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Cream is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-fat layer skimmed from the top of raw milk before homogenization. In the raw milk, over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In the industrial production of cream this process is accelerated by using centrifuges called "separators". In many countries cream is sold in several grades depending on total fat content. Cream can be dried to a powder for shipment to distant markets.
Cream produced by cattle (particularly Jersey cattle) grazing on natural pasture often contains some natural carotenoid pigments derived from the plants they eat; this gives the cream a slight yellow tone, whence the name of the yellowish-white colour cream. Cream from cows fed indoors, on grain or grain-based pellets, is white.
In the US, cream is usually sold as:
Half-and-half (12% fat)
Whipping cream and whipped cream (30%)
Heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream (36%)
Manufacturer's cream (40%), mostly available from food-services supply wholesalers rather than groceries
Also common in the US is sour cream, which is cream that has been subjected to a bacterial culture that produces lactic acid, producing a sour taste, and that thickens the cream as well.
Half cream (12%)
Single cream or Light cream (18%)
Whipping cream (35%)
Double cream (48%)
In the UK, clotted cream is a very high fat (55%) product processed with heat.
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