Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the recipes.
Here's a little experiment to try: beat 1 cup of heavy cream in a bowl. What happens? The cream thickens and turns into whipped cream. Now, do the same thing with milk. What happens? The milk may form some bubbles on top but otherwise stays the same. Why is this the case? Well, it all has to do with fat, specifically butterfat.
Butterfat, or milkfat, is the fatty part of milk and cream. It is what gives different forms of milk--skim, 1%, 2%, whole, etc.--their different consistencies and flavor. Skim or nonfat milk contains 0-0.5% butterfat, whereas butter contains upwards of 69% butterfat. You can find a complete chart of the fat content of milk here.
Butterfat is liquid at body temperature, which is why it melts in your mouth. It is solid when chilled, so to make the best whipped cream, use a chilled metal or glass bowl. When cream is whipped, the proteins denature and bubbles form. Some parts of the proteins stay in water, while other parts stay in fat. A film of solid fat and proteins forms, trapping the air bubbles inside, leaving you with light, airy whipped cream. If the cream is whipped too much, the water gets trapped in the film, not air, creating butter. Cream is fat in liquid water, but butter is water in solid fat.
.I used to work at oam like in a latte, then the milk must be steamed beforehand. The steam causes the proteins to denature, but only adds air. If you want to know more about milk foams and coffee, look at this Serious Eats article.
I used to work at Pie Shop, a small pie shop that was located in Buckhead, GA. We served a Chocolate Ganache pie made with dark, Belgian chocolate topped with fresh, house-made whipped cream and chocolate shavings. We had other pies that came topped with whipped cream, and that meant most of my job consisted of whipping large amounts cream during the day. People would always ask how we got our cream perfectly fluffy and just the right amount of sweetness. It was so popular, we would sell it by the pint! So what was our secret? A cold bowl!!! We would keep the bowls for our stand mixer in the fridge so that they stayed cold as we whipped the cream. And the secret to keeping it fluffy but still adding sugar, we used powdered sugar!!! In the time I was there, we didn't have a recipe written down, but I came up with the one below:
1 pint COLD heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract, or other flavoring
Place all ingredients in a COLD bowl
Whip on high for about 4-5 mins, or until light, fluffy, and airy
Here are some other recipes that included fat foams:
Tatyana Nesteruk's (from Tastemade) No Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Faith Durand's (from the Kitchn) No-Bake Icebox Cake
Emma Christensen's (from the Kitchn) Foul-proof Milk Foam at Home