Did you know that you can make your own sour cream at home?
All you need is two ingredients – heavy cream (any kind is fine, but the less additives the better) and buttermilk with live active cultures.
In a clean, dry jar, pour 1 cup of fresh heavy cream from a newly opened carton and add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Let the jar sit on the counter undisturbed for 6 hours or overnight until the whole mixture thickens and sets.
The key success with this recipe is to use fresh buttermilk with live cultures AND to use heavy cream from a carton that has just been opened. If the carton has been previously opened, you will need to pasteurize your heavy cream to 165 degrees F and then let it cool to room temperature before adding your buttermilk. If you add the buttermilk to the cream while it is hot it will kill the cultures and you won’t end up with anything but a tangy heavy cream and you’ll be back where you started.
If you have access to raw milk you can also use a culture from some of your milk that has clabbered to make some wild sour cream. Simply follow the instructions above replacing the buttermilk with clabber. It works quite well and some people, like my son, tolerate the wild culture better than the cultures in the buttermilk. You can use the cream that you have skimmed from your fresh milk, or cream from the store, and both work fine to make this sour cream at home.
Once the cream has set, store in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.
You can also keep your culture going perpetually if you make a new batch within 7-10 days of culturing the last batch. And if you need extra, just double or triple the recipe. It works great!
Stay tuned for an allergy friend recipe for homemade, sugar and vinegar free ranch dressing….
This cheese couldn’t be easier. All you need is a gallon of whole milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized, a big pot, colander, tea towel or cheese cloth, lemon juice, and milk.
This recipe yields about 1 pound plus of cheese. If you want a smaller batch, this recipe can also be halved. Just buy a half gallon of milk instead.
1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
¼-½ cup acid such as lemon juice or vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Optional Ingredients: seasonings like pepper, garlic, chives, and parsley for a savory cheese, or your favorite jam for something sweet.
Cheesecloth or non-fuzzy tea towel
Large heat proof bowl
Heavy bottom pot (stainless steel, enameled cast iron, or Instant Pot)
Digital food thermometer (optional)
Pour 1 gallon of milk into an Instant Pot or heavy bottomed pot. Heat until the milk is steaming or until a thermometer reads 185 degrees F. If using the Instant Pot, pour the milk in and select the Yogurt setting. When the display reads Yogt, the milk has been sufficiently heated.
Add ¼ cup of your acid and stir. Let the milk sit for 10 minutes. If it doesn’t begin to separate and curdle, then check your temp and heat your milk so that it is a little hotter, or add 2 tbsp more acid at a time stirring to distribute the acid through the milk. Do this until you begin to see the curds separate into greenish looking whey.
Once you see the separation, let the curds sit in the whey for 10 minutes.
Line your colander with the cheesecloth or tea towel and pour the whey into the colander being careful not to burn yourself. There will be lots of whey. Be sure the bowl doesn’t overflow.
Once all the contents of the pot have been poured into the colander, move the colander over to the pot to continue draining until the desired texture has been achieved. If you wish a drier, more crumbly cheese, let it drain longer. If you desire a softer, more spreadable cheese, drain less.
Add salt and seasonings if desired and mix through the cheese.
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Consume within 7-10 days.
Soft Spreadable Cheese: Simply drain drain the whey, salt and either immediately warm, or cool and refrigerate until needed. If your cheese is too dry, simply add a little bit of the whey that you poured off and stir back in until the desired soft texture is reached.
Ricotta: Follow the instructions above but drain a little longer until the cheese is a little drier and the curd is crumbly.
Cream Cheese Variation: If you desire a smoother, cream cheese texture, run your cheese through the food processor until smooth. This can be used as a cream cheese substitute.If your cheese is too dry, and won’t blend to a smooth texture, simply add some of the whey back in until the desired texture is achieved.
This cheese is great spread on crackers with a little of your favorite jam to sweeten it up. 😊
Note: Leftover whey from cheese can be used in baking or to water acid loving plants.
Want to learn more….
Consider Homesteading Family’s Practical Homemade Dairy Course (affiliate link) if you’re interested in creating more homemade dairy products in your kitchen. Carolyn covers basic fresh dairy products that you can make in your kitchen like homemade coffee creamers and butter, and then she moves on to cultured dairy like buttermilk and sour cream, and finally easy and advanced cheeses. It’s definitely an all in one course. My family has benefited as now I can make cheese for my son that he can eat because I can control the cultures that are added. It’s the most comprehensive homemade dairy course out there.
My wheat sourdough starter (half all purpose and half whole wheat), my delicious fermented cranberry lemon honey, my gluten-free sourdough starter, and my homemade wild sour cream.
My family and I hit the road this summer for a 3,000 mile road trip to visit family, and these little guys came along for the ride.
I packed them carefully in my electric cooler and at each place we stay I’ve been able to bake bread for my family, cranberry lemon scones for the aunts, uncles, and cousins, GF bread for my SIL, and most importantly, I can keep my clabber culture going so that I can make cheese once we get home. It needs to be fed weekly and would have certainly died while we were away if I had left it at home.
Ferments can behave differently during the summer. Changes in temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, elevation, all affect how your cultures perform and you need to know them well enough to adjust your technique accordingly. At the lake where we are at a higher elevation than at home in New York, my sourdough and yeast breads rise faster, and my clabber takes longer to culture because of the cooler temperatures. Each ferment has a personality. You have to get to know it and adjust how you use it accordingly. For example, I have to watch the rise on my breads much more closely and reduce the amount of yeast that I use. I have to allow more time for my clabber to set up for fresh homemade sour cream.
I plan to start some new cheeses when I get home. And you’ll probably see some new fermented vegetables on my counter once I get back to my garden.
I have a wild clabber culture that I have kept going this last year with one batch of raw milk that my in-laws were able to bring me. I make a little batch of wild sour cream with it every week. If we don’t eat the sour cream, I use it up in baking to keep the culture going. I even travelled with my culture while we were away this summer to try and keep it alive since it needs to be cultured weekly.
My summer goal is to use this wild culture to make hard cheese for my son. If I had a regular source for raw milk, this would be easy. But I don’t. So my aim is to use store bought milk and my wild culture to achieve a cheese that my son can eat since store bought cultured dairy products and cheese brother him. Yet he does well on raw milk and my wild clabber culture.
We’ve done without cheese for so long, I’m really hoping that I can develop a successful recipe using my wild culture and store milk so that we can add back in some of our favorite family recipes. Let’s face it, pizza and enchiladas just aren’t the same without cheese.
So stay tuned as I post my progress. And I’m the meantime, if you’d like to delve into the world of homemade dairy, check out Homesteading Family’sHomemade Dairy Masterclass (affiliate link). It’s how I’ve learned and you definitely don’t have to have a milk animal to make all the recipes in the class. Everything I’ve made so far – butter, dairy creamer, sour cream, wild buttermilk, feta, ricotta, hard cheese, have been made all using store bought milk. And there are so many recipes that I haven’t tried yet. It’s definitely chock full of content.