In all the recipes I see for making creme fraiche, the ingredient amounts--though all over the place--are something like 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to 1 cup of cream and many variations thereof. However, in 'Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques', they show 2 cups of buttermilk to 1 cup of cream.

I can't find any errata online so I'm wondering if there is a reason for that. Is this a French thing or possibly an uncaught typo (though the book is several years old)?


A quick search of the internets confirms your basic recipe of 2 tbs buttermilk to a cup of cream. This is likely a modern formula. Keep in mind that today's cultured buttermilk is not the same product as buttermilk (the liquid left over from churning butter...which could then be left to ferment) or "soured cream" (fermented cream) of years past. In fact, I did find this Julia Child recipe that more closely aligns with the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu, which you reference. Julia calls for 1 cup of "soured cream" to 2 cups of heavy cream. So, I don't think your reference has a typo. I think it is from a time when we didn't use modern "cultured buttermilk." The bottom line is that you need some type of starter to get a lactic fermentation going. While it might sound like too much liquid, remember that the fermentation process would thicken things up. I would say that you could probably reproduce the traditional recipe, but it's probably more convenient (and would likely result is a very similar product) to use the smaller amount of commonly available cultured buttermilk that can be found in many markets.

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  • My copy of "Mastering", 2015 print, shows almost the same recipe but 1tsp of commercial buttermilk to 1 cup of cream. There is commentary about soured cream, butterfat content and natural fermentation in "French cream". Since the recipe has changed over the years so I think you are on target with your answer. – Rob May 25 '19 at 0:59
  • In short, this is my question that was sneered at because I used 'substitute' . Pretty stupid imho to think that a culture would be started with twice the amount of liquid culture medium as what you're trying to culture, and no way would the texture work out – user57361 May 28 '19 at 17:40

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