In our slow cooking community we see members posting their concern over split cream in their slow cooked dishes.
What is splitting?
A lot of people will refer to dairy products that have split as being curdled. If you milk/cream etc ‘curdles’ during storage that’s a problem and you should throw it out, don’t use it.
However if it separates during cooking it’s more likely to be split and that is really only a change of appearance and texture. It’s still perfectly fine to eat 🙂
Why does it occur?
Sauces made with milk/cream can split for several reasons…
– low fat content: dairy products with higher fat content are less likely to split
– high heat: exposing dairy products to high heat, eg close to boiling, increases likelyhood of splitting
– high acidity: adding dairy products to recipes with higher acidic content can also cause this splitting to occur
How can I prevent it?
– Choose higher fat versions of your cream/milk etc rather than the low fat varieties
– If possible add the cream/milk at the end of your cooking time rather than the beginning. You can even take it off the heat
before you add.
– When adding cream early try whisking a tsp or so or cornflour into the cream first before adding it to your dish
– Choose ‘cooking cream’ or ‘Creme fraiche’ or double cream which are less likely to split.
(In Australia I use Bulla brand COOKING cream. UK members report the crème fraiche is a similar product for them)
– Allowing dairy products to reduce slightly in temperature before adding them, eg not straight from the fridge, can also help
– Adding cream to a water based recipe can cause this splitting due to the combination of cream (oil) and stock (water). Stirring regularly helps to avoid this.
What do I do once it’s happened?
Remember … it’s ok to eat. While a dish with split cream may not look as nice it’s certainly NOT a reason to throw it out!
Sometimes, if the nature of the dish allows it, you could try giving it a really good stir/mix 🙂
You could also stir through a little cornflour/water slurry.
Don’t be discouraged! Next time just try the preventative measures and if all else fails … eat this one with your eyes shut and you’ll never know the difference *wink*