Most of the milk and cream in supermarkets has been pasteurized - heated to kill microorganisms that cause sickness and spoilage, then quickly chilled. Common methods include HTST (high-temperature-short-time - 161 degrees for 15 seconds) and ultra-pasteurization, in which the product is heated to 280 degrees for two seconds.
Curious about the effects of pasteurization on flavor, I assembled a tasting panel to assess unsweetened whipped cream made from four types of heavy cream (in blind tastings):
1) Pasteurized cream was the tasters' favorite; they described it as "buttery" and "rich," with a melting quality like "fine chocolate."
2) Ultra-pasteurized cream was the runner-up. Tasters called it "sweet, light, and clean." It was perceived as the least "fatty."
3) Pasteurized organic cream also had fans. Tasters described this whipped cream as "mousselike," with a distinct "dairy" character.
4) Raw (unpasteurized) cream was controversial among tasters, who described it as "cheesy" and "savory." No taster named it as a first or second favorite.Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at email@example.com.