Creme Fraiche vs Cream Cheese: What’s The Difference?

creme fraiche vs cream cheese
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creme fraiche vs cream cheese

The tangy, creamy, and soft cheeses might not be a part of your cheese boards, but they are still important ingredients for every refrigerator. These cheeses are extremely versatile. Be it desserts, soups, or sauces, and breakfast spreads, the soft cheeses can add texture to everything. There are different varieties in soft cheese, and we are talking about crème Fraiche vs. cream cheese!

Creme Fraiche vs Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese

If you are a toast lover or cheesecake, you would know the importance (and deliciousness) of cream cheese. Cream cheese is the soft, fresh cheese that is made with a combination of cream and milk. It has a mild taste. If you opt for the commercial cream cheese, it is made by adding carrageenan as stabilizers. Every country has a different variant of cream cheese and comes with different fat contents.

Cream cheese is supposed to be consumed fresh, which is why it is not matured. Cream cheese is often compared with mascarpone and Boursin in terms of taste, production processes, and textures. It is widely used with bread, crackers, and bagels. In addition, it makes a perfect dip for potato chips, and its addition to salad really amps up the flavor.

Cream cheese can be mixed with pepper jelly or yogurt to make a delicious spread. For the most, cream cheese is versatile, which makes it suitable for savory and sweet recipes. It is added to sauces to make them creamy and thick consistency. When making cookies and cakes, cream cheese can substitute butter and vice versa.

When it comes down to the mashed potatoes, cream cheese can be mixed with olive oil or butter. As far as the varieties are concerned, the Philadelphia cream cheese has a higher fat content as compared to the lower fat content in American cream cheese. Cream cheese has mild acidic notes as well, so you have to consider that while adding to the savory dishes.

Cream cheese has a slightly sweet taste along with a mild flavor. All in all, cream cheese goes perfectly with frostings as well as a cake filling. Cream cheese is readily available in supermarkets.

Crème Fraîche

To begin with, this soured cream is a dairy product with a fancy name (yes, the name is French). Crème Fraiche is made with 10% to 45% butterfat, and the pH level ranges up to 4.5. Generally, it gains the soured flavor from bacterial culture. It can be served with baked goods and fruits. Also, it makes a fine addition to sauces and soups.

It is often mixed with sour cream, but crème Fraiche is different. To illustrate, crème Fraiche has a less sour flavor, and the fat content will be higher. It might have thickening agents, but it’s limited to some variants. This is the French version, but it can be found in Central America and Northern Europe. It is used in cold as well as hot French recipes.

Crème Fraiche can be used to top the savory and hot sauces. The versatility of crème Fraiche means that it can be added to dessert sauces or dessert recipes. It is made by adding the starter culture into the heavy cream. Once the starter culture is added, it thickens at a specific temperature. It can be used for substituting buttermilk.

When it comes down to the European variants, the fat content is usually regulated. This means that crème Fraiche might not have additional ingredients (yes, it will only have starter culture and cream). On the other hand, the UK and North American variants tend to have 115% butterfat content. The latter version of crème fraiche will have xanthan gum and stabilizers.

When heated, crème Fraiche is likely to make the texture unstable. Crème Fraiche is made by a similar production process of mascarpone. Crème Fraiche has an acidic tang flavor (it’s sharp). This flavor makes it suitable for savory recipes. Also, the crème Fraiche with higher fat content will make sure it doesn’t curdle upon cooking. For this reason, it makes a suitable addition to soups and sauces.

The Bottom Line

Be it cream cheese or crème Fraiche, both of them are suitable for sweet as well as savory recipes. However, there are differences in the fat content and flavor, so you can choose what suits you the best!

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