Wednesday 24 June 2009

Clotted cream

I play flute with my guitarist friend Alain once a week or so. In real life he is a dairy farmer.

The market arrangements for milk in France are strange. He has a production quota that he is not allowed to exceed (he would get fined), he is only legally allowed to sell his milk production to a distributor, and the price he gets is fixed by the buyer. Alain has not seen an increase in the price he gets for milk in the 20 years he has been farming. If you have seen protests by French dairy farmers on the television, it is because it is being proposed that the price that farmers get be reduced by about 25%.

His quota amounts to the average output of about 24-and-a-half cows, so to make sure he maximises his revenues, he has 25 cows. Every day, he pours away about half a cow's worth of milk in order to avoid the fine. The local cats love it, and because this happens in a small scale at every one of the thousands of small dairy farms in France, there is no "milk lake" for anyone to complain about.

You can't get clotted cream in France, I have no idea why not. But there are plenty of recipies for it on the web, so I thought I'd have a go. Basically you take unpasteurised full cream milk, and leave it to settle so the cream rises to the top. Then you heat it gently for an hour or so over steam to sterilise it, and the cream clots. Then you leave it to cool, and then scrape the clotted cream off the top. Did it work? Don't know yet, but it doesn't look like it made much cream!

The milk heating gently over steam. If it works and I get enough cream, I'll invite Alain over for proper English cream tea :)

Newsflash: Clotted cream production successful! Will have cream tea this Sunday :)

P.S.  I have noticed that this page comes up when people search for sources of clotted cream in France.    I have found that Mascarpone cheese, though different, makes a good substitute, and is widely available in France.


ReedBunting said...

No wonder the French are always striking if they have silly rules like that! And I can't believe they don't have clotted cream, don't they know what they're missing out on?? Fingers crossed that yours turns out well!

Lia said...

Ooooh, clotted cream in France, watch out you don't start a revolution over there, only last time they went around chopping heads off.tee hee!

I do hope it works out for you, you never know you could become the first exporter of clotted cream from french get my orders in now.

Much love Lia xx

ReedBunting said...

Just saw your update - hooray, well done! Sounds like you have a ready-made customer base in your blog readers too!!

Lia said...

Ooooh yummy!

Well done you, I think you really should share with us all, my address is .......oh phooey am not allowed to give it out, oh but wait, we know where you live,lol see you sunday..eek!!!

Am pleased it worked, any chance of you sharing the recipe you used.

Enjoy tea on sunday, but if you hear a big youwho! you will know I have arrived.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Lia, I got the recipe from joy of baking at It's pretty much as I posted on the blog: "Begin by taking unpasteurized cream and letting it stand for about 12 hours (during the winter months) or 6 hours (during the warm summer months). Then to sterilize the cream; place the cream over very low heat (do not boil) until rings form on the surface of the cream. Store in a cold place for at least 12 hours and then skim the thick clotted cream from the surface of the cream. You now have homemade Clotted Cream."

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