Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Foody Helping Foody or the Sour Cream vs.Yoghurt Evaluation

I published the best recipe I know for Banana Cake and it generated the following discussion. I heart my readers. I am thrilled to have foody pen pals.

Banana Art by Zazzle

Sour cream substitute by pdh

It's Sunday morning. I'm suddenly feeling a need for McGovern-inspired banana cake ... but I have no sour cream. I have some plain yogurt; will substitute that ... should work according the intertubes.

My concern is more profound, though. Since you are a student of the politics of food, can you tell me if the substitution will be politically correct?

Please let me know how it goes by Yours Truly

Politically correct. But there is something about the fat in the sour cream and the taste of sour cream that makes it essential, I think. However, I am a fan of experimentation. I look forward to your analysis of the sour cream situation.

So I need two cakes, I guess by pdh 

Actually, I think I will try the experiment. Today, with yogurt ... then with sour cream after my next trip to the market. I will let you know my opinion after a proper comparison.

Drain the yogurt by UnionJok

Years ago, a native of the Middle East showed me how to "thicken" yogurt for use in the standard recipe for baba ganooj and hummus. The traditional process consists of removing the whey by placing the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. The result is pretty much the same as "Greek" yogurt, and the whey can be used for other things. Even when made from fat-free yogurt, the texture and taste of the result make it a good substitute for sour cream in baking, salad dressings, dips, or desserts.

More convenient, if somewhat less effective, is to dig a well down the side of the container with an iced tea spoon, periodically pouring off the whey accumulating there. In this method, the top layer of yogurt becomes thick and creamy.

The denouement by pdh

Some time ago you posted the McGovern Banana Cake recipe to DailyKos.
I inquired about substituting plain yogurt for the sour cream which I did not have available. Another dkos poster suggested draining the yogurt in a cheese cloth to get a more appropriate texture, which
sounded like a sensible thing to do. So I prepared a banana cake with the drained yogurt; found it quite satisfactory.

Not trusting my memory of the taste of banana cakes past, I prepared
two cakes the same day, sampled them both at the same time. It was
very close, but the sour cream did seem to give a slightly better result. I expect that the flavor added by the sour cream counts for
more than the fat since there is 1/2 cup of shortening already in the
recipe, but didn't test any other variations. Next time I think I'll
add some chopped walnuts, though.

So my conclusion is that Dannon yogurt (plain whole milk kind) drained
in a wire mesh strainer lined with a paper coffee filter is a
satisfactory substitute for sour cream in recipes where the sour cream
is not a main ingredient. One would not slather a baked potato with
the densified yogurt and expect a sour cream experience, though.

I almost always keep some yogurt around because one of my favorite
snacks is yogurt with berries. In fact, I've prepared little single-
serving sized packets of whole berry cranberry sauce for the freezer
for those times when fresh berries are scarce. I'm sure I'll be
repeating the McGovern cake ... using the pseudo sour cream in other
places, too!

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