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

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.

Buttermilk

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.

Cooking – Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

There are many adults, even among cooks, who don’t know the difference between sour cream and yogurt. As such, we are here to clarify this common misconception.

There are quite a few dairy products that are white and sour, as such, it is not so strange that there is oftentimes quite a lot of confusion. And if we are completely honest, sour cream and yogurt can be hard to differentiate from the distance. However, taking a closer look, they do differ in texture, smell, taste, and, most importantly, in their behavior when used in cooking.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a fermented dairy cream. By introducing a specific type of bacterial culture to the dairy cream, the fermentation process is initiated. During the process, bacteria produce acid, flavor, and add thickness. The process is stopped by re-pasteurizing the cream and essentially killing the bacteria.

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

What is Yogurt?

The yogurt-making process is very similar to the one described above; however, the initial ingredient is not dairy cream but milk and different type of bacteria are used. In addition, the types of bacteria used to make yogurt don’t require re-pasteurization.

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

The Main Difference Between Sour Cream and Yogurt

Yogurt is very high in nutritional value compared to sour cream. It also contains way less fat and is as such a healthier choice. On average, there is about 10% of fat in yogurt and twice as much in sour cream.

Cold Dishes

As yogurt and sour cream are rather similar, they are interchangeable when applied in cold dishes or used as a garnish. Though, you should keep in mind that yogurt is normally tangier than sour cream.

Cooking

When the thermal process takes place, things are not that simple and yogurt and sour cream can’t be interchanged as freely as with cold dishes. Greek yogurt is still a good substitution, as long as you pay extra attention when simmering it.

Other Sour Cream Substitutions

Aside from Greek Yogurt, you can use buttermilk or soymilk and thicken them with softened butter to replace sour cream. Cottage cheese and cream cheese are other alternatives. Another interesting option is unsweetened evaporated milk with vinegar or lemon juice. There are also vegan sour cream alternatives available or can be made at home from scratch.

YOGURT MAKING – How to Make Yogurt From Unpasteurized (Raw) Milk

Making yogurt with unpasteurized raw milk is pretty much the same as making it from pasteurized milk you might bite the store. However, there are a couple of very important points that need to be made in the interest of your own health and safety:

  • first, you need to be sure that you get your fresh raw milk from a reputable source that you trust.
  • Second, you need to be sure the milk comes from healthy animals that are not taking antibiotics are being treated for some form of disease or illness.
  • Lastly, unpasteurized raw milk must be brought to the boiling point and pasteurize before making yogurt from it otherwise any number of on healthy bacteria can be in that milk, including such nasty critters as E. coli.

I grew up on a home farm where my mother always kept small stable milk cows, and we always drink our milk raw. It certainly didn’t do anything to us except keep us healthy, but my mother and all of us were exceptionally careful about the milking process, collection, and the immediate refrigeration are fraught raw milk. If we were ever in doubt about the safety or quality of the milk or the and health of the animal came from that milk would have been thrown out without question. My mother had a big emphasis on “when in doubt throw it out” the rule which is still rule I live by today regarding all food.

So, here is a quick outline of the process for making yogurt from unpasteurized raw milk.

What You Need:

  • Milk – You can make yogurt from whole milk or skimmed (cream removed) milk fresh raw milk.
  • Starter culture – The options available for your starter culture include powdered starter culture, store-bought yogurt, or homemade yogurt from a previous batch.
  • Yogurt Incubator – The incubator is important for maintaining your milk and culture mix at about 110 F to 115 F for close to five to eight hours. Therefore, options available to you include a yogurt maker, thermos, or heat keeper jugs. You maintain the needed temperatures for the required amount of time, and you ensure equal distribution of heat throughout the incubator to prevent the occurrence of some hot and cool spots.
  • Other requirements – include heavy, large pots, candy thermometer (preferably one with a clip for attachment), large spoon or whisk, storage containers, cheesecloth, colander, ladle, both large and small bowls.

How to make yogurt from unpasteurized milk

1. Clean all your tools

Did you know that you actually need a bacterium known as Lactobacillus bulgaricus to make good yogurt? Keeping in mind all the microorganisms, including other bacteria, present all around us, it is always advisable to wash and even sterilize all your yogurt making equipment and surfaces to avoid introducing other unwanted bacteria. Some clean their tools with boiling water, but thorough handwashing is also enough.

2. Heat the milk

— Important —

Unpasteurized (raw) milk must be heated to near the to the boiling point, not boiled, to kill the bacteria.

