Sour Cream / Creme Fraiche

Sour Cream

Sour Cream / Creme Fraiche

This is a classic example of one of those things I had been meaning to try for years but had kept putting off. Then when I was preparing for my month of eating locally, I realized that I had access to fabulous local cream but no local sour cream. Definitely time to try my own!

I can’t believe I put up with supermarket sour cream for so long. The home made stuff is soo much better.

And its a fabulous thing to have up your sleeve if you happen to have some cream that needs using up. Because of the acidity sour cream will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

I’ve given the quantities for 2 cups because that’s what I usually make, however you can easily scale up or down as needed.

Just make sure your yoghurt that you use as a starter has live cultures and isn’t sweetened or flavoured.

makes: 2 cups
takes: 24 hours

2 cups (500mL) whipping cream (35% milk fat)
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

1. Sterilize 2 glass jars and lids or as many as you’ll need to hold 2 cups of cream. Either pop them in the dishwasher on a hot setting or in the oven (100C / 212F) for 10 minutes. If I’m feeling lazy I either skip the sterilizing or just rinse the jars with boiling water from the kettle but sometimes the sour cream ends up being gassy.

2. Rinse a clean stainless steel saucepan or pyrex jug with boiling water.

3. Place cream in saucepan or jug and heat gently to 25C (77F). If you’re using a pyrex jug and pop the it in a saucepan of hot water to heat. I do this because my pots are cast iron and I don’t want the cream to be contaminated by the iron.

4. Remove from the heat, stir in yoghurt. Pour cream into your ‘sterilized’ jars and seal with the lids.

5. Place filled jars in a cooler bag. Fill another 1-2 jars with boiling water and pop them in the cooler bag to to keep everything warm (if it’s super hot where you are no need for this).

6. Stand for 12-24 hours or until the cream has thickened. Don’t share or stir as this will cause the gel to break and the cream to be runny.

7. Refrigerate and enjoy! Depending on your level of sterilization will keep in the fridge for a few weeks to a month.

Variations & Substitutions

different starter – yoghurt is the easiest but if you have a commercial yoghurt starter you can use that instead. Just use a similar quantity as you would for making yoghurt.

dairy-free – try this cashew ‘sour cream’ also called cashew nut sauce.

more tangy – keep warm for longer until you’re happy with the taste. The fermentation will continue in the fridge (much more slowly) so the flavour will only continue to taste more sour.

– again, ferment for longer. Next time pay more attention to keeping the ferment warm during the initial stages.

no temperature probe – you can wing it if you like and warm the cream until it feels a little cooler than body temperature. However if you’re interested in making yoghurt, deep frying or cooking meat, a digital probe is a great investment for taking the guesswork out. I have one probe that I use for everything.

clotted cream – use double cream (50% milk fat) instead of whipping cream.

Problem Solving Guide

cream fizzy / spritzy / gassy – you haven’t sterilized your equipment jars properly and have some yeast growing. If it tastes OK eat it quickly but if it’s starting to taste funky, best to throw it out. Next time be more vigilant with the sterilization step.

cream too runny – a sign your fermentation hasn’t produced enough acid. This could be the temperature wasn’t warm enough or your yoghurt starter didn’t contain live bugs. Warm back to 25C (77F) and add more starter and leave for another 12-24 hours, this time making sure its kept warm. The other less likely reason is that your culture was too hot. The lactic acid bacteria will be destroyed by anything above 46C (114F) so next time make sure you keep it below this.

mould growing – scrape them off and discard the top layer of your cream and eat the remainder quickly. Next time make sure you sterilize, especially your lids.

Prepare Ahead

A must! Keeps in the fridge for 2-4 weeks. Don’t freeze.

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