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Difference Between Milk and Cream

Milk vs Cream

Most people know what milk and creams are. But only a few knows of its technical differences. Foremost, it has been observed that whole milk has about 4% fat content compared to the 6% to 8% fat in cream. There are even other thicker cream variations that can already be whipped, which possess higher fat content than ordinary creams.

Although there are other liquids and even non-food fluids that can be described as milk, the term milk is obviously connoted to the ones obtained from the mammary glands of mammals. Most of the milk products that are processed and sold commercially are coming from cows. As a mammalian endowment, milk possesses a broad array of nutrients. Pertaining to cow’s milk, it has about 3.6% fat content, 3.4% protein, and 66 kilo calories per hundred grams. Although the values of these nutrients differ according to the animal where the milk came from, milk generally has lots of saturated fat and calcium.

When whole milk is left to stand for half a day to a full day’s time, it has a natural tendency to divide itself into two layers. The lower layer is said to be the low fat level which also happens to be the larger layer compared to the smaller fatty top layer. This upper milk level is called the cream layer. To make the actual creams known today, this separation process is sped up with the use of cream separators. As a result the less dense fat goes up while the more dense water content goes down. This is not surprising because this is exactly the reason why creams have more fat content than regular milk.

However, if the original milk product is decided to remain in its milk form then it must undergo a process known as homogenization and pasteurization.

In terms of basic consumption, milk can easily be drunk while cream is usually eaten. Creams are rarely prepared to be eaten in itself; rather it is combined with the ingredients of other dishes to come up with a creamier food product. Most creams are also used in dessert preparations.

In summary, although both foods are considered as dairy products they still differ in the following aspects:

1. Generally, milk has lesser fat content when compared to cream.

2. Cream is derived from milk and not vice versa.

3. Milk can easily be drunk while cream is usually not drunk. However, it is also rarely eaten in itself.

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  1. Fat contributes 50%, not 4%, of the total calories in whole milk. A simple check of a milk label will confirm that. That 4%, like the statements on ground beef packing (unlike the actual nutritional labels), are marketing ploys. They are allowed to misleadingly include the water content in calculating the percentages.

    You can consume a glass of milk with a glass of water on the side OR you can add a glass of water to it and then consume the mixture together. The very same amount of milk would have a lower fat content in the latter case according to their calculations.

    • The 4% figure refers to the fat’s relative proportion/amount as an ingredient in the milk. It does not claim to be a calculation of calories provided to the consumer by the fat.

  2. You can’t just add a glass of water Dennis.

    • The explanation never gets to essential and leaves one to wonder if cream and butter are not really different things. Isn’t it this: fresh milk contain fat particles throughout, ordinarily invisible to the eye. If it sits for a day or so, the more loosely bound fat floats to the surface as cream. The remainder can only be coaxed out by adding warm water and agitation, both of which speed up the remaining fat molecules and causes them to bang together and coagulate.

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