Cooking – Is Sour Cream Yogurt?

bowl of sour cream and fresh vegetables
bowl of sour cream and fresh vegetables

No, it isn’t. Sour cream is an ingredient that was invented in Eastern and Central Europe that is made when dairy cream is mixed with bacteria that produce lactic acid. This creates a thick tart-like substance. It is used for dips, to thicken sauces, garnish soups and potatoes, and come up with a creamy frosting. Usually, it is used just when a meal is about to be ready.

On the other hand, yogurt is obtained when there is the fermentation of certain microorganisms found in milk. There are many types of yogurt including low-fat, no-fat, frozen, drinking, creamy, bio, and Greek yogurt.

How Does Sour Cream Differ from Yogurt?

Sour cream is different from yogurt in a few ways, such as how they are made. While sour cream is made up of cream while yogurt is made up of milk. Both sour cream and yogurt need bacteria to be created. However, the types of bacteria each one uses also differ.

Bacteria used to turn cream into sour cream: Streptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc dextranicum, Streptococcus lactis, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and Streptococcus diacetilactis.

Bacteria used to turn milk into yogurt: Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus bugaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus helveticus.

Sour cream is used as a condiment while yogurt is used as normal food to be eaten.

Yogurt dates back to more ancient times than sour cream.

Pasteurization is enough when making yogurt, while re-pasteurization is required to make sour cream.

What Are Some Common Cooking Substitutes for Sour Cream?

As said before, sour cream has many uses in the kitchen such as serving as a condiment for cooked and baked foods. Given its high-fat content, taste, and dairy content, some people may decide to use cooking substitutes for sour cream such as:

  • Greek yogurt (lower in calories and fat than sour cream)
  • Cottage cheese (it has fewer calories and fat as well as more protein than sour cream)
  • Creme fraiche (similar to sour cream but it has a milder taste)
  • Buttermilk (it has a similar taste to sour cream, but it is liquid in nature so it can be used as dressings)

Cooking – Sour cream alternatives

Sour cream is one of the most amazing ingredients that can be used in many recipes. On certain occasions, a person will not prefer this ingredient like in the case of milk allergy or lactose intolerance. There are other reasons like the unavailability of sour cream. If you do not want to use sour cream, there are many best sour cream substitute alternatives.


Yogurt can be used as a substitute for sour cream in many recipes. There are only two issues which include taste and texture difference. Yogurt is not sour enough and not as thick as sour cream. Using the Greek yogurt and adding vinegar in the yogurt can resolve this issue.

Cream cheese

This is a really good alternative to the sour cream because it has a familiar taste. You just have to take the cream cheese and blend it in a way that it gets the consistency of sour cream. You have to be careful as you should keep the consistency constant.

Coconut milk

It has a good consistency and vegan people can also use it. The only exception is the taste. You have to add vinegar or lemon juice to get a similar taste. If you are allergic to milk, this can provide good plant-based fatty acids also.

Soy cream

People who are allergic to milk and want something with more protein content, they can use soy cream. There are certain Soy-based creams available in the market. You can use the same amount of soy cream in place of sour cream.


There is no special advantage of using buttermilk instead of sour cream. It is only good because it is commonly available in Asia and it is natural. You can use this ingredient when sour cream is not available. You have to avoid the buttermilk also if you have a milk allergy.

Making Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice is always a useful thing to have around the house, especially in the fall when pumpkin and winter squash are cheat and abundant.  Or if you are like me and simply like to eat a pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard most any time of the year.  However, I find making your Pumpkin spice is best because you can adjust your spice volume to meet your taste and dietary needs.  Ginger something gives people trouble with heartburn and I find that orange zest gives the spice blend and nice citrus edge which appeals to many.  Here is a basic Pumpkin spice recipe, but feel free to experiment with it to best accommodate your family’s tastes.  

Pumpkin Pie Spice Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger or ground dehydrated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Spice Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl whisk together thoroughly.
  • Pour the pumpkin pie spice into an airtight container
  • store the sealed pumpkin pie spice container in a cool dry place.
  • The pumpkin pie spice should be used within 6 months for best results.

Cook’s Note

  • I use my coffee bean grinder to make the ground orange zest, which works fine if you start with either purchased or home make dried orange zest. however, you do want to make sure that all the orange zest is finely ground without large bits, so, it will distru=bute evenly in your recipe.

Cooking – Defining Powdered Erythritol

Have you ever heard about powdered erythritol or erythritol and wondered what it is? If so, then here is everything you need to know about it, and why it has become such a popular mention in recent time.

What Is Powdered Erythritol?

Powdered erythritol typically represents a zero-calorie sugar substitute that is used in sweetening just about anything! Usually, it is a distinctly fine powder boasting similar texture qualities to icing sugar and therefore dissolves quite easily. Powdered erythritol is ideal for numerous recipes that requite fine and faster dissolving sugar. Also, it is perfect for ice cream, meringues, icing sugar, and may also be utilized for any recipes like with granulated erythritol.

