How to Make Sour Cream

Since I’m planning to gather all my home-dairying posts together and put them in their own section, I thought I’d be thorough and put up a separate post on sour cream. Yes, I know I did this yesterday when I posted on cultured butter, it’s just how my mind works. Sure it’s redundant, but it’s for the greater good of education.

I should emphasize here that what I’m making is an animal you won’t find in stores: full-fat sour cream. It’s decadent stuff, with twice the butterfat that store-bought sour cream contains. Which makes it good. Can I make it with less fat? Yes, though the consistency will be thinner. Crème fraîche has perhaps 25% less fat than full-fat sour cream, but the difference in firmness is noticeable.

Commercial manufacturers of sour cream employ all sorts of interesting tricks to thicken lighter creams to a full-fat consistency. Gelatin, starches, gums and protein-coagulating enzymes among them. Not a big deal, just not the real deal. To get that stuff, you want to do like I do. Pour some heavy cream into a bowl, it doesn’t matter how much.

Then add your culture at the rate of about a tablespoon per cup of cream. Any fermented milk product will do: sour cream, buttermilk or yogurt.

Stir it together…

…covered it with plastic and let it sit out overnight. In the morning it will be nice and thick:

However it will get thicker still in the refrigerator. Use it as you would any other sour cream, though remember the higher fat. If you’re planning on incorporating it into some sort of batter, you can probably compensate for the extra fat by decreasing any other fat (say, butter or oil) that the recipe calls for. If not, well, you only live once, right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *