If You Love Browned Butter, Trying Toasting Cream For Rich Results

Browned butter has been having a moment for quite some time now. Its nutty, sweet taste brings a depth of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. If you love browned butter, you don't need to stop there. Continue to elevate your cooking with another indulgent dairy product: toasted cream.

The science behind toasted cream is the same that creates browned butter: the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction happens when dairy is heated until the milk solids have browned, giving it that well-known color, toffee-like flavor, and mouthwatering aroma. The best part about toasted cream is that it contains more of the proteins necessary for the Maillard reaction than butter, meaning it can become even more rich and complex when undergoing the process. It tends to be fussier than butter, however, so to achieve the ideal result, you will need to take much more care in your technique.

How to toast cream

While butter can be browned quickly by simply heating it in a pan, the cream must be toasted slowly on low heat given its higher water content. The best way to do this is using a kitchen appliance that is able to maintain a controlled heat for an extended amount of time without too much supervision. That being said, your options are to use a pressure cooker or a sous vide. For the gentlest toasting, sous vide the cream at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for a full 24 hours. If you're in a rush, put your cream instead in a pressure cooker to sit at full pressure for two hours. You can further speed up the toasting process by adding a bit of baking soda in a 1-to-4 ratio with the cream since its alkaline properties are known to quicken the Maillard reaction.

Once your cream has been fully toasted, you can treat it just as you would regular cream. Use it as the beginning of a sophisticated ice cream or creme brulee. Complement the dark and earthy flavors in your coffee with a splash of the stuff in your morning cup of joe, or bring a little extra dimension to your oatmeal or pasta bake.