home > dairy > cultured milk products


Cultured Milk Products


buttermilk   Notes:  Despite its name and creamy consistency, buttermilk is relatively low in fat. It's sometimes tolerated by people with lactose intolerance since some of the lactose is fermented by bacteria.   Most of the buttermilk found in supermarkets is cultured buttermilk, made by adding a bacterial culture to low-fat or nonfat milk. More authentic and tasty, though, is churn buttermilk, which is the liquid that remains after milk is churned into butter. Since recipes often call for just small amounts of buttermilk, many cooks use reconstituted powdered buttermilk.  Substitutes:  Combine one cup of milk (or soymilk) plus one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, and allow to stand for ten minutes OR Combine one cup of milk plus two teaspoons cream of tartar, and allow to stand for ten minutes OR Combine two parts plain yogurt plus one part milk OR plain, low-fat yogurt OR sour cream OR molasses (in batters that also call for baking soda)   Cooking hints:  Churn buttermilk may require longer baking times than ordinary commercial buttermilk.

clabber cream = clabber = clabbered cream  Substitutes: créme fraîche (thinner consistency) OR ricotta cheese (especially suitable as a pasta filling) OR buttermilk cheese (as a pasta filling)


crema   Notes:  Cremas are the Hispanic version of sour cream.  This category includes crema Mexicana, which is similar to crème fraîche, crema Centroamericana, which is a bit thicker and sweeter than crema Mexicana, crema media, which is like whipping cream, crema Mexicana agria, which is thicker and more acidic than crema Mexicana and often used for savory dishes, and crema Salvadoreña, which is thick like sour cream.  Where to find:  Mexican grocery stores Substitutes: crème fraîche (not as sweet or creamy) OR sour cream (more likely to curdle when cooked in a sauce)

crema Centroamericana  See crema. 

crema media  See crema. 

crema Mexicana  See crema. 

crema Mexicana agria  See crema. 

crema Salvadoreña  See crema.

créme fraîche (creme fraiche)   Pronunciation:  CREM FRESH  Notes:  This slightly sour thick cream doesn't curdle when it's heated, so it's ideal for making cream sauces. It's also used for appetizers and as a dessert topping.  To make your own:    Warm one cup heavy cream to about 100°, then add one or two tablespoons of sour cream, cultured buttermilk, or plain yogurt (make sure you buy a brand that contains active cultures).  Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for at least nine hours before refrigerating.  Substitutes:  crema Mexicana OR  equal parts sour cream and heavy cream OR clabber cream (thicker consistency) OR sour cream (This has a lower fat content, and so it's more likely to curdle if boiled with an acidic ingredient.) OR yogurt (This will definitely curdle when boiled.)


jocoque = labin    Notes:   This is a Mexican product that's halfway between buttermilk and sour cream.   Substitutes:  salted buttermilk OR sour cream OR yogurt OR crema

kaimaki  See kaymak.

kashk  See qurut.

kaymak = kaimaki   Substitutes: clotted cream OR creme fraiche


kefir   Pronunciation:  keh-FEER   Notes:  Kefir is like a thin, drinkable yogurt. It was originally made in Turkey out of camel's milk.  It comes plain or flavored.   To make your own:  Add a tablespoon of plain kefir (with active cultures) to milk and keep it at roughly 110° for several hours, then refrigerate. Substitutes:  yogurt (tarter and thicker) OR kumiss

koumis  See kumiss

koumiss  See kumiss

koumyss  See kumiss.

kumiss = koumis = koumiss = koumyss = arjan   Pronunciation:   KOO-miss  Notes:  Like kefir, kumiss is a beverage made from milk cultured with bacteria. Asian nomads originally made it with the milk of camels or mares, but commercial producers now use cow's milk.  Substitutes:  kefir

labin  See jocoque.

prostokvasha  Substitutes:  yogurt

quroot  See qurut


qurut = quroot = kashk = yazdie   Notes:  Reconstituted dry qurut (bottom picture) is an acceptable substitute for fresh (top picture).  Where to find it:  Middle Eastern markets  Substitutes: yogurt (not as salty)

smetana = smitane = smatana = slivki   Shopping hints:  This is very hard to find in the United States, but some Eastern European markets carry it.  Substitutes: sour cream (higher in calories)


sour cream    To make your own:  See Homemade Sour Cream posted on Kurma.net, or see the recipe for Vegan Sour Cream posted on the Veggie Table.   Substitutes for one cup:    Blend one cup cottage cheese plus two or three tablespoons milk or buttermilk plus two tablespoons lemon juice OR blend equal parts cottage cheese and plain yogurt OR blend one cup cottage cheese plus one-third of a cup buttermilk plus one tablespoon lemon juice. (Adapted from directions in the Joy of Cooking by Marion Rombauer Becker and Irma Rombauer. See my sources.) OR blend one cup cottage cheese plus two tablespoons lemon juice plus two tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise plus one-fourth cup nonfat buttermilk (adapted from a recipe in the New Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook) OR Combine 7/8 cup buttermilk or yogurt plus three tablespoons butter or margarine (From a Gateway Virginia recipe. See my sources.) OR one cup buttermilk OR one cup well-drained yogurt (if making cheesecake, use whole milk yogurt) OR one cup sour milk OR let stand for 5 minutes:   one cup evaporated milk plus one tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar OR jocoque OR smetana (lower calories) 

sour milk  Substitutes:  buttermilk OR Mix one tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar with one cup of milk, let stand for 5 minutes.


yogurt = yoghurