Yes, I’m about to prepare a very simple recipe called When Cream Will Whip Well that is in the Creams section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898). It doesn’t have a contributor so that makes it easy since I don’t have to do any research. My excuse is simple. I’m tired after a busy day at work and home. But I also think that this recipe explains some aspects of dairying that could be useful or at the very least interesting. The recipe describes both the purchase of cream and the homemaker who has her own cow. Best of all it describes the types of cream available including how long the milk must sit to obtain the different types of cream.
When I was a child my mother’s sister moved with her family from a small house in a nearby city to a huge farmhouse on a farm several hours further north. It was exciting to stay with my cousins especially when they would hitch up their pony to an old carriage and we’d race around the fields wondering if we were going to bounce right out of the seat and onto the ground. I also enjoyed watching my aunt hand milk the Jersey cow they kept in the old barn. I felt the milk was far too creamy to drink but it was amazing to watch the rich cream skimmed from the milk become butter in an old glass butter churn. The best thing of all was eating the delicious homemade ice cream made from the Jersey cow’s milk.
I have a carton of whipping cream in the fridge so it is cold but is it really the right type to whip according to this recipe? Well, it does pour so it isn’t too thick. The carton says it is 35 % BF/MF (butter fat/milk fat). Even today we can buy several different types of cream. There’s table cream at 18% BF and half and half 10 %BF (or as one of my friends calls it “moitie moitie” since that’s what the carton says in French). Here’s a link to more about Canadian cream that includes equivalent terms used in the United States, Britain, and Australia.
I’m not going to dilute my cream by half as I just don’t think it would whip but I thought I’d try adding 1/4 cup of milk to 1 cup of cream to see what would happen. I have both a whisk and a “patent egg beater”. One of the big names in rotary egg beaters was Dover. Sometimes people used this brand name as the generic name for egg beaters much as we might talk about Cuisinart or Kleenex. Today there are only a couple of variations of these hand egg beaters but there used to be many different types including some that fit into an attached bowl. For more about the history of egg beaters check out this link.
One of the surprise discoveries while researching this blog is the variety of products available to consumers in 1898. The Canadian Grocer magazine has advertisements for all sorts of brand name foods, some are still available. Do you have a can of condensed milk or evaporated milk in your cupboard? People in 1898 could have these canned goods too.
Although my cream and milk combination started to thicken a bit it never became stiff or even had soft peaks. Sometimes I don’t beat my cream enough since I’m concerned about over-whipping. However, with the addition of milk I wasn’t worried about over beating and turning my cream into butter. I might try adding just a touch of milk next time I whip cream.
WHEN CREAM WILL WHIP WELL
A cream so thick that it will hardly pour should be diluted with the same volume of milk; this will give good whipping cream. Such cream as is sold at the creamery as “heavy” cream will admit of this amount of milk. The thin cream, as a rule, has not body enough for whipping. If one have her own cream, particularly if from a Jersey cow, it will be apt to be too solid and must be strained after being thinned. The cream should be very cold. Put it in a large bowl, which place in a pan and surround with ice water. It can be whipped with a whisk, or with any of the patent egg-beaters. Single cream is cream that has stood on the milk twelve hours. It is best for tea and coffee. Double cream stands on the milk twenty-four hours, and cream for butter frequently stands forty-eight hours. Cream that is to be whipped should not be butter cream, lest in whipping it change to butter.