Food Safety: Cream Or Milk In Buttercream?

Decorating By tujy Updated 4 Sep 2009 , 4:26pm by TitiaM

tujy Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 2:06am
post #1 of 13

hii

if you use either cream or milk for a buttercream does it affect whether the buttercream can be left out of the fridge? i usually add 2tbsp milk in my recipe, and i know people say that the high sugar content will help preserve the buttercream, but i've been trying to cut down how much sugar i add because i find its too sweet. so i'm not sure whether my buttercream has enough sugary preserving "power" if i switched to cream instead of milk.

would boiling the cream just prior to adding it warm to the buttercream help in terms of whether you can keep it out of the fridge, and also maybe dissolve some of the sugar so the buttercream is not so grainy?

12 replies
JanH Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 2:22am
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tujy

so i'm not sure whether my buttercream has enough sugary preserving "power" if i switched to cream instead of milk.




it's the water in whatever liquid you choose to use that is the breeding ground for bacteria. if you don't want bacteria to grow it's necessary to control the "water activity." you can accomplish this by using sugar which is "hygroscopic" or moisture attracting. in essence it binds the water making it unavailable for those little nasties to feed/grow on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tujy

would boiling the cream just prior to adding it warm to the buttercream help in terms of whether you can keep it out of the fridge, and also maybe dissolve some of the sugar so the buttercream is not so grainy?




what do you hope to accomplish by doing this. are you trying to evaporate the milk/cream so that there is no liquid. won't work, but if it did your recipe would turn out so dry it would be unspreadable.

sugarshack uses warm liquid in her recipe. if you want a less sweet icing you might want to try the meringue buttercreams:
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6011626-.html HTH

madgeowens Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 2:42am
post #3 of 13

I use heavy cream in my butter cream because I thinkk it makes it less sweet.....havent regrigerated it or made any one sick yet

bobwonderbuns Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 2:43am
post #4 of 13

That was my question: how does using whole milk or heavy cream affect those with a lactose intolerance? Or does it?

JanH Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:01am
post #5 of 13
madgeowens Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:03am
post #6 of 13

Well any dairy would have lactose.....so yes it would affect them most definately. Use the non dairy creamer recipe...sugarshacks

tujy Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:19am
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanH

Quote:
Originally Posted by tujy

so i'm not sure whether my buttercream has enough sugary preserving "power" if i switched to cream instead of milk.



it's the water in whatever liquid you choose to use that is the breeding ground for bacteria. if you don't want bacteria to grow it's necessary to control the "water activity." you can accomplish this by using sugar which is "hygroscopic" or moisture attracting. in essence it binds the water making it unavailable for those little nasties to feed/grow on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tujy

would boiling the cream just prior to adding it warm to the buttercream help in terms of whether you can keep it out of the fridge, and also maybe dissolve some of the sugar so the buttercream is not so grainy?



what do you hope to accomplish by doing this. are you trying to evaporate the milk/cream so that there is no liquid. won't work, but if it did your recipe would turn out so dry it would be unspreadable.

sugarshack uses warm liquid in her recipe. if you want a less sweet icing you might want to try the meringue buttercreams:
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6011626-.html HTH




i know water means bacteria can grow. but i was wondering if cream was swapped with the milk in a buttercream recipe, whether this would make it more prone to going off, going off sooner, needing to be refrigerated, etc.

i thought perhaps boiling the cream (obviously not til theres no liquid left) - just until it starts to bubble, might help kill any nasties/bugs in it, so that when its added to the buttercream it would help extend the life of the buttercream, whilst also helping to dissolve some of the graininess, especially since i'm not using a very very high ratio of icing sugar to butter (so i won't have as much preserving power as say the magnolia bakery frosting). the idea came from how ganache is made - boiled cream added to choc - and choc ganache truffles can be left out of the fridge?

3GCakes Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:25am
post #8 of 13

You can buy cream that is already sterile...in fact on the tag at the grocery store, sometimes it says "sterile".

I bought heavy whipping cream today that is already "ultra pasteruized"...so I think if you are not using something straight from a cow, you are good.

3GCakes Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:27am
post #9 of 13

Course, if they mean "sterile" as in ....unable to reproduce, I'd take un-sterile. How cool would it be to wake up and find lots of baby pints of cream in your fridge? ? It's expensive stuff! icon_biggrin.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:50am
post #10 of 13

My personal opinion is that cream (I use ultra-pastureized heavy cream) is better than milk because the cream has a very high fat content & less water.

Fats & sugars are preservatives, so I figure that between my hi ratio/hi fat shortening, the 36% fat cream, and the powdered sugar, not much could grow in there very quickly.

I do find that the cream helps to cut the sweetness, but I also add about a TBSP of lemon JUICE per 14 cup batch of buttercream. No one complains that it's too sweet............

I don't refrigerate cakes, but I do tell people to refrigerate or freeze their leftovers and to toss anything that is over 4 days old. They tell me that the leftovers never last that long icon_lol.gif

HTH
Rae

TitiaM Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:08pm
post #11 of 13

For the lactose intolerance question. As a general rule the more fat the dairy product has the less lactose it has. Butter, heavy cream, whole milk and cheese have a lot less lactose than say skim milk. In fact Butter has almost none. I am lactose intolerant and I have no problems eating real buttercream or even small amounts of whipped cream, but If I drink a half a glass of skim milk I'm in trouble.

(Dairy Allergy is an entirely different matter)

indydebi Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 3:54pm
post #12 of 13

Not sure what the idea behind boiling is either. Bacteria growth is stopped or at least inhibited at very cold temps (below 41 degrees) or at very high temps (145 to 170 degrees, depending on what the food is).

I can boil corn all day long but if I let it sit for 2-5 hours at 100 degrees, I better not serve it to anyone! During the boiling, I may have killed whatever bacteria was in there, but new ones will grow at the 100 degree stage.

(Wow! I DID learn stuff at the food safety course!) icon_surprised.gif

If you haven't taken a food safety course, it would be worth the investment. You'll be amazed at how differently you look at the food world. (My family is no longer allowed to buy from bake sales or any amish farms.)

TitiaM Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 4:26pm
post #13 of 13

As previously stated, it is the water activity that matters in this instance (water activity is a food science term which refers not only to how much water is in a product, but also how the water relates to the other ingredients in the product.) You can have two products with exactly the same water content, but completely different water activities and one will spoil very easily and one will be close to shelf-stable. Really, with buttercream it is more of a spoilage/off-flavor issue than anything--it would be rare for a standard buttercream to actually make someone sick. However, it could happen and unless it is made with just shortening, I would refrigerate it if it is not going to be used with in a day, maybe 2, just in case. Using cream vs whole milk is not going to make a difference as far as spoilage/food safety is concerned--using UHT (ultra-pasteurized) might make some difference as the process of UHT is used to increase the shelf-life of dairy products. Boiling it won't really make a difference food-safety wise--that is what pasturization is for in the first place.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%