Can you boil cream? (3 Reasons you can)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you boil cream? We will discuss some instances where you need to boil cream and discuss the elaborative steps to help you to boil cream properly. We will discuss the benefit of boiling cream over milk.

Can you boil cream?

You can boil cream. When you make a chocolate sauce, the recipe asks you to boil the cream. Consequently, Cream holds one benefit over milk is its inability to curdle when subjected to high heat. Whipping cream has 30 percent fat while heavy cream has 36 percent fat. 

The dairy cream is made of milk, by getting rid of the higher fat layer at the top of milk. 

How to boil cream?

Follow the steps below to boil cream correctly and maintain its optimum quality:

Take a thick, heavy pan that has room for three times the amount of cream that you want to use. Add the cream to the pot that is three times the volume of the cream. 

Let the cream boil on medium-low to medium flame with the pan uncovered. If you want to lightly boil the cream, then use a medium-low flame. However, if you plan on bringing the cream to a rolling boil, then you could turn up the heat to a larger flame.

Stir the cream every two minutes lightly and intermittently. You could use a whisk or a wooden spoon to stir. Stirring is important to avoid letting the cream break. 

Bring the pan off of the flame, if you just want to heat the cream. To reduce the cream, let it boil further making sure not to lose a lot of water. If you simmer for a long time, the cream becomes too viscous to handle. Hence, aim to reduce the cream to no more than 50 percent.

Can cream curdle when you boil?

The cream is stable owing to the fat present. On the other hand, milk, especially if it is low fat, is susceptible to curdling. Curdling happens when either high heat or an acidic environment is provided. 

Curdling is a result of a change in the structure of the protein molecules. On curdling the liquid whey separates from the fat molecules. While fat is in a significantly low quantity in every type of cream, it hinders the curdling process. Proteins are susceptible to structural change; which cream lacks thereof.  

The fat content is variable depending on the kind of cream that we use. The higher the fat content, the lesser the cream would be susceptible to curdling.

Let us discuss some frequently used creams and their respective fat content:

If you use whipping cream, it is best not to subject it to boiling temperature for long. Whipping cream comes with only 30 percent fat, hence it is not as stable as other kinds of cream.

  1. Light cream has even less fat than whipping cream, i.e, 15 percent. Light cream must be prevented from a high temperature or boiling temperature to avoid breaking or curdling. 
  1. Heavy cream has a generous amount of fat that ranges from 30 to 40 percent. Heavy cream is useful for liquefying sauce and desserts like custard and creme Anglaise alike and can change to a lighter consistency. Moreover, the fat content allows the cream to be cooked without fear of breaking or curdling.
  1. The highest amount of fat comes in the cream called clotted cream. The 55 percent Milk-fat in this type of cream is produced by cooking heavy cream for hours. On boiling, the milk fat rises and clots, giving a luscious and thick texture. 

What happens if you overcook cream?

If you cook or boil the cream for too long, it will change the structure of milk proteins. The time it takes to break the structure of cream, depends on the fat content. When the heat interferes with the structure of the cream, you will observe that the cream starts to separate. 

Some additional pieces of advice to let you boil your cream successfully:

When you are cooking with low-fat cream, try to add cream as the last ingredient to minimize exposure to heat. 

Remember not to cover the pan with a lid as the condensates would fall back into the cream. The steam needs to escape to allow the cream to lose moisture. 

We advise you to use a pan with a thick bottom to allow the heat to distribute. Also, ceramic pans work better than aluminum. Close contact with heat causes the cream to burn.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you boil cream? We discussed some instances, where you need to boil cream and discuss the elaborative steps to help you to boil cream. We also discussed the benefit of boiling cream over milk.

Other FAQs about Cream that you may be interested in.

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