Rich, tangy and velvety smooth, this recipe yields about 2 cups of the finest cultured sour cream. Although extremely easy to prepare, a high-powered blender is recommended for producing the smoothest texture.
• 1 and ½ cup (7.5 oz by weight) whole raw cashews
• ¾ cup filtered or spring water
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 non-dairy probiotic capsules*
*If possible, choose non-dairy probiotic capsules that offer several strains of Lactobacillus bacteria, as well as beneficial Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium strains. This will create a more complex sour cream flavor than using Lactobacillus acidophilus alone.
Soak the cashews for a minimum of 8 hours with enough filtered or spring water to cover (refrigeration is not needed unless soaking time exceeds 8 hours). Drain the cashews, discarding the soaking water, and add them to the blender.
Add the ¾ cup fresh water and the salt.
Process the contents until completely smooth, stopping to stir or scrape down the sides of blender as necessary. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules and process briefly to blend.
Transfer the mixture to a roomy container with a lid and cover. The cream may develop an “airy” texture and expand during culturing. This is caused by the release of carbon dioxide gas during fermentation and is perfectly normal. Every 12 hours or so, burp the lid of the container to release carbon dioxide.
Let the cream culture at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours or until the desired level of tanginess is achieved. Do not heat the mixture in a yogurt maker or similar device in an attempt to accelerate the process. This will alter the starch in the cashews and adversely affect the texture. Warm room temperatures will accelerate the culturing process, and cooler room temperatures will slow the process, so taste test after 24 hours and then every 12 hours after that. Viability of the probiotic culture can also affect culturing time, so be sure to use a fresh product that has been stored in the refrigerator.
After culturing, stir the sour cream thoroughly. Seal the container and place in the refrigerator to chill for 8 hours to thicken properly before using.