What are the effects of various dairy ingredients in quiche?

Leaving aside the fact that a dish using cheese is not, technically, "quiche", I've looked into 5 different websites and cookbooks or so and there seems to be no agreement on the dairy ingredient. Some say cheese, others cream cheese, still others heavy cream or combination cream and milk. Surely there's some physics and/or chemistry to be done here? What would the effects be of the various fillings?

I'm using a toaster oven, if that helps.

  • 1
    Dairy adds creaminess tot he quiche, otherwise, it's just an omelette in crust
    – Max
    Jul 11 at 9:42

Quiche, at base, is a custard. And a custard, at base, is a water-based mixture thickened with egg yolk. Milk and cream are the traditional liquids. You could make a custard with just water and yolk, but you'd have a hell of a time keeping it from curdling. The proteins and especially the fat in milk and cream stabilize the custard, as well as adding taste and texture. The higher the amount of fat, the more unctuous and creamy the custard will be; a high level of fat also retards curdling when the custard is overcooked. A custard with more yolk per amount of water will, of course, be thicker.

Cheese is often included as well, though I don't recall seeing a recipe which called for cheese and no milk or cream. Cheese adds, well, cheese flavor. It is lower in moisture than milk or cream.

  • So, you don't think the density of cheese or cream cheese makes any difference? Jul 11 at 20:18
  • The density (mass per unit volume) of ingredients wouldn’t be directly relevant, no.
    – Sneftel
    Jul 11 at 20:21

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