Substitution: UHT for cream

I've just relocated to Bali and have not been able to source any cream or half and half. The only thing that I have found is various varieties of UHT cream. I've tried to use this before when making panna cotta, however was not really happy with the results. Any advice would be very much appreciated!



ccolbert March 16, 2011
Innoabrd ... Thank you EVER SO MUCH for this news! I'll definitely do as suggested and if you do manage to get the name of her supplier, I will be forever in your (and her) debt!
innoabrd March 16, 2011
checked with a friend who owns a property in Bali. She tells me fresh dairy products, including cream, are available from a few suppliers. To find a supplier, ask around at the hotels. Will try to get you the name of her supplier, but might take a bit as she has to ask their manager there.
ccolbert March 14, 2011
Betteirene ... Perhaps we can exchange travel stories from the field. I've got a few of my own to share. :-) But, really? 15% of the world's diary is produced from water buffalo? Who knew? I happen to be overly fond of water buffalo milk/yogurt, etc. This comes from years as a deep field humanitarian worker in Burma. I found a farmer who used to send his son to my house three times a week with not so clean used water bottles filled with rich, creamy buffalo milk. The yogurt I would make from this was fantastic. Also, just in case your travels take you to Bhutan or Tibet, yak milk is also very rich and equally delicious.

Innoabrd: Thank you for your comments as well and for the clarification re UHT being yogurt friendly. This is true, but I always had to mix my schlepped-in UHT cream with a larger amount of buffalo milk when in the field ... and my carry over starter yogurt. While UHT will 'do' if nothing else is available ... I've never really gotten used to the taste. Having just retired from 'disaster tours' and having had the opportunity to cook with real cream while in the US, it's hard to go back and it's both a texture and flavour issue.

I can see I need to make friends with some local farmers. Oddly enough ... and considering how endemic water buffaloes are in most parts of Asia ... I haven't seen that many of them in Bali!
innoabrd March 14, 2011
Buffalo milk is great. In Delhi most of the milk you buy is a mixture of buffalo and cow. Buffalo milk has a much higher fat content, so the skim milk there had 1.5% fat, 'half-cream" had 3% (about what most US whole milk is) and "full-cream" had 6%. And the ice cream...well, you could just feel the fat coating your lips!

UHT is OK when you get used to it. Not ideal, but it works. ccolbert's Google article is not totally accurate, I used to use it to make yogurt all the time when I was in the Peace Corps. I lived a long way from a tarred road and all we could get was UHT milk. As long as you can get a decent starter yogurt to make that first batch (we'd carry it in from town), you're good to go. I've used the cream in cooking, but I'm not a panna cotta fan, so have never tried it in that. Was it a flavour issue, or a texture issue?
betteirene March 14, 2011
I tell so many of these uphill-both-ways-barefoot-in-the-snow back in the day stories, I feel like everyone's crabby grandma, but I don't care: I'm gonna tell another one anyway.

You think you got it bad? Ha! I spent a lot of my childhood in the Philippines, Japan, Okinawa and other parts of the Pacific, when the only way to get there was by planes with propellers. Because it took days for a gallon of milk to cross the Pacific, we had only powdered dry milk and Pet or Carnation evaporated canned milk to dunk our Oreos into. And we liked it! (Not.) Actually, to this day I prefer potato soup made with evaporated milk, and I like it in meatloaf and pancake batter. It also adds a roundhouse punch of dairy to hot coffee, unmatched by real, heavy cream. But powdered milk? Blechhh.

For whipped cream, we made a kind of homemade Cool Whip out of a white roux whipped into shortening and sugar.

Cheese? That was Velveeta, which doesn't need to be refrigerated until the package has been opened.

I wish I knew then what I know now: 15% of the world's dairy is produced by water buffalo. What you need to do is to find someone who owns a few female water buffalo, which are not related to the American Buffalo (bison). It's not easy to get cream from the milk of a water buffalo (it doesn't rise to the top as readily as it does in milk from cows), but you'll have no problem obtaining unpasteurized milk and half-and-half to make some lovely, lovely yogurt and fresh cheeses.
ccolbert March 14, 2011
Thank you all once again! I'm going to try it one more time and tweat it along the way Now the question is: will it be with Merrill's Banana Pudding (that looks ever so yummy) or a Coconut Lime Panna Cotta! :-)
mrslarkin March 13, 2011
I've only noticed a difference when making mascarpone. Other than that, it whips just fine, and I've had no trouble using it in puddings. I use it straight in my coffee too. I've never really noticed any aftertaste, though. Maybe I should do a side by side comparison. ;)
ccolbert March 13, 2011
Thank you both so much for your feedback!
ccolbert March 13, 2011
Credit for this goes to the great god 'Google':

"Pasteurized milk uses fresh milk as its raw material and sterilizes bacilli by heating the milk at a temperature lower than the boiling point of milk (65-72 centigrade). In this way, harmful bacilli in the milk are sterilized while the microorganism that is good for our body is reserved, thus helping to keep the nutrition and pure taste of the milk to the largest extent. Normally pasteurized milk needs cold storage and its shelf life is usually around 1-7 days.

UHT (ultra-heat treated) is to kill all the microorganism in the milk at a temperature as high as 135 to 152 centigrade in order to give the milk a longer shelf life. But the nutritious components in the milk are ruined at that high temperature, which will also affect lactose. UHT milk is not suitable for making cheese or yogurt because any beneficial micro-organisms are killed in this pasteurization process."

There is also an after-taste with the UHT treated milk products that is not so wonderful. :-(

Bali is my idea of an island paradise ... the only drawback so far has been the lack of fresh cream and half and half! Is it true what they say about you can't have everything?

Burnt O. March 13, 2011
I get it now. The UHT process is much hotter and shorter than the pasteurizing process used in the States to give the milk a much longer shelf life (like Parmalat). Mslarkin may be right, you may have to reduce the cream in order to get it to thicken or use it for whipping. You might try adding some cream of tartar to help stabilize it as well.
mrslarkin March 13, 2011
I find when I use UHT cream to make mascarpone, I need to boil the cream a little longer to get it to thicken. Maybe that's what you need to do with the panna cotta too?

Wow, Bali! It must be so beautiful there!
Burnt O. March 13, 2011
I think that simply means it's been pasteurized. Are there different varieties (heavy, light, whipping...) or are they different brands? If it's just pasteurized cream - you should be fine.
ccolbert March 13, 2011
UHT = Ultra High Temperature processing.
Burnt O. March 13, 2011
What's UHT cream?
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