Can you make your own creme fraiche using powdered buttermilk cultures rather than using buttermilk itself?

  • Posted by: LoraA
  • February 15, 2013


LoraA February 20, 2013
I'm following up on my last entry regarding powdered buttermilk possibilities and the potential use of a 4-watt bulb to keep the creme fraiche starter warm. I ended up testing both at the same time. And, much to my disappointment, both were a flop! So I have answered my own question regarding the use of powdered buttermilk cultures. I really thought it would work. But the resulting product just didn't cut the mustard and was pretty runny. What I have discovered in the meantime, is that I can purchase buttermilk starter from Cultures for Health and make my own buttermilk much in the same way that the creme fraiche itself is made. Creme fraiche is specifically mentioned in the product description. The advantage here is knowing that I can make my own buttermilk and maintain it the same way yogurt culture is maintained. The obvious other advantage is knowing that a never-ending process has no real expiration date!

The first batch of creme fraiche I made from buttermilk was really good, and I ended up making a fresh blueberry crumb cake with it. It really gave the cake a nice aroma and held up so well.
LoraA February 15, 2013
The water bottle idea is interesting. And it reminds me about a conversation I recently had with a friend regarding greenhouses and thermal mass! I'm not quite 12 hours into the creme fraiche being in the oven, and it's already thick enough that it isn't moving along the sides of the mason jar. It should be perfect tomorrow morning when I take it out of the oven and move it to the frig for another 24 hours. So I know the oven technique works. I bet you could plug in a night light with one of those 4-watt bulbs and cover everything with a small plastic storage container and get the same effect on the kitchen counter.
LoraA February 15, 2013
This is going to be an interesting process all the way around. I live at an altitude of 8,000 feet, and baking is a real challenge. I make my own yogurt and have had tremendous success with that. Just wish I could use the yogurt maker for the creme fraiche; but it heats to 110 degrees, which is too high from what I'm reading. I put the Mason jar with the creme fraiche mixture in an unheated stove and turned the light on to get some ambient heat, and I can see the mixture bubbling a little. We've had a pretty cold winter here in CO, so leaving it out in the kitchen just isn't an option. If I get good results with this first batch, I will try the buttermilk powder and see how it goes for the next one.
Sam1148 February 15, 2013
Do you have a red rubber hot water bottle? I make yogurt by filling hot water bottle with very hot water (use silicon gloves). And put that in the microwave (don't turn it on)...the thermal mass keeps the inside microwave oven warm--perfect place for yogurt or Creme Fraiche. Just adjust the water heat--tap water hot should be about right for Creme Frainche.
Sam1148 February 15, 2013
Hang on...I was thinking Ricotta. Haven't tried Creme Fraiche.
Sam1148 February 15, 2013
I tried it---it doesn't work well.
Greenstuff February 15, 2013
According to this post (in the comments), the answer is yes.
LoraA February 15, 2013
I started some this AM with buttermilk, but then got thinking about the powder. I will give a try shortly, and will post the outcome here.
ChefJune February 15, 2013
Good question! I've made Creme Fraiche for years, but never tried that. Are you willing to be the Guinea Pig? If you reconstitute it, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Let us know how it turns out.
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