As promised, here’s a how-to for making crème fraîche at home. To stretch my purchase of Cowgirl Creamery crème fraîche, I typically use Straus Family Creamery’s whipping cream because it’s the same milk used for the Cowgirl’s product.
However, brands aren’t essential — you only need to mix together a starter (crème fraîche or buttermilk) and non-ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. The latter can be difficult to track down, but I’ve had great success with the Trader Joe’s store brand (both the organic and conventional versions; please double check the carton, though, what is sold in California may differ from what’s available in your state). Give the mixture about a day to do it’s thing (culture) and, voilà, you have homemade crème fraîche for about a third of the price of the store-bought stuff.
(adapted from multiple sources)
Preparation Time: 1 minute
Inactive Preparation Time: About 12 – 24+ hours
Makes: 1 cup
Stir together ingredients in a 1 cup Mason Jar or bowl. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place for about 12 – 24+ hours. (The process goes a lot more quickly during the summer months; if you keep your place below 70°F in the winter, it will likely take closer to, or more than, 24 hours. I use this as an excuse to throw the heat on or do some baking! Or, less enjoyably, as practice of patience.) The mixture is ready when the top layer separates and the mixture is thickened. Stir to recombine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps for about 10 days or until the expiration date of the heavy cream used, whichever comes first.