It is derived from the compound erythritol, which is a naturally derived extract from plants and fruits. It moves around your body undigested. As such, erythritol has no effect on the levels of blood glucose in most individuals and boasts zero net carbohydrates, subsequently making it an ideal sugar alternative for ‘keto’ (low carb) dieters, diabetics, or anyone looking to curb calories. Erythritol is used in various products like gum, candy, beverages, chocolate, jam, bars, and jellies.

This sweetener can also be found in granulated form for cooking and baking at home. The unique qualities of this compound render it an ideal sugar substitute, although there are various advantages and disadvantages before deciding to use in your diet. 

How is it Made?

Powdered erythritol is typically made through the fermentation of plant sugars, often from corn. The sugar is usually mixed with water, after which it is filtered, and finally fermented with a natural culture and subsequently dried. A distinct crystallized substance is the final product-usually either in powder form or in granule form-which tastes and resembles table sugar.

How Is It Used In Cooking And Baking?

Powdered erythritol is used just like table sugar in virtually anything. It has an almost equivalent sweetness of table sugar (about 70 %) hence 100g of sugar = 130g powdered erythritol.

Its granulated form usually remains grainy unless it is dissolved in water. Typically, it is used for cooking and baking, although there are several factors to consider before using it.

When it comes to baking and cooking, you can use a series of simple steps when using this sweetener.

• First, start by choosing your recipe. An excellent option is muffins and quick bread; although powdered erythritol also substitutes effectively in cooked fruit desserts like cobblers and pies. Some other possibilities include cakes, brownies, and cookies. 

• Decide whether you would like to substitute all the erythritol, or subsequently use a combination of the powdered erythritol with other sweeteners. Generally, powdered erythritol mixes with refined and natural sugars, and usually produces a more satisfactory result when it is combined with sugar. 

• Calculate the amount of erythritol to be used: as earlier mentioned, ‘erythritol’ is about 70% as sweet as regular sugar. Use between a quarter to a third more than the amount of sugar you would otherwise use, to taste.

What is it commonly substituted for when cooking or baking? 

Since erythritol generally boasts sweetness level, which is almost equivalent to regular sugar, it is used in baking and cooking. Powdered erythritol can partially substitute sugar or various artificial sweeteners for numerous uses. Nonetheless, some few considerations to remember when using the sweetener include:

• When powdered erythritol is used plain, the sweetener usually produces a cooling effect in the mouth.

• What’s more, despite having the tenderizing effects common with sugar, the results will not be precisely similar. 

Benefits of powdered erythritol

Unlike other ‘sugar alcohols,’ Erythritol functions quite differently when in the body. Its unique qualities offer certain benefits in comparison to using either table sugar or other sweeteners. 

In comparison to other ‘sugar alcohols,’ erythritol features a relatively smaller molecule. A substantial amount of this compound is absorbed into the bloodstream-between 60%-90%-although it is then exerted in your urine. As such, it results in significantly lesser intestinal distress compared to other common sugar alcohols. 

Powdered erythritol might also be much better for your teeth compared to other sweeteners. In fact, a 2016 study as outlined on Caries Research suggested that it might even aid in the prevention of cavities.
Powdered erythritol also provides several other benefits, including:

  • Dissolving fast
  • It is extremely fine 
  • Zero calories
  • No active carbohydrates
  • No aspartame
  • No tooth decay
  • Stomach friendly
  • Ideal for diabetics and ketone diets
  • Has no effect on levels of insulin or blood sugar

Safety: does powdered erythritol have any side effects?

Although powdered erythritol works well for some individuals, it has several drawbacks, side effects, and safety concerns. 

First, while powdered erythritol can aid some individuals in minimizing sugar intake or calorie consumption; it may not offer that much of an effect, with some studies even suggesting that it might not even reduce sugar intake or satiety

Also, while powdered erythritol is considered to lead to fewer gastrointestinal issues for numerous individuals, it might, however, result in some discomfort for various consumers.

Also, powdered erythritol has been proven to cause various side effects like stomachache, headache, digestive upset, diarrhea, and bloating.

Nonetheless, for safety precautions, you must consult your physician before incorporating this sweetener into your diet, especially if you have any medical conditions.


Powdered erythritol is an ideal natural sugar alternative. With about 70% of the sweetness of regular sugar, this sweetener has virtually all the distinct taste, with no guilt whatsoever. In fact, you can finally substitute ordinary sugar in baking and cooking without ruining your recipes! Boasting no sour aftertaste, no tooth decay risk, or any artificial flavors, this unique stomach-friendly sweetener is the ideal sugar substitute

Steak Seasoning Mix

I find that many commercial seasoning mixes rely on the use of too much salt, so, with a little experimentation, I have settled on this seasoning mix as my go-to mix for beef; especially, for steak, roast beef, and finger streaks.

Steak Seasoning Mix Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Bay leaf (crushed or ground small)
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sodium free beef bouillon powder (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons ground white or black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons paprika (optional)

Steak Seasoning Mix Directions

  • Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Store in a small sealed glass container on a cool dark cabinet or pantry shelf.
  • The mix can safely be stored for three or four months.

