How to Choose the Right Dairy for the Job

Holiday How To — Day 16 — Each day leading up to Christmas I’ll post a bit of holiday know-how that will help make your season a little easier.

Earlier this week I posted instructions on how to whip your own cream, noting that nonfat/nondairy/skim milk/cream/half & half won’t work. It occurred to me that an explanation of why those products won’t work is in order. So here’s a quick Dairy 101 to help you choose the right dairy for the job.

Cream is the thick, creamy fat (sorry, there’s no other word for it) that rises to the top of milk. The different types of cream are classified by the amount of fat they contain.

Heavy Whipping Cream (also known as Heavy Cream) contains no less than 36% fat, while Whipping Cream is made up of at least 30% fat. The extra fat will give your whipped cream its full, fluffy texture.

Half and Half is a mix of equal parts whole milk and cream. It contains at least between 10-18% fat. It’s most often used in beverages and does not have enough fat content to whip.

Table Cream (also known as Light Cream) is usually reserved for baked goods, soups or coffee. It’s fat content ranges between 18-30%.

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