Self-Sufficient Living | Homesteading | Gardening

Easy Dairy Free, Nut Free Sour Cream (or Yogurt or Cream Cheese…)

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If you’ve been dairy free for any length of time you’ve probably tried and failed to find a decent substitution for sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese. There’s some okay ones you can get at the supermarket but usually they’re full of tapioca starch and a bunch of things that should never be in food like titanium dioxide or rancid vegetable oils (canola, soybean,etc.).

As a recent dairy free convert I had to find something to replace my beloved sour cream. Something I could actually EAT and enjoy. It had to be tart but not too tart. Thick, rich, blah blah. I didn’t even like low fat sour cream and that has actual dairy in it.

Then I started reading the recipes online and almost all of them had cashews or something in them. I’m trying to keep my nut intake at a normal level so that was out for us. I already put a little almond flour in my cakes and muffins so I didn’t want to add anymore.

The following recipe is incredibly easy and fairly inexpensive compared to most. I pulled out my old Excalibur dehydrator and used the yogurt setting but you could use any other yogurt method like an actual yogurt maker or others you might find online. (I recently caved and bought this one for $20… love it!)

As for your culturing agent, it varies. Many people already use a favorite. I use Klaire Thera-Biotic Labs Factor 4 because it has some great bacteria that many people already use for culturing yogurt. I try to get bifidobacterium lactis and bifidobacterium breve in there. Lactis not only tastes great but is also helpful for people with autoimmune disorders. Breve suppresses fungal growth. Both bacterium help to regulate digestion and prevent both diarrhea and constipation among other neat tricks.

 

Easy Dairy Free, Nut Free Sour Cream (or Yogurt or Cream Cheese...)
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes active
Passive Time
3 days
Prep Time
10 minutes active
Passive Time
3 days
Easy Dairy Free, Nut Free Sour Cream (or Yogurt or Cream Cheese...)
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10 minutes active
Passive Time
3 days
Prep Time
10 minutes active
Passive Time
3 days
Instructions
  1. Warm the coconut cream to 120F (you barely want to melt it) and add the collagen.
  2. Pour into a shallow glass dish or your yogurt maker (non reactive, no metal or plastic).
  3. Once the temperature is a steady 110-115F add your bacteria and stir (make sure it's all incorporated and not clumped up!). Don’t add until the temperature drops to at least 115F or you will kill your bacteria. If you do then wait until it’s at 100-110F and add more to culture, it doesn’t have to be thrown out.
  4. Cover your container and either process it according to your yogurt maker’s instructions, put inside of your dehydrator, or use whatever other method you have available. I’ve heard that coolers full of warm water work great to make yogurt but find your method and start ‘er up.
  5. I culture this for 12-24 hours, then I put it in the fridge to let it inactively culture for another 2-3 days before I use the end product. Use as is for sour cream or yogurt, like Greek yogurt it’s thick and rich enough to use for either. Sometimes if I taste it on the first day it's a bit grainy, possibly from the collagen, but if I stir it well or use an immersion blender it's great. If I let it go the full 2-3 days in the fridge I never have this issue. 
  6. For cream cheese: allow your yogurt to cool in the fridge for an hour or two, then pour into a very fine meshed nut milk bag. Rig this to sit (covered) over a bowl overnight. In the morning, all extra moisture should be gone and you will have a spreadable cheese-like creation that you can eat plain or add herbs and spices to. It works great when used cold for no-bake cheesecake desserts but it will melt when baked or put on hot foods so I always use this either cold or on the cool side of room temperature.
Recipe Notes

For the coconut cream it should be the thick, dense part of the coconut milk. I either purchase Trader Joe's brand coconut cream concentrate which is JUST the thick cream or I cool the cans of other full-fat brands and skim just the cream from the top. The amount listed is only an approximation of the amount you'll get from two cans of full-fat cream. You can play with it a bit, it's pretty forgiving. I just add about 1TB of collagen per cup and 1 capsule of probiotic culture for every 2 cups.

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Good luck to you in your culturing adventures. For those who have never cultured anything before this recipe is very easy and safe to start with. The only problem I ever had was when I didn’t put it in a sealed container right away but instead left it partially covered in the fridge thinking I’d put it into jars … eventually. It started growing a pink bacteria on it after a couple of days so I threw it out. As long as you cap these bad boys they last for ages. You could easily make a month’s worth of sour cream in advance.

What’s your favorite cultured food? If you have a recipe share it!

 

* Notes: for the coconut cream it should be the thick, dense part of the coconut milk. I either purchase Trader Joe’s brand coconut cream concentrate which is JUST the thick cream or I cool the cans of other full-fat brands and skim just the cream from the top. The amount listed is only an approximation of the amount you’ll get from two cans of full-fat cream. You can play with it a bit, it’s pretty forgiving. I just add about 1TB of collagen per cup and 1 capsule of probiotic culture for every 2 cups. If you want yogurt to be a bit thinner or less rich then use the whole can with water and all. I recommend keeping the collagen in there to help the yogurt build structure and stay thick.

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