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Crème Fraîche

1 cup whipping cream
1 tbs buttermilk
In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring cream up to 105F (you’ll need a thermometer for this). Remove from heat and add buttermilk. Stir. Transfer to a bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place. Stir and taste every 8 hours. Crème fraîche is ready after 24-36 hours, when it is thickened but of pouring consistency, with a tangy, slightly nutty taste.
Note: When we made this, we cultured our cream by leaving it in our built-in microwave with the work light on, which seems to keep it at the exact temperature of a laboratory incubator (also, as it turns out, it’s a good proofing oven for bread dough).
Refrigerated, your crème fraîche should last up to a couple of weeks.
Now for clarified butter, for which the only ingredient you’ll need is butter.
Simply melt in a small saucepan over low heat until three layers form. See all those foamy bits floating on top? Those are whey solids. Skim them off with a spoon. On the bottom are milk solids. Leave them there while gently pouring or ladling off the rich yellow fat, and voila! Clarified butter. It’s used in the potted salmon recipe to seal the tops of the pots, preserving for up to a week the rich, slightly pricey salmon spread below.
If you cook with butter, there are two more reasons to clarify. Clarified butter has a longer shelf life (several months refrigerated) and is used in place of whole butter because those milk solids are what tend to burn at even medium cooking temperatures. While it lacks some of the rich taste of whole butter, keeping a small jar of it on hand makes it easy to dip into whenever you need a little grease for your pan.
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