Making sour cream at home is easy, you will need only cream and a starter culture. While making sour cream takes only a few minutes of prep time, allow a full 24 hours for the sour cream to culture and cool prior to serving.
Choosing a Cream
The first step to making sour cream is choosing an appropriate cream for the project.
- Heavy cream or whipping cream will yield the thickest sour cream.
- Half-and-half can be used, but the sour cream will have a thinner consistency. Dry milk powder can be added to improve the consistency, if desired.
- Raw cream can be used but will yield a thinner consistency than if pasteurized whipping cream is used.
- Avoid ultra-pasteurized (UP) or ultra-high temperature (UHT) cream, as it yields inconsistent results when used for culturing.
There are a few options for starter cultures:
Choosing a Starter Culture
- Direct-set sour cream starter culture. The advantage of a direct-set culture is that the powdered starter is kept in the freezer until you are ready to make sour cream.
- Cultured buttermilk or mesophilic (countertop) yogurt is convenient to use as starter for culturing cream, as well. Use 1 tablespoon yogurt or buttermilk per cup of cream.
- Milk kefir grains or finished milk kefir can be used to make Kefir Cream, a good substitute for sour cream. Use 1 tablespoon finished milk kefir per cup of cream or 1 teaspoon grains for up to 4 cups cream.
Making Sour Cream
- To use a direct-set sour cream starter culture, follow the instructions inlcuded with the culture, for best results.
- To use cultured buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir, mix the cream and starter culture together.
- Cover the container with a coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band.
- Place the mixture in a warm spot, 70°-77°F, for 12 to 18 hours or until thickened.
- Once the mixture has set, cover the jar with a lid and place it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to halt the culturing process and cool the sour cream.
For thicker sour cream
- Add a small amount of dry milk powder or
- Heat the cream to 180°F and hold at that temperature for 30 minutes. Cool completely prior to adding the starter culture.
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