Whipping Cream sulfur smell -- normal??

At the coffee store I work at, we make our own whipped cream by pouring whipping cream (aka heavy cream) into a special bottle and charging it with compressed gas. Lately, my store has been throwing out a lot of cartons of the cream because they smell bad, despite being nowhere near the expiration date. The smell was strongest just after the carton was opened, then faded a bit.

An official memo was sent out about this – apparently the smell is “normal” in spring and summer, as a result of the cows eating fresh grass or something. It sounded like a line of bull (no pun intended) to me, but then again I know absolutely nothing about dairy farming.

So tell me, bovine-savvy Dopers – is icky-smelling cream really normal in certain seasons, or is there some major ripping-off in progress?

Questions: Who determined that they smell different/worse than the ones from a few months ago? Do you have a panel that sniffs them?

Have you changed brands?

I think many things are preserved with hydrogen sulfide gas. In micro quantities. But I’ll defer to others more knowledgeable.

More info, please.

The likelyhood of the cows grazing in a different pasture isn’t a factor. The pasturization process would take care of that matter, INHO.

IANA dairy person, but putting “off-flavor compounds dairy products sulfur” into Google brings up a whole flock of annoying PDF files that will say things like, “Cysteine is a precursor of the volatile sulfur compounds that ultimately improve cheddar cheese flavor” before they cheerfully lock up your computer.

I also found this, which is a fairly interesting treatise on off-flavors in milk. And it notes:

Granted, you’re not working with cheese, you’re working with cream, but at least it shows that it’s not totally abnormal to have sulfur compounds present in dairy products.

So at least you’re not being poisoned.

And after puttering around for a while, I finally put in “off-flavor pasture” and got this. It sounds like it’s saying that yes, all kinds of things down on the farm can cause off-flavors in milk, including, but not limited to, what the cows eat, and what kind of medications they’re taking, and whether or not they burp in the general direction of the milking machine.

If the sulfur smell is really a problem, why doesn’t your boss just change brands?

it’s only normal if it’s ass flavored.

A burp will change the flavor of the milk??

Sheesh! Welcome back. I thought you died.:slight_smile:

Naw, I just went on vacation. Thanx for noticing. :slight_smile:

Yo, IForgot, go read the link–apparently if the barn isn’t adequately ventilated, then yep, cow burps (“eructations”) can float back into the milk.

Charming thought, eh? :smiley:

Question: Can all seven stomachs “burp?”

I dunno, considering that I make easily twenty canisters of whipped cream a day myself, I always thought it a good idea to sniff the cartons I’m opening occasionally. And yes, they definitely started smelling worse. Normally they just smell like cream; now they smell like spoiled cream.

As for the brand, all the stores in the area (and there are a lot) use the same brand, it’s delivered every day. And it’s been the same brand since I was hired a year ago. I don’t think we have much choice in the matter, especially as the higher-ups say the smell is normal, and there’s some evidence that they’re right.

Dragon: Seasonal pasture change can account for a lot of change in milk and all of the products resulting from milk. Some pastures may be clover rich, or sage rich or even have fungus growing on some of the feed.

Or ic ould still be ass flavored whipping cream.

Dragon: Seasonal pasture change can account for a lot of change in milk and all of the products resulting from milk. Some pastures may be clover rich, or sage rich or even have fungus growing on some of the feed.

Or it could still be ass flavored whipping cream.

Ass flavor … hmm, mebbe we should put that on the menu.

“I’ll have an ass-flavor Frappuccino, extra ass”

(“sorry sir we’ve reached the ass limit in this store, please take your assing somewhere else”)

Couldn’t be any worse that fresh green tea, which smells like fish to me for some reason. Are you pushing corporate caffeine? (“Frappucino” being a trademarked term even if every buckethead who ever came in and asked me for a blended drink did refer to them as a frappucino.). If so, I’d be surprised if the grand company couldn’t exert some quality control and market pressure to get you some ass-free whipping cream.

Yes indeedy, I push the corporate caffeine, green apron and all. I was just hesitant to name my employer when asking a question like this because our legal department is only mildly less demonic than our marketing department. :smiley:

OMG I actually created an account just to be able to comment on this! I just opened a container of heavy whipping cream nowhere near the expiration date and was almost knocked over by the smell of sulfur!! This also happens with my container of whole milk a couple of weeks ago and I thought I imagined it… the smell actually does fade and if you can muster up the guts to shake it up and pour it and taste it The taste is fine!
I can absolutely get that the time of year and where the cows are and what the animal eats definitely affects how their product tastes… I have chickens and if I want deliciously sweet eggs, I feed them spaghetti! Lots of sugary carbs! When they free range around my yard their eggs have an earthier taste for sure!!
I don’t think that the sulfur smell is anything to be concerned with as long as it doesn’t turn chunky! And as long as nobody is returning it saying it’s disgusting!! :grin::joy:

I know this is a zombie thread

With factory farming now (and even 18 years ago), I’m not sure cows know what fresh grass is. Very few get out of their stalls. Megafarms have thousands of cows each being milked 3 times a day. No time to let them out to pasture and round them back up. It would be a huge time waste as well as how many acres do you want to commit to grazing?

I remember reading that when trains first started bringing fresh milk into Chicago, people, used to milk from urban barn cows, complained “what is this yellow scum on the top of the milk?”

Fortunately, I live in Australia. In Aus and NZ, we get grass-fed milk. (From contented cows*). A disadvantage is that people with rye-grass allergy (common here, because of all the grass), sometimes get an allergic reaction to the rye-grass proteins in the milk. But it is very rare to get much variation in the milk flavour - the producers and bottling companies are as careful as they can be about keeping the pastures free of Onion Grass and stuff like that. But we don’t have real (barn) winters. They’re normally given feed supplement while being milked – that could be a source of seasonal variation, even in grass-fed dairy cows. Maybe somebody was feeding them cabbage leaves.

* You don’t have to round them up. They aren’t beef cattle. You just have to open the gates, or on other farms, open the gates and start them moving..