—————————-

Additionally, heating the milk for some extra minutes helps in concentrating it so that your yogurt can be thicker.

3. Cool the milk back

After heating your milk to the boiling point, cool it back down to 110 F-115 F. Make use of your thermometer to track the temperatures. Also, keep stirring to ensure even cooling.

4. Add your starter culture

When using a powdered starter, it is okay to whisk it in according to the amount specified on the packaging. However, when using yogurt as a starter culture, it is advisable to first isolate a small amount of the milk and keep adding it to the starter culture and stir until all of it has been mixed. This is because adding cold yogurt directly to the milk will slow down the incubation by suddenly dropping the temperatures too much.

5. Incubate

Use your ladle to transfer the milk and culture mix to your incubator of choice. The main importance of incubation is to maintain your milk and culture mix at the stated temperature for 5 to 10 hours undisturbed. However, keep in mind that shorter incubation periods under cooler temperatures will produce sweeter, thinner yogurt while longer and hotter incubation periods will produce tarter and thicker yogurt.

6. Check if it is done

After the first 5 hours, it is okay to start checking hourly if your yogurt is done. When ready, your yogurt should start looking firm. Moreover, it will get more acidic with each passing hour.

7. Store your yogurt

Once your yogurt is done, it is okay to put it in the fridge. It will remain safe and usable for about two weeks. As always, the “when in doubt throw it out,” the rule applies.

Related References

YOGURT MAKING – Making Greek Yogurt At Home

If you’ve been wondering how to make Greek yogurt at home, this article is for you. In it, we dive into the steps to take to make rich, creamy, and delicious Greek yogurt for less than the price commercial alternatives. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it!!

Ingredients you’ll need for two servings:

  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1/4 plain yogurt with active culture or yogurt starter culture (according to package directions)

Active Preparation Time:

  • 40 minutes

Ready In:

  • 18 hours

How to make Greek Yogurt in 3 Easy Steps:

Step #1 – Heat the milk

  • Heat your milk in a non-stick pot over medium or medium-low heat.
  • Stir frequently, until the milk starts steaming, but before it starts bubbling.
  • Use a candy or instant-read thermometer to determine when it registers 180F.

Caution

  • Don’t leave the milk unattended as it is likely to boil over quickly, stick, or burn.

Optional

  • If working with pasteurized milk, this step is not strictly required but may impact the texture of your yogurt.  At a minimum, your yogurt should be brought to room temperature before starting the process.

Step #2 – Make yogurt

  • Get a clean 5-8-cup container that is heat-safe and pour the milk into it.
  • Leave it to stand for a while, stirring it frequently.
  • Once it has cooled to about 110 F – 115 F, it’s time to combine the yogurt with 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl or yogurt starter culture.
  • Then stir the mixture into the rest of the warm milk and cover the container.
  • Place in an incubator and leave to stand until mixture is thickened and tangy (8-12 hours).

Step #3 – Refrigerate and Filter

  • Line a strainer or funnel with either a coffee filter or two layers of cheesecloth. I use a clean square of an old white tee-shirt for this, and it works just fine.  This is what will allow the liquid to drain out of the yogurt while leaving the milk solids behind.
  • Fill the funnel or strainer with the yogurt.
  • Cover the top of the strainer with cellophane wrap. Make sure that you get a tight seal.
  •  Place the strainer over a large bowl with space between the bottom of your strainer and the bottom of the bowl to capture the liquid that is going to drip out.
  • Put the strainer with the bowl under it into your refrigerate.
  • Let yogurt set in the strainer for eight hours or more, longer if you want your Greek yogurt thicker. I usually check the catch bowl and empty a few times to keep too much liquid from accumulating. The longer your yogurt sits in your refrigerator, the thicker your Greek yogurt will be. But don’t leave your yogurt too long or you will have yogurt cheese with a text similar to cream cheese.
  • That’s it; now you can remove your Greek yogurt and store your Greek yogurt in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Conclusion

These are the concise steps to follow to make Greek yogurt easily at home.

Related References

YOGURT MAKING – How to Make Yogurt From Pasteurized Milk

These days, a quick trip to the grocery store will reveal an ever-increasing number of yogurt flavors. So, why learn to make your own yogurt when you can easily rush to the nearest grocery store and grab several cups? Well, for starters, doing it yourself gives you the chance to learn many facts about yogurt. For example, did you know that pasteurized milk makes the best yogurt? If you didn’t, now you do, and here is a complete guide on how to make yogurt from pasteurized milk.

