I do not DIY without a reason. If I’m going to make my own version of a commercially available product, it either needs to taste better than its store-bought counterpart, cost me fewer dollars, or align with my particular brand of laziness. This is why I don’t make my own ketchup—it’s time consuming, not much cheaper and the end result is infinitely inferior to Heinz, which is a perfect sauce. I thought I might have similar feelings about making my own sour cream, but I’m not so ignorant anymore.
Homemade sour cream whips arse, as it turns out, and it is shockingly easy to make. You simply combine two types of dairy—buttermilk and heavy cream—in a very clean jar and leave it alone. After a day or two, depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you have sour cream.
Now, let me say that I am a fan of all soured creams—unless they are low- or no-fat, because it should be illegal to make a low- or no-fat version of any product with “cream” in the name (including ice cream). I enjoy a dollop of Daisy, and I wouldn’t be above taking a line of the Taco Bell stuff straight from the gun should the occasion present itself. But this homemade stuff is on another level.
Both flavours—“sour” and “cream”—are present, though they show up in inverse order. You’re drawn in, one could say “seduced,” by a soft, almost sweet creaminess that lingers until—BAM!—there’s that wonderful lactic acid, reminding you that this is not for scones, no, no. (Actually, I would put this on a scone, but it would be an extreme scone experience.) The consistency is somewhere between the commercial stuff and Mexican crema, with little lumps that say “Hey, buddy, you made me.”
I am not a woman of breeding. I’ll often lick excess sour cream off a spoon before tossing it in the sink, but never before I have eaten multiple spoonfuls of sour cream in a row, as if it were yogurt. This stuff is beyond nachos, beyond chips, beyond dip. If I had some fresh berries, I’d eat it over fresh berries. I would eat this stuff on a slice of lemon pound cake. It can go savoury or sweet, is what I’m telling you.
But what I should be telling you is how to make it. That’s what I get paid to do, after all. To make your own beautiful jar of sour cream, you will need:
A glass jar with a clean lid
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk (Do not try to substitute regular milk and vinegar here; I tried that and it never thickened.)
Rinse the jar with water then microwave it for a minute to sterilise. Let it dry on a clean dish towel. Add the cream and buttermilk to the jar, close it and shake to combine, but do not shake the jar so much that you whip the cream. Set the jar down in a fairly warm part of your kitchen and walk away for at least 24 hours, though if your kitchen is cool, it may take 48. Give it a stir and store your sour cream in the fridge if you don’t plan to eat it immediately. (You should eat some immediately.)