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I can find whipping cream, half and half, and even clotted cream where I'm staying in the US but not double or single cream, are these familiar terms or is there a US equivalent term?

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Whoever answers this should update this wiki as well: – hobodave Sep 11 '10 at 22:18
up vote 7 down vote accepted

In the UK, single cream is a milk product with at least 18% butterfat. Double cream has 48% butterfat. Neither are common in the US.

If you can find clotted cream, which is 55% fat, then there is a chance of making double cream at home by diluting it. As some clotted creams have a cooked taste, there may be other solutions.

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Was 5% fat for single cream a typo? Other answers I've found have said 18%. 5% isn't much more than whole milk, which is 4% fat. – Jimothy Nov 15 '15 at 16:27
@Jimothy is right. I fixed the answer (source There is a cereal milk that runs at 5%, a tad creamier than US whole milk. – papin Nov 16 '15 at 3:08

In Canada, we have

  • Half and Half (10%)
  • Table Cream (18%)
  • Whipping Cream (35%)

There's also a "Light" cream at about 6%, but that's a newer product.

So I've always taken Half and Half to be "Half cream", Table to be single (roughly 2 x 10%) and Whipping to be double (roughly 2 x 18%)

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Here's a link to the US specifications: 21 CFR PART 131—MILK AND CREAM

From there:

  • Light Cream (18% or more fat)
  • Heavy Cream (36% or more)
  • Dry Cream (I've never heard of it, 40% or more)

From the percentages provided by Papin's answer, it looks like:

  • U.S. Light Cream is likely Single Cream equivalent
  • Some U.S. Heavy Creams may be close to Double Cream
  • U.S. Dry Cream, if you can find it, is something to consider

Update, I also learned:

  • Looking at fat content alone is not enough to compare US v. UK creams. Pasteurization practices are also a large factor. Apparently most (or all?) U.S. heavy cream is processed using Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT), and UHT reportedly yields less flavorful heavy cream than UK double cream.

  • I read Double Cream, when used as a whipping cream, can be problematic. Apparently, it's higher fat content makes it prone to over-whipping if you don't pay close attention.

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It's not exactly a direct answer, but in terms of practicalities, I tend to use Darigold Classic 36% Heavy Whipping Cream as a substitute for double cream in recipes. and I've had a lot of success, where the cream was intended for richness as opposed to thickness.

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