GAPS Basics: Sour Cream
This is part 2 in my GAPS Basics series. See part 1 Basic Bone Broth Tutorial: Why and how here.
Time and again I see people asking how to make GAPS sour cream. They want to make it and yet they are nervous that the process is complicated or tricky. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is especially true if you are already used to fermenting other dairy (or non-dairy milks). The process is very similar.
Sour cream is a delicious addition to lots of recipes. It also can be whipped and sweetened and served with fruit or as a topping for pies and other deserts. It is an important part of the GAPS milk shake that is recommended to pregnant moms and those in need of gaining weight or who are struggling with constipation. In fact if you are struggling with constipation Dr Campbell-McBride recommends that your dairy consumption be limited to sour cream and butter until the problem resolves itself. The protein in regular kefir, yogurt and cheese can be very constipating for some individuals.
There are two ways to make GAPS sour cream. You can make it with a yogurt culture or with a kefir culture. I prefer kefir because it is easier but my husband far prefers the milder flavor of the yogurt so we make both here. Either one can be used in my Yummy Cheeseburger Soup recipe that I will be posting later this week.
Kefir Sour Cream
1/4 cup kefired milk
1 qt heavy cream. raw or pasteurized
If the cream is raw it may be too thick and you will have to thin it out with some milk. I find that using the very thick cream I get from my farmer (it looks like taffy in the jar) I need to mix it with an equal amount of milk to make it right. Just add enough milk till it is a thick liquid. Otherwise put the 1/4 cup of finished kefir and put it into a quart jar. Top off the jar with the cream and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. If I have extras I often throw in a kefir grain or two for good measure but that isn’t necessary. It will be very thick and tangy when it is finished.
Yogurt Sour Cream
1/4 cup yogurt or yogurt starter
1 qt heavy cream raw or pasteurized
thermometer (only needed for pasteurized cream)
Container for yogurt
Yogurt incubating device *
If you are using raw cream you may skip step one in this process. Some prefer to leave their cream raw for yogurt making while others don’t want the competing bacteria from the milk. It is essential that you do step one if your cream is pasteurized. Also you may need to thin your raw cream. The cream that I get is thick like taffy and needs an equal amount of raw milk to make it the right consistency. You may need to experiment a bit to figure out what is best with your cream. You want it to be a thicker than milk pour-able liquid.
1.Pour cream it into a pot. On the stove top warm the cream over medium heat till it is 160. Be careful to not boil it or you will end up with a mess. (ask me how I know…) Then allow the cream to cool down to 115 or below.
2.Mix the heavy cream with the 1/4 cup of fresh yogurt or yogurt starter (follow instructions on the starter for how much. Use the same as for fermenting milk). Place the cream into your yogurt maker or other incubator and let it ferment for 24 hours. The incubator will bring the cream up to temperature if you are starting with cold cream in about an hour or so.
* There are many methods for keeping yogurt at the right temperature for the full 24 hours required for GAPS yogurt. I have an Excalibur dehydrator that I use. Some yogurt makers will work well but you must be careful that it doesn’t get too hot over time and kill your culture. Some replace the light in their oven with a 60 watt bulb and put the yogurt in there with the light on to ferment. Some use a heating pad wrapped around a quart jar. Some have devised contraptions with a light bulb and a cardboard box. If you don’t have the money for the dehydrator method you will have to do some experimenting to find a method that works for you and your family.
If you are using the Excalibur many have found that raw yogurt needs to ferment a bit cooler than yogurt made from pasteurized milk. I set mine at 95 instead of the recommended 115.
If you are using a yogurt maker fill the jars with water and at the end of 24 hours check the waters temp. If it is under 115 you will be fine. Otherwise you may need to install a dimmer switch on the cord to make that maker work for this kind of yogurt.
For all other methods you may try it is best if you do a first run with plain water and take the temp after 24 hours to make sure it didn’t get too hot. This will prevent wasting milk on a failed fermenting attempt.
Please read these posts to learn what changes I have made in my yogurt fermenting.
I also use a Pickl-It for making Kefir.
The Great Yogurt Experiment
The Great Yogurt Experiment after One Week
The Great Yogurt Experiment Conclusion