In natural, unhomogenized milk, cream is the fat-rich layer that rises to the top. However, most of the cream commercially available today is separated from the milk by centrifugal force.
There are many varieties of cream, all of which are categorized according to the percent of milk fat in the mixture.
- Light cream (also known as coffee or table cream) can contain anywhere from 18 to 30 percent fat.
- Light whipping cream contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes stabilizers and emulsifiers.
- Heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) is whipping cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped. Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to 12 percent milk fat.
- Whipped cream – contained in cans under pressure – is a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers and gas, such as nitrous oxide. Try “Back to Nature” whipped cream.