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Q From Orna Alshech: Very often in English recipes I come across the terms single cream and double cream. What I find here in Israel is whipping cream and sour cream. Can you please help in explaining what are these two kinds of creams?

A In Britain, single cream is cream with a fairly low fat content that will not whip. Double cream is a type which has a higher fat content that will whip, but it is a little thicker than our whipping cream (which you can make from double cream by adding a little milk); whipped cream is cream which has been so whipped. (In North America, I believe, the equivalent types are thin cream and thick cream, also known as light cream and heavy cream.) Not to mention clotted cream, which is made from full-cream milk by scalding it, that is, by bringing it slowly almost to the boil and skimming off the clots of thick cream that appear on the surface. Sour cream is different from any of these, being cream which has been made sour with lactic acid.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 17 Oct. 1998
Last updated: 19 Oct. 1998

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-cre1.htm
Last modified: 19 October 1998.