What You Need:

  • Milk – You can make yogurt from whole milk, 2% skimmed milk, organic and local milk. However, pasteurized milk makes the best yogurt, and that is what we shall use in this discussion.
  • Starter culture – The options available for your starter culture include powdered starter culture, store-bought yogurt, or homemade yogurt from a previous batch.
  • Yogurt Incubator – The incubator is important for maintaining your milk and culture mix at about 110 F to 115 F for close to five hours. Therefore, options available to you include a yogurt maker, thermos, or heat keeper jugs. You can also use several mason jars filled with hot water and placed in a cooler. Feel free to get creative as long as you maintain the needed temperatures for the required amount of time, and you ensure equal distribution of heat throughout the incubator to prevent the occurrence of some hot and cool spots.
  • Other requirements – include heavy, large pots, candy thermometer (preferably one with a clip for attachment), large spoon or whisk, storage containers, cheesecloth, colander, ladle, both large and small bowls.

How to make yogurt from pasteurized milk

1. Clean all your tools

Did you know that you actually need a bacterium known as Lactobacillus bulgaricus to make good yogurt? Keeping in mind all the microorganisms, including other bacteria, present all around us, it is always advisable to wash and even sterilize all your yogurt making equipment and surfaces to avoid introducing other unwanted bacteria. Some clean their tools with boiling water, but thorough handwashing is also enough.

2. Heat the milk

While it is possible to make yogurt without heating the milk first, it is always advisable to first heat your pasteurized milk to the boiling point. This will help get rid of any bacteria present. Moreover, heating the milk for some extra minutes helps in concentrating it so that your yogurt can be thicker.

3. Cool the milk back

After heating your milk to the boiling point, cool it back down to 110 F-115 F. Make use of your thermometer to track the temperatures. You can also use an ice bath to speed up the process. Also, keep stirring to ensure even cooling.

4. Add your starter culture

When using a powdered starter, it is okay to whisk it in according to the amount specified on the packaging. However, when using yogurt as a starter culture, it is advisable to first isolate a small amount of the milk and keep adding it to the starter culture and stir until all of it has been mixed. This is because adding cold yogurt directly to the milk will slow down the incubation by suddenly dropping the temperatures too much.

5. Incubate

Use your ladle to transfer the milk and culture mix to your incubator of choice. The main importance of incubation is to maintain your milk and culture mix at the stated temperature for 5 to 10 hours undisturbed. However, keep in mind that shorter incubation periods under cooler temperatures will produce sweeter, thinner yogurt while longer and hotter incubation periods will produce tarter and thicker yogurt.

6. Check if it is done

After the first 5 hours, it is okay to start checking hourly if your yogurt is done. When ready, your yogurt should start looking firm. Moreover, it will get more acidic with each passing hour.

7. Store your yogurt

Once your yogurt is done, it is okay to put it in the fridge. It will be sweeter within the first few days, but after that, it will start tasting sour over time. It will remain good for about two weeks.

Final Words on How to Make Yogurt from Pasteurized Milk

While pasteurized milk makes the best yogurt, use ultra-pasteurized milk does not culture as easily as regular pasteurized milk and some people have reported failed incubation when using ultra-pasteurized milk to make yogurt.  Having given this advice, I will admit that I have not had this problem and I have been using ultra-pasteurized milk to make yogurt for years.

Related References

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is milk, which has been fermented using bacteria referred to as yogurt cultures. When yogurt cultures ferment the lactose in milk, it produces lactic acid which works on milk protein resulting in a characteristic tart flavor and texture that separate yogurt from other dairy products.

Although most yogurt available globally is made using cow milk, yogurt can also be made using milk from goats, buffalos, camels, yaks, ewes, and mares. The milk may or may not be homogenized or pasteurized. 

The process of making yogurt, as well as the milk used makes it possible to have different types of yogurt. 
Some countries have regulations governing the number of bacteria (colony-forming units of bacteria) that should be contained in yogurt. In China, for instance, yogurt should have 1 million CFU+ of lactobacillus bacteria per milliliter.

To make yogurt, the milk must be heated to approximately 185 F or 85 C. Heating is necessary for denaturing milk proteins and prevent them from forming curds. The milk is then cooled to about 113 F or 45 C before the yogurt culture is added. The temperature is maintained for 4 -12 hours to enable fermentation. The resulting yogurt is usually sweetened and flavored to remove its natural sourness. 

Related References