A year back we partnered with a company in Spain that specializes in starter cultures used for charcuterie. I did some initial tests by mixing those cultures in cream and just leaving it in room temperature. After a week they turned into some sort of cultured cream. Call it whatever you may – high fat yogurt, creme fraiche, etc. Point is, they were freaking delicious. I remember one of them had notes of lemon peel. Another developed some flavours of hazelnut. It was amazing.
Fast forward to this trial, I now attempted to speed up the process by using sous vide. Thanks to this Chefsteps video, I now had a starting reference point. It was a bit tricky though as in their video they use yogurt with live cultures. I only had the cultures. I only wanted to do 3 types with 1 litre of cream in each. I had some left over cream so ended up doing another set but with only half the cream. I also decided to use the same amount of culture despite having only half the cream. Effectively doubling the concentration. I also added 1% sugar by weight, just to give the critters more to eat.
After one night, the extra turned to be freaking beautiful. Thick, yogurty, but without the tanginess. The others were still pretty much just cream. So I decided to leave it for another night. This turned out to be a bit of a disaster. They all just went too far. The yogurt was separating, one had caused the lid to pop, and they all tasted pretty bad.
Left the good yogurt to strain in the fridge overnight to develop more texture.
So now, I know have a better idea on how much cultures to add and for how long to cook it for. Next time, I will try it with a different bacteria blend!
This dish is really about the yogurt, so I kept the garnishes simple and easy. Honeycomb, blackberries and blueberries.