17 November 2007

Another historic appliance

Bel Cream MakerI mentioned the lack of double cream in Canada in an earlier post. Since then I've discovered a lot of other voices on the Internet asking why this is. It's not an ingredient I use a lot, but the fact that I can't get it makes it suddenly the most desirable thing in the world. I keep having flashbacks to trips to Tesco where the shelves were laden with not just one but twenty different types of double cream.

Then the other day I remembered a gadget that my parents gave me a few years back. It's called a Bel Cream Maker and is designed to make cream from butter and milk. Very unusually, for my family, it is still in its original box. It belonged to my grandmother (or perhaps her mother - they lived together) and I presume was bought just after the War, when cream was hard to come by. When I acquired it, it was as a piece of family history and I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever need to use such a device.

But now, I can understand perfectly and I liberated the gadget from its box on Thursday to see whether it would actually work. I gave it a good wash and sterilised it in Milton fluid first, to be on the safe side, then melted butter (must be unsalted) and full-fat milk together and poured it into the Bakelite top. The handle forces the mixture through small nozzles and into the glass jar at the bottom. It works! The cream firms up a bit once it's refrigerated and the more butter you use, the thicker the cream. So now I don't need to worry about finding a source of double cream so much. Which means I'll probably come across one, of course.

Postscript: The cream maker is a Jubilee Model - which dates it to George V's silver jubilee in 1935. As my grandmother would have been 21 then, I doubt she bought it. Great-Gran would have been 51, so I think it must have been hers.

Instructions for Bel Cream MakerPost postscript: I've scanned in the instructions for the cream maker, as they've already proved useful for one reader and might be handy for others to have access to. Click on the image for the larger version (warning: it's a big file!). Oh, and there's one missing figure in the instructions for whipping cream which should read "4 ozs. of UNSALTED butter to 4 ozs. of milk".

31 comments:

debbie said...

Hi, I have a Bel Creamer, didn't know what it was, got it at a yard sale. Searched with google and found your article. Thrilled to know what my find is. Wondering if you would be able to email or mail me a copy of the booklet that you show in the picture. Mine has no box or instructions with it. Thanks for posting the info. Regards, Debbie Ogle debbieinmaine@verizon.net

Amanda said...

Hi Debbie

I'm delighted that this was useful for you! I've emailed you a copy of the cream maker instructions.

Best wishes,

Amanda

ladyluz said...

What a lovely story. It's amazing that you kept it that long and now it's coming in handy.

I'm catching up with you...only 5 more months to read.

Amanda said...

Ladyluz - I am rendered speechless by your perserverence!

Flick said...

I bought a small (7oz) jar of Devon Double Cream from a gourmet website ($$$), but I would sure like to make my own double cream like this!

I make my own butter from single cream sometimes.

I wonder if I can extend the process somehow to make double cream, take equal parts of this butter and more cream? I'll have to try it. If I can't get it to work, then I will need this handy Bel Cream Maker tool!

Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I made scones for a project she was doing in school about her heritage (I'm from England). I was reminiscing about Devon Cream and how good it tasted with scones. Then I remembered that when I was last in England, quite a few years ago, I persuaded my father to part with his Bel Cream Maker. It had stayed in my cupboard as I never had the instructions. My daughter googled and she came up with your directions. Wonderful. Thank you so much! We are going to start with heavy cream and try the Devon Cream over the weekend.

Chris said...

Hi Everyone I used to have he Bell cream maker but ove the years in the Forces its beeen lost . I now have a home in Turkey where cream isnt easily obtained but Butter & milk are.. If anyone out there can help me get hold of one I would be so grateful.... Email me chrisduke@tiscali.co.uk
Duke

Amanda said...

Chris, Ebay often have Bel cream makers for sale. I had to buy another one this year as I managed to lose one of the tiny metal parts on my one!

InkyMidge said...

Hi Amanda! I have a Bel Cream Maker, but have never had the proper recipes for it, so I was thrilled to bits to find yours! Only problem is, I can't quite make out the Devonshire Cream recipe and the 2 below it, they seem to have crept off your scanner a little bit! If you wouldn't mind emailing me a copy of the booklet, I'd be even more thrilled to bits! ~Midge

1972midge@googlemail.com

Patricia said...

Hi! I was wondering if you could email me the instructions for the Bel Cream Maker. The picture you have posted is too small to read. I seem to have misplaced my instructions and I found your blog. I would love to be able to use mine again. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Patricia - if you click on the small image of the instructions, it will take you to a larger version. Or you can follow this link. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these instructions. My Dad recently moved to Cyprus and he cant get double cream there. I purchased a cream maker on e-bay for him (we used to have one when I was a child about 30 years ago) but it didnt have instructions. Am seeing my dad in August and he will be really pleased with his cream maker

Anonymous said...

