turned sour and used for various preparations or added to knead dough or drank as it is.
How to Store
• Store cream in refrigerator shelves rather than on the door.
• Freezing cream is not recommended because it affects the quality of the product.
• In most cases, freezing causes changes to the fat, which can lead to poor texture. Always store it covered with a lid as dairy products have a tendency to quickly absorb odours of other food.
• The inclusion of cream in the diet of people who want to gain weight is deemed favourable.
• Cream in moderate amounts is good for health but in excess can cause obesity and other health problems.