Steak Seasoning Mix Cook’s Note

  • White pepper is milder for those people who find the flavor of black pepper to strong.

Related References

Substitutes for Vanilla

Fresh vanilla beans
Fresh vanilla beans

Natural vanilla bean gives yourrecipe a richer and more unique flavor, especially if it is the primary flavoring additive. However, they are costly as their production is labor intensive. There are several equivalents you may use if you do not want to use the vanilla beans, the vanilla extract or the vanilla beans paste.

 Vanilla Sugar
 Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar resembles the ordinary sugar just that it is flavored with vanilla. It is easier common to notice fine vanilla beans particles in the sugar. When preparing desserts, you can add 1-2 teaspoon of vanilla sugar to give you the same flavor as a vanilla bean.

Fresh honey and honeycombs
Fresh honey and honeycombs


Honey serves as an excellent substitute for vanilla extract in your recipe. You should, however, be very careful to minimize the amount of sugar so as not to over sweeten it. Too much sugar added to the honey may also make your dessert stickier and hence unpleasant.

Bourbon on wooden barrel
Bourbon on wooden barrel


Bourbon is more common in baking as it enhances the texture and moisture content of the recipe. It is matured in oak giving it a vanilla-like flavor which is suitable for boosting the flavor when baking.

Almond first extract
Almond first extract

Almond Extract

Almond extract has an aromatic flavor similar to that present in vanilla beans making it a suitable. It makes more economic sense as it has the same results, but it’s affordable.


Spices are great alternatives as they are cheaper and more durable as compared to vanilla extract. The most common spices that can serve as a replacement for vanilla include cloves and cinnamon.

Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup serves as an excellent alternative for vanilla extract as they have an almost similar taste.The fantastic thing about it is it can be used for a variety of foods including cakes, preparing French toasts and also waffles to enhance their flavors.


Culinary skills are improved by adding a little creativity. Your recipe does not have to be dull as a result of lacking vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. The above alternatives you will do just fine, if not better!

Related References

Find Out Which Thickener to Use

Corn Starch
Corn Starch

Do you need a thickener to make your meal tastier? We have a solution. In this article, you’ll find out how to make your soup, pie filling or sauce creamy and thick. Not all thickeners provide the same result, and that’s why you need to choose smartly. These solutions will make your meal more structured and way much better.


In many cuisines, the flour represents the great thickener. The reasons are numerous here. Flour is a great asset in French cuisine, and they use a combination of flour and fat, which is very effective for making soups and sauces. If you cook them lightly, you’ll remove the flour taste, and the food tastes better at the end. On the other hand, if you cook the flour and the fat for longer, you’ll make a dark roux that is ideal for stews.

Using of flour is also effective when you dredge stew meats in flour because it makes the liquid thicker as you cook the meat. As a result, your meal will be much tastier. You can also use flour in stews, gravies, and dairy-based sauces, as the flour thickens the structure of the meal and it does not lose its thickening power even if you simmer the meal for longer.

How to use flour

If you want to get the best thickening from flour, use the twice larger quantity than cornstarch. Flour requires more quantity than cornstarch, and it is best to use all-purpose flour since it has more starch content than whole-wheat flours.


You must be careful when you use cornstarch for your meal. It is a completely pure starch that combines good with the liquid, but you must know the right proportions. Add equal parts cold liquid and cornstarch when you want to make a slurry. After that, you are good to cook the meal for a short time, because longer cooking will break down the cornstarch and your meal will be full of unwanted particles. Therefore, avoid long cooking and do not use acid ingredients, like lemon, tomatoes or vinegar, since the sauce can lose the consistency.

How to use cornstarch

To make the right substitution, use half of the portion than the flour portion and add it to the meal. Make sure that you don’t freeze the meal made with cornstarch, because it may become spongy.


As a root starch from a West Indian plant, the arrowroot has become a great substitution for thickeners. It is a gluten-free option that is better than cornstarch in many ways. Unlike cornstarch, you can cook with arrowroot even if you add acidic ingredients to your meal, and you can also freeze the food at the end. Similar to the cornstarch, you must make a slurry before adding the arrowroot, but the cooking process could be much shorter. When all these characteristics combine, arrowroot creates a very pleasant texture and silky mouthfeel.

How to use arrowroot

Use the equal portion as the cornstarch when you add the arrowroot to your meal.

Flax seeds

When you ground the flax seeds into a powder, you get a very fine texture that is full of fibers. Thanks to the high content of fibers, flax seeds represent the great thickening substance. It burns very fast, and you can cook the roux for less than one minute to get the thickening power. When combined with water, it creates a gel, which is ideal for smoothies.

How to use flax seeds

To make a good substitution in a roux, use the double quantity of flax seeds when comparing to flour, or take a half of the portion of flax seeds when comparing to cornstarch quantity. Flax seeds are grittier than cornstarch, and that’s why half of the quantity will be quite enough.

Related References