For best results, make sure that the cream is very cold when it is whipped. Chilling the bowl and beaters or whip in advance also aids in achieving full volume. Placing the chilled whipping bowl in a larger bowl lined with ice also aids in achieving full volume.
Begin by whipping the cold cream, by hand or with a machine, at a moderate speed. Soft peaks will mound when dropped from the whip. This is the correct time to add sugar or other flavoring ingredients.
Medium peaks retain marks of the whip and will hold a soft peak that droops over slightly.
Stiff peaks will form distinct mounds that hold their shape.
Similar to egg whites, cream can be overbeaten. Overbeaten cream first develops a granular appearance. Eventually lumps will form and, if whipping continues, the cream will turn to butter.