How To: Whip Cream

I realize that I use whipped cream sort of a lot. And you know, sometimes I forget that not everyone knows how to whip it. Whip it good (sorry, couldn’t resist). I am a huge proponent of whipping cream by hand — it’s like my party trick. Call me old-fashioned but I think there is merit to knowing how to whip cream by hand. Furthermore, one of my chef-instructors in pastry school told me that when you whip cream by hand, you actually whip the little proteins in the cream into abstract formations and make a better end product then when you use a machine — he was probably telling me a little nonsense but let’s just go with it, shall we? Before you begin, there are three main ingredients in whipped cream: heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.

I usually whip cream in a stainless steel bowl because cold cream whips up best and stainless steel keeps cream cold as you whip. The other essential tool that every cream whipper must have is a big balloon whisk. Balloon whisks help to incorporate lots and lots of air into the heavy cream as you are whipping which is exactly what you want.

I find it’s easiest to whip cream by holding the bowl with one hand and letting the cream collect on the other side. This way the cream is concentrated in one place and doesn’t have to be chased all around the bowl. After about 30 seconds of whipping, your cream will have developed thick bubbles that almost look a little like foam.

Continue whipping your cream until it starts to thicken. You will be able to feel and to see your cream start to bulk up. This can take 30 seconds to minutes depending on your cream whipping muscles.

When you get to the stage of whipping where the cream just starts to hold its shape, this is the soft peakstage. At this point, you can add your sugar and vanilla (or any other flavoring that you might like — liqour, honey, maple syrup, or no flavoring at all). Additionally, if you are making cream to serve a little later, be advised that you probably shouldn’t whip cream too much before hand. Take it as far as soft  peaks and then let it rest in the fridge until you are ready to serve and then finish whipping.

To get to stiff peaks stage it really doesn’t take too much more muscle. Really whisk another 30 seconds to one minute and you should be there.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream will make 2 cups whipped cream — heavy cream always doubles in volume

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

In a stainless steel bowl, begin whipping cream with a large balloon whisk. Whip cream till soft peaks form, add flavorings and continue whipping till soft peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip or cream will become chunky and start to separate.

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