Single cream (or British Single Cream or light cream) is a dense, viscous homogenized dairy product with 18%% butterfat that does not thicken with beating. In North America it is known simply as table cream or coffee cream.
British Single Cream, with 18% butterfat content, is equivalent to what North Americans call Table Cream or Coffee Cream (if those have 18% fat content as well; some dairy producers will produce a table cream with up to 30% butterfat content.)
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
In general, cream is available in six grades. The lightest, which customarily has a butterfat content of 10.5% to 18%, is generally sold under the names of extra light cream and half cream. The next heaviest grade has a fat content that generally ranges between 12% and 30%. This cream may be referred to as light, coffee or table cream, or sterilized half cream. These two classifications of cream are frequently used to lighten tea or coffee or as a cereal topping.
The next two categories of cream are typically used as dessert toppings, unwhipped. Generally marketed as cream, single cream, medium cream, or pure cream, the fat content in the next level of these dairy products normally falls between 25% and 56%.
Widely referred to as sterilized or whipping cream, the next heaviest level contains an average of 35% to 36% butterfat. This cream is widely used as an ingredient for soups and sauces. Creams with fat contents ranging between 35% and 60% are generally marketed under the names of extra-heavy or double cream and are often considered the best creams to whip for food toppings.
Conserving and Storing
Cannot be frozen; will separate upon thawing.