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Old 01-11-2010, 10:19 PM   #1
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Heavy Cream: HELP!

Hello. I'm a 24-year-old short-order cook, who will be attending culinary school this summer. I absolutely love cooking. It is a passion of mine. And what's more - I'm good at it. Real good. And the reason for this is because I never let someone try a recipe of mine until I have cooked it, tried it, and recreated it at least two or three times. LOL. But one recipe in particular I am working on, and one that I think is exceptionally good, is my Potato & Prosciutto Soup recipe.

But I'm having problems. I boiled the vegetables, prosciutto, and spices in a good stock, making sure the potatoes were just the right texture. Once done, I added the heavy cream and waited until it was hot, then tried the soup. It was exceptional. So I thought I'd let it cook a bit longer, in order to keep it warm for my wife. But when I tasted it again, it had a slight tang of an aftertaste, which isn't disgusting or bad, but a bit annoying. It did not have that tang when I tried it the first time, so I'm thinking I overcooked the heavy cream.

Is that possible? Are you not supposed to boil heavy cream? I have Googled it, and some say you can, and other's say not to. I'm just really annoyed that my soup tasted great, then, after cooking for awhile longer, changed in flavor. And I know it was the heavy cream that did it, because I made a mushroom sauce for chicken this evening, and it was great, until I let it cook a bit longer, then the tang aftertaste, which is starting to haunt me, showed its crude face again.

Please help! Am I cooking the heavy cream too much?

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Old 01-11-2010, 10:34 PM   #2
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Cream breaks (separates) when brought to a boil. My experience with adding it to chowders and sauces, is to add it as the last ingredient, and to not heat it to a boil, but only a small simmer for a very short time - just to heat it through.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:40 PM   #3
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You shouldn't have a problem with heavy cream's breaking by boiling. That's how you make cream sauces. Boiling to reduce the volume and thicken the sauce.

I have never experienced a change in flavor from cooking cream soups or sauces. Depending on the other vegetables in the soup, one of them may be the issue.

Try bringing some cream to a boil on its own and test to see if there is a change in the flavor.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:10 PM   #4
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Try a heat difuser ar double boiler.You can heat it to a boil without the scorching effects.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:32 PM   #5
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are sure nothing caught(AKA burned) on the bottem of the pot?
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:53 AM   #6
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are sure nothing caught(AKA burned) on the bottem of the pot?
There was some brown residue on the bottom of the pot when I transferred the leftovers to a refrigerator dish. I think I may try boiling the heavy cream by itself, like a member suggested, and see what happens.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:54 AM   #7
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Try a heat difuser ar double boiler.You can heat it to a boil without the scorching effects.
That's a good idea, too.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:04 PM   #8
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Hello. I'm a 24-year-old short-order cook, who will be attending culinary school this summer. I absolutely love cooking. It is a passion of mine. And what's more - I'm good at it. Real good. And the reason for this is because I never let someone try a recipe of mine until I have cooked it, tried it, and recreated it at least two or three times. LOL. But one recipe in particular I am working on, and one that I think is exceptionally good, is my Potato & Prosciutto Soup recipe.

But I'm having problems. I boiled the vegetables, prosciutto, and spices in a good stock, making sure the potatoes were just the right texture. Once done, I added the heavy cream and waited until it was hot, then tried the soup. It was exceptional. So I thought I'd let it cook a bit longer, in order to keep it warm for my wife. But when I tasted it again, it had a slight tang of an aftertaste, which isn't disgusting or bad, but a bit annoying. It did not have that tang when I tried it the first time, so I'm thinking I overcooked the heavy cream.

Is that possible? Are you not supposed to boil heavy cream? I have Googled it, and some say you can, and other's say not to. I'm just really annoyed that my soup tasted great, then, after cooking for awhile longer, changed in flavor. And I know it was the heavy cream that did it, because I made a mushroom sauce for chicken this evening, and it was great, until I let it cook a bit longer, then the tang aftertaste, which is starting to haunt me, showed its crude face again.

