[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOmKy6ANmyM&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]Fun Whipped Cream music for your listening pleasure.
When a company substitutes fake words, such as "Reddi" for "Ready" and "Wip" for "Whip," rest assured that they are Toying with You. Case in Point: Krispy Kreme. Don't get me wrong; I am a Huge Fan of the Krispy Kreme Donut. If I had to choose between Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme, I would go with KK every time. If I had to choose between Dunkin' Donuts and No Donuts, well, I would live a piously donut-free existence. At any rate, it's not so much the K-R-I-S-P-Y to which I take exception, even if I don't think of donuts as all that crispy. Nope, it's the K-R-E-M-E part that I find so disturbing. Have you ever had a K-R-E-M-E filled donut? It's basically whipped vegetable shortening with some sugar in it. It bears no resemblance to cream. None. Whatsoever.
But, I'm not here to talk about K-R-E-M-E. I'm here to talk about ReddiWip. Why? Well, reader Kyra asked a question a few days ago. Here:
For the past 2 months I have been on a crusade trying to find a good natural substitute to vegetable whipping cream. I tried whipping heavy cream following the packaging instructions. It turned into a heavier cream, extremely soft peaks, would not hold, not fluffy at all whipped cream. I even made creme fraiche and tried to whip that. Same results... I tried whipping longer... I got homemade butter... I remember the times when natural whipped cream was cheap and available to buy in all European pastry shops. Nowadays it seems impossible to find it... At least where I live... It was fluffy and looked just like its vegetable fat based counterpart. Can you post step by step instructions on how to get that light and fluffy whipped cream out of natural, widely available products such as heavy cream or sour cream? I've wrecked dozen of batches with not one acceptable result. Please help!
I sent her a link to Joe Pastry's marvelous Whipping Cream Tutorial and told her that I would address the question at Greater Length later. Well, later is now.
By "vegetable whipping cream," I assume that means Cool Whip-esque stuff. At any rate, my first thought is temperature. Whipping cream is full of fat, and if it's not kept very cold, the fat in it gets melty and greasy, and then it won't hold the little bubbles you're trying to whip into it. You want the fat to be plastic and stretchy, and for that, you need it to be cold.
I know that lots of folks say that whipping ultra-pasteurized cream is harder than whipping plain old pasteurized cream. This is true to a certain extent, and folks with very sensitive palates might pick up a bit of a "cooked milk" flavor in ultrapasteurized cream due to the high temperature required for the process. For myself, I guess my palate isn't that sensitive, and I've never had an issue with UP cream not whipping, so I just go with it. Having said that, I can only speak about dairy in the US. I believe friend Kyra is in Eastern Europe, so if anyone could enlighten me as to the State of All Things Dairy in Eastern Europe, maybe I could better identify the issue.
Look at this part of Kyra's question again: "Nowadays it seems impossible to find [natural whipped cream]... At least where I live... It was fluffy and looked just like its vegetable fat based counterpart." Again, since I suffer from a lack of European Dairy Exposure, I'm not quite sure how to address this. So, I'm going to recommend a)keeping the cream very, very cold--even whipping it over an ice bath would be a good idea and b)possibly stabilizing the cream with some bloomed gelatin--about 1/2-1 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 TBSP cream (let gelatin sit in cream for a couple of minuts, and then heat just until the gelatin is no longer grainy) per 1 cup of whipping cream. Whip to soft peaks and pour in the gelatin while whisking madly (so you don't get clumps of rubbery gelatin in your whipped cream). Whip to desired peakiness.
Oh, to whip sour cream, you'll want to start with cold whipping cream first. Whip to medium peaks and then add sour cream, a bit at a time. Keep whipping until you get to desired sour creaminess and peakiness. If you try to start whipping the cream and the sour cream together, it won't work. I don't think that the sour cream has enough fat in it to support Bubble Production. You have to make a "bubble matrix" with the heavy cream first before allowing sour cream to come on in. I hope that helps, Kyra.
If any readers out there can help shed some light on European Dairy Behavior, both Kyra and I would appreciate it.
Okay now, back to the title. So what's my beef with ReddiWip? Well, to tell the truth, I don't really have a huge issue with the ReddiWip people, although I don't know why it needs to contain "Natural and Artificial Flavors." Cream is Plenty Tasty without them. My concern with ReddiWip is that folks kind of expect to be able to substitute homemade whipped cream for ReddiWip and vice versa. Not so much, though. Here's the thing about whipping cream. As I said a minute ago, whipped cream is all about the bubble matrix. The more stable your bubbles, the more stable your cream. And the more stable your cream, the longer it stays whipped and beautiful. The best way to ensure a killer Bubble Matrix is to start slowly. Just like when you a blow a bubble with bubble gum, you have to start slowly. Once you've got that initial bubble blown off the tip of your tongue (ew), then you can speed up some.
In order to replicate Ye Olde Tip-of-the-Tongue Bubbles (ew, again), start whipping slowly--either by hand or with a stand mixer set to medium. Once things start to get a bit foamy, increase the speed a bit. Then, when the whisk just starts leaving tracks in the cream, crank the speed a little more and keep whisking (or watching, in the case of stand mixers) until the cream is close to where you want it, peakiness-wise. Stop whisking/turn off mixer, and check for Optimal Peakiness. If you're not quite there, whisk/whip in very short bursts like a crazy person/on high speed. And by very short, I mean 1-2 seconds.
When you use a CO2 gun (or ReddiWip) to whip cream, you get instantly whipped cream because a whole bunch of big old bubbles have been forced into the cream all at once, like the Greeks flooding out of the Trojan Horse. They put on a good show, I must admit, and the speed is nice, but ultimately the show is over way too soon--mass popping begins. And, has anyone ever told you that larger bubbles pop more quickly than smaller bubbles? Well, they do. That's why ReddiWip "melts" so much more quickly than hand whipped cream--those big-ass bubbles are popping. If you're still not convinced, consider that slow stretching is more effective than rapid stretching. Think of pizza dough. Think of bubble gum. Think of strudel dough. Heck, think of your own muscles. If you stretch too quickly, you get tears. If you stretch your plastic butterfat too quickly, you get tears, and tears don't hold air. Tears let air out.
Finally, we're back to my original point about being Toyed With by the ReddiWip folks. While it might say "Reddi" on the can, it won't stay ready for long. And while it might say "Wip," what it really means is Bubbles Injected by Brute Force with complete Disregard for the Bubble Matrix." Granted, that would take up a lot of room on the can, but still. So, lose the ReddiWip and get Ready to Whip.
And that's all I have to say about that.