Sour cream is cultured or acidified light cream. Rich and delicious, it’s a traditional addition to Eastern European dishes, a common topping for potatoes and a great addition to a broad array of dishes.
Sour Cream Facts
- Cultured sour cream is made by adding a culture of Streptococcus lactis to pasteurized cream and incubating at 72°F until the desired sour flavor and thickness emerge.
- The culture produces lactic acid, which is responsible for sour cream’s thickness and characteristic flavor.
- Manufacturers may use an acid, such as vinegar, instead of lactic acid cultures to produce acidified sour cream.
- Nonfat milk solids and stabilizers may also be added to commercial sour cream.
Sour Cream Storage and Handling
- Store sour cream in a refrigerator set at 38°–40°F in the container in which it was sold.
- If separation occurs, gently stir the liquid back into the sour cream.
- If any mold forms on the sour cream’s surface, discard it immediately.
Cookingwith Sour Cream
- The richness and acidity of sour cream creates a moist and tender texture in baked goods.
- Use sour cream as the base for dips and dressings, or as a guest-favorite potato topping.
- Sour cream produces tangy, smooth soups and sauces.
- The relatively low milkfat in sour cream —18% to 20%—makes it susceptible to curdling at high cooking temperatures, so add it to hot dishes as late during preparation as possible, heating gradually and stirring gently.
- Although reduced-fat sour cream can substitute for regular sour cream in some baked goods and hot dishes, nonfat sour cream performs best in cold dishes.