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I've seen many recipes that use sour yogurt as a main ingredient, but I've been unable to find sour yogurt where I live, and I wonder if it's ok to use sour cream instead of sour yogurt.

I know they're pretty much the same thing, but I'm not sure if it's going to change the composition/texture of the food by making this substitution.

If it's not recommendable, what would be a good substitution? For example would it be better to use plain yogurt? Like the one sold at Walmart even though is a bit sweet.

Thanks

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Are you using the term "sour yogurt" to mean yogurt that is not blended with sugar or fruit or similar? All yogurt, by its very nature is acidic, and so somewhat sour in taste. –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 12 '13 at 15:35
    
Yes that's exactly what I meant. I've seen that even plain yogurt is blended with sugar or vanilla. –  AlanChavez Jul 12 '13 at 15:40
3  
In which case it's not plain yoghurt :) –  ElendilTheTall Jul 12 '13 at 16:04
    
Read the labels on sour cream carefully. As with yogurt, many 'sour creams' contain carrageenan, locust bean gum, guar gum, gelatin or some other thickener in addition to cultured cream. These additives can mess with cooking results. –  Wayfaring Stranger Oct 7 at 17:05

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Depending on the specific application, you may (and probably will) get good results, but the flavor and texture will be may be slightly different when you substitute sour cream for unsweetened, unflavored yogurt.

Consider that both of these products are fermented dairy. The main differences are going to be the level of fat (based on the specific dairy item from which the product was fermented), and the level of acid.

In many applications, because the characteristics are very similar, the outcomes will be very similar.

In some uncooked sauces like tzatziki, you will probably get a delicious result, but it will be different since sour cream tastes slightly different.

In cooked sauces like stroghanoff or some curries, again, the result will be similar but different. The one specific issue you may face is whether the sauce breaks, which will be dependent on the level of dairy fat in the sour cream or yogurt, not which one is being used. So you may wish to use a full-fat sour cream for cooked sauces.

The one place where they are nearly freely substitute is baking, especially quick breads, where they perform nearly identically. The flavor differences are not dominant.

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Cooking is one of my hobbies, but I even feel bad to say "I know how to cook" when I read your replies in this site! How do you know so much about this stuff? –  AlanChavez Jul 12 '13 at 16:22
    
I am obsessive, and old enough to have had a lot of time to pick stuff up. And I have read a lot. Thank you for the kind words. –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 12 '13 at 16:25

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