Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Making Sour Cream

One of the big things that's missing here on Leyte is sour cream. There are so many things that just beg for that off-tasting dairy ambrosia. Too many things to ignore its absence.

In the past, I've used UHT milk. Around here they call it "fresh milk". Really, it's anything but fresh. If kept sealed in its carton, the UHT milk has a six-month shelf life. Once opened, 4-5 days maximum in a cold fridge.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar


I used powdered milk to make 2 cups of full cream milk. We don't have fresh whole milk available here. So, powdered was the best option.

Then, I added 5 tablespoons of white vinegar to the milk. Stirred well. Then, put into a covered bowl for 12 hours. This long period allows the curds (solids) to separate from the whey (liquid).

Finally, I poured the resulting curds and whey through a fine mesh strainer (a permanent coffee filter works very well for this). Let the milk-and-vinegar mixture sit in the strainer for 6 to 12 hours, depending on the consistency you want with your sour cream.

When it's ready, scoop out of the strainer, put into a sealable container and store in your fridge.

Test Results

Batch Alpha had 3 tablespoons of vinegar per cup of milk. Batch Beta was 2:1. Batch Delta was 2.5:1. Batch Delta's ratio is the same ratio as the previous favorite mixture when using UHT (ultra-high temperature pasteurized) milk.

Primary Test Group: Mostly Batch Delta with a couple liking Batch Beta.

Test Group C: Batch Delta with a single Batch Beta preference.

Test Group J: Batch Delta.

Test Group M: Rained out. I was riding over there on my motorcycle and the sky decided that the time was right to dump gallons of water on my raincoat-less self. Oh well, next time.

Potential Improvements

When one makes yogurt, the milk is heated before processing. I'm wondering if heating the milk for the sour cream would help in the process. Something to try at least.


Looks like I have a better sour cream substitute than before. Good. Easy enough to make, just have to ensure that I make enough in advance.

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