Please help! Am I cooking the heavy cream too much?
You broke the cream...slow simmer
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:37 AM   #9
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Dear Reduction 13,

I did my training in a French Restaurant. French food uses no milk only heavy creams. Heavy creams are very temperamental when combined with heat. I would never boil creams. In your case with your recipe you could divide it up in smaller quantities after cooking the basic recipe. Add the cream last as you need it. Heat only to hot. You most probably soured your cream.

Hope this helps and Good Luck in School!
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #10
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Cream breaks then use double boilers or heat diffusers, for sure this will be effective
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:59 PM   #11
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I agree. Cream should be added at the end to enrich the dish, not cooked into the dish over time.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:21 PM   #12
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...Heavy creams are very temperamental when combined with heat. I would never boil creams...

How do you make Alfredo sauce without cooking the cream?

For that matter, how do you reduce any cream based sauce if you don't subject it to heat?
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:05 AM   #13
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I make heavy cream sauces with some regularity. I start by heating the cream, then add other ingredients. I have never had a problem with cream developing and off taste, or breaking. I would suspect the brown residue on the bottom. I stir well and often, and use a very heavy copper pan, which would act as a diffuser. I would be curious as to how you would add the cream last to a sauce. Say a sauce using cream, reggiano cheese, herbs, mushrooms.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:09 PM   #14
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It is interesting to see polar opposite opinions about whether it is ok to boil cream or not. I've worked in French restaurants and I've boiled cream literally dozens of times. you have to watch it though because it boils over easily, but it absolutely does not "sour" or "break" or anything else.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:25 PM   #15
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The only time I've had something "break" is adding cream to a broth or other liquid.

Cream sauce shouldn't break.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:25 PM   #16
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I know my culinary skills are not up to par with most of the DC members here but what about substituting light cream or half-n-half?

I never use heavy cream unless I think a recipe just wouldn't survive without it...and in those cases I usually opt not to make it at all. I know it loses it's richness a bit but I even use skim milk in some recipes and can get away with little change (i hear some shuddering out there lol). It's easier on the waistline too.

With that being said, I serve cold sliced cucumbers in unwhipped whipping cream with vinegar and sweetener...fattening but just can't alter this old family heirloom side dish. Some sins we just have to embrace .


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Old 09-25-2010, 11:34 PM   #17
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It's easier on the waistline too..
What's a waistline?

I do the same Mollyanne, with the exception of skim milk, the thinnest milk here is 2%.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:30 PM   #18
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Cream consists of milkfat and some milk solids. The milkfat is a fat, not a protien. None the less, cream contains cassein, a protien found in milk. This can cause the cream to break if heated too much, or combined with an acidic ingredient. But just as milk can be combined with acidic cheese, and heated and stirred to form a homogeneous sauce, without breaking, so to can the heavy cream. Heating it won't cause it to sour. But it can cause it to break if not done properly. Just as in milk, the protiens found in cream will clump together (break). Please see the link: Cooking Tips: Cream

As for your your dish developing an off taste, there are sugars in cream as well. The sugars and protiens can and will stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch. This will give you an off flavor. Gently heating you dish will make it pleasantly hot to eat, without ruining the flavor.

My recommendation, the microwave is your freind. If you don't want to use a microwave, then heat over low heat, stirring frequently, or heat in a double boiler, as was suggested previously in this thread.

Also remember that herbs and spices will continue to give out their flavors as time continues. The flavors also become better dispersed within the dish. This could also be a factor in the final flavor of you dish.

Hope these ideas help.

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Old 09-26-2010, 08:10 PM   #19
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For cream based sauces it is best to use a heavy bottom saucepan to avoid scorching, (this will cause an off flavor) and after it comes to boil, simmer it just enough until you achieve the consistency you want otherwise your cream will disappear very fast.
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