Hi, many thanks for your article, we have a Bell cream maker in bakelite, but no recipe book or instructions, my wife has been wanting to use it for years, it was her mothers, so thanks again. Saw three in the Bakelite Museum in Williton, Somerset.[Well worth a visit]
Chris Butcher.

Sheila said...

Has anyone tried making cream with salted butter then using in a savoury recipe? Unsalted butter is approx twice price of salted here in NZ.

Amanda said...

Hi Sheila

I think the salt might interfere with the emulsifying process - but the instructions do tell you how to de-salt salted butter. Add twice the amount of water as you've got butter, melt together, then put in the top of the cream maker (with the nozzle removed), allow to settle, then pour the water out from underneath the melted butter by lifting the handle. What's left should be just plain butter.

Amanda

Amanda said...

Hi Sheila

I think the salt might interfere with the emulsifying process - but the instructions do tell you how to de-salt salted butter. Add twice the amount of water as you've got butter, melt together, then put in the top of the cream maker (with the nozzle removed), allow to settle, then pour the water out from underneath the melted butter by lifting the handle. What's left should be just plain butter.

Amanda

Anonymous said...

I have just found my Bel cream maker. it was my mother's and has been sitting in the back of a cupboard for 30 years! I found your site when looking for instructions and IT WORKS! Thank you so much. I remember too the ridged cup we had at home just after the war - you shook some milk in it for ages and ages and it turned to butter and skimmed milk.

Anonymous said...

Hello! After finding out what the gadget was that had been floating round my house (via eBay), I then Googled it and came across your Blog.....Thanks again :-)

L Hudson said...

Hi I have just acquired one of these with no instructions what are the quantities?

Amanda said...

@L Hudson - if you use 4 ounces (100 grams) of unsalted butter and 4 fluid ounces (100 millilitres) of milk, you should be fine. The instruction leaflet gives other recipes, too, if you click on that and save it to your computer.

Phillip Ortman said...

when you make the whipping cream 4 oz to 4 oz, what is the volume of cream, when you are finished? 6 oz, 8oz, just curious to see if this would be a practical thing for me source.

Amanda Hill said...

Hi Phillip - yes, it would make 8 fluid ounces of cream if you used 4oz of butter and 4oz milk.

Willard Helander said...

Dear Amanda,

I am hoping this blog is still active as part of a move, I have dug out my Bel Cream Maker. I bought in the late 70s after a summer of law school in Devon. Do you still have a link for the instructions/recipes, as my booklet is missing. I only know the 4oz of butter and milk as listed on the box. Super hopeful you can help! willardhelander@gmail.com

Jo Anna in Oregon said...

So glad to find your posting on this. I found a plastic version of the Bel at Good Will, but it's missing the all important valve. Do you know a source for it, or the specs that I could try to find the equivalent at the hardware store?

Please tell me what double cream is!

Amanda said...

Hi Jo Anna

I had the same problem and ended up buying another whole cream maker from Ebay! Hope you find one. It looks like a thumb tack - a round top (10 millimeters in diameter), with a cylindrical shaft- 4 millimeters in diameter, 10 millimeters long). Double cream is just cream with a high fat content (about 50% fat).

Anonymous said...

yea this can be useful if cream is more expensive than butter & milk, it is a commodity and to save costs it can be useful to convert from one to the other

Rosie Barker said...

My mum had a bel cream maker. It came out like gorgeous silky & thick Devon cream. However, sometimes it wouldn't work the 1st time she pumped it through the machine & on some occasions, it would fail after 2 or 3 attempts. She thought it might have been to do with the temperature of the melted butter & milk.One day, after several failed attempts, she got fed up & put the liquid in the blender (juicer type) Bingo! Perfect cream & it worked within seconds. Mum never bothered using the bel cream maker again. She just used the blender which made cream in a couple of effortless seconds. I've used this method myself. It's so easy. I now live in France where cream is not wideky availabke & it's just pouring cream. I'm going to make some & whip it for profiteroles at Christmas.

jamiechristine said...

Have you ever tried making clotted cream from the finished product of the Bel Cream Maker?

Ruth said...

Hi, Amanda Could You Please email me a Copy of the instructions / Recipes for the bell Cream Maker, Mine have been Lost. My Kindest Regard Ruth roowell@tiscali.co.uk

Amanda said...

No, I don't think I have tried making clotted cream. Let me know if you do and it works!

Michael Calverley said...

Has anyone found a supplier of spare parts for the creamer? Mine has a cracked nozzle, was hoping for a spare part but looks like its Ebay for another one.