Recipe: DIY Crème Fraîche

With its signature tangy bite and milky richness, crème fraîche brightens many of our favorite dishes. It has a custard consistency that exists somewhere between heavy cream and sour cream, and we love adding a dollop alongside tacos and even a fresh bowl of berries.

Sure, you can buy it in the store, but where's the fun in that?! Especially when it's just as easy--and most certainly cheaper--to make it at home.

DIY Crème Fraîche

2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons buttermilk

Stir the buttermilk into heavy cream in a non-reactive container (like glass or stainless steel) that has a lid. Personally, we like a leftover quart canning jar!

Leave the container partially covered, and let it sit at room temperature until it's as thick as you like it--about 8 - 24 hours.

Stir the contents and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

How does this work? Bacteria in the milk convert sugars (lactose) into lactic acid. The acid lowers the pH of the liquid and prevents the formation of any illness-causing microbes. At the same time, the liquid thickens and develops the pleasant tart flavor we love. Cooks love chemistry!

Has anyone experimented with substitutions like yogurt instead of buttermilk or using a lower-fat milk?

(Image Credit: Cooking Light)