Fermented Things Friday: Easy Homemade Sour Cream

Thanks to this Mother Earth News article, I have successfully made homemade sour cream, and thus Fermented Things Friday can return, after a long hiatus, during which I *gasp* threw away my kefir grains, and have my kombucha scobys stacked up in a veritable high-rise, and just await the energy to want to ferment more things again! This was an easy entry back, and a delightful and tangy spring treat. What’s more, it was made….

…In about 2 seconds (plus fermenting time).

It is seriously so easy, my children could do it. And come to think of it, I will teach them, so they could do it.

But first, “Why would a person want to make sour cream?” If you are asking, I will answer from my own perspective.

I just get sick and tired of seeing a long list of ingredients in my sour cream, when I know what sour cream is (should be) made of. Cream. Cream that has soured, and thickened.

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My first batch of homemade sour cream. Ingredients: cream, and vinegar to start the souring/culturing process!

Just as in this post from a few years back on chowhound.com, I don’t like the thickeners and weird things added, but was feeling lazy about doing anything about it. Well, after 2 seconds work and some fermentation on my countertop, I have sour cream made of cream once again.

I also think, and I think this blog attests, that I’m one of those weirdos who gets satisfaction from doing traditional things in a traditional way, and knowing that, even if my supermarket down the street explodes, I might still be able to feed myself. Rah!

Basic method:

Fill a clean glass jar with 1 c. of cream, and add 1/4 c. white vinegar (or, already prepared sour cream). I let it sit with a napkin over the top, held in place by a canning ring, for about 48 hours. I kept checking to see if it was thickening, or gelling up. It stayed fairly ‘milky’, though did thicken somewhat. After 48 hours, I plopped it in the fridge, where it cooled and thickened up very nicely!

The difference in taste between homemade and store-bought for me is – my homemade has a tangier bite to it, and is perhaps slightly less thick and gelled. I would imagine that over time, as I continue to make the soured cream in this method, it might gel more and loose a little bite. The neato thing is, after my first batch, and moving onto my second, I didn’t need to add the vinegar. I just topped up with some cream (and no, I didn’t measure) and then left it out. I left it out half as long this time also, before putting in the ‘fridge. So far, I’ve used it with my Wildtree spices to make a potato topped, and to make a dip for tortilla chips. Both were gobbled up, which I would equate with success.

This process does make me wish I had local organic heavy cream available, but alas, I do not. Many of the organic brands are ultra-pasteurized, making them perhaps unsuitable for this task. So, I’m using a locally available regional-based brand of heavy cream for making this, and will call that good.

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You can tell a bit in this picture, I think, that the cream has really thickened. It ‘traces’ when you stir it and let it drip into the jar, that is, you can see the lines where it has dripped, maintained on the surface.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Update: I added pictures, and, wanted to give an update on subsequent batches….My third batch of the sour cream was really runny. I’m not quite sure why! I left a little bit, maybe 2 Tbl. in the bottom of the jar, and then added more heavy cream (country style) and 2 Tbl. of white vinegar. The resulting sour cream tasted the most like ‘boughten’ sour cream of any of the batches! Success! I will try the next batch without adding any vinegar, and if I get the runny problem again, will consider continuing to add between 1 and 2 Tbl. of vinegar to each batch, with the residual sour cream from the last batch left in the jar to help get things going.

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4 thoughts on “Fermented Things Friday: Easy Homemade Sour Cream

  1. Tammy says:

    Never even thought of this! Thanks. I do kefir and kombucha and as soon as cabbage rolls in, plan to try kimchi. Thanks for this.

    • Laura says:

      I have just had a block making kefir and kombucha lately….I’ll have to post about that soon — oooh, kimchi! I have never tried that! Have a recipe to share that you plan to use?

  2. Ashley says:

    Can you share what brand of cream you use (and where you get it)? I’m intrigued!

    • Laura says:

      I have been using Heavy Cream, Cass Clay brand, which can be purchased most places in the F-M area. I also have found that 1/4 C. of vinegar was quite a bit. In my most recent batch, I did 2 Tbl. instead, and this was in the jar that I had been making the sour cream in, so it had residual sour cream to help the process along. I liked both the taste and thickness of this one. Just like ‘boughten’ sour cream! 😉

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