Sour cream, cream cheese: just the cold facts, ma'am

WHAT'S COOKING?

January 26, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

Q: Are sour cream and cream cheese freezeable? Mine always seem to separate when thawed.

A: No, sour cream and cream cheese do not freeze well because of their high water content. The ice crystals that form during freezing cause them to separate as they thaw, leaving them caked and watery. They do, however, have quite a long refrigerator life -- two weeks for cream cheese and two to three weeks for sour cream as long as the container is currently dated.

Q: Is there any way that I can whip cream a few hours before I serve it?

A: Yes, it is possible to whip cream in advance without rewhipping just before serving. Whip the cream to stiff peaks and then place in a cheesecloth or coffee filter-lined strainer so any excess liquid will drain away and not cause the structure of the whipped cream to collapse. Place over a container to catch any liquid. Refrigerate for a few hours, or until ready to use.

Q: Is there a general rule for the required speed of an electric mixer? I never know which speed to use.

A: For cookies, beat fat on medium speed until softened. For stiff doughs, beat in flour on low speed. For meringues and egg yolks, beat on high speed. For whipping cream, beat on medium high speed. For mixtures that may splash or throw off flour, powdered sugar or cocoa dust, use low speed to incorporate and then increase speed to medium.

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We'd like to hear from you. Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or leave us your questions by phone by calling Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6180 after you hear the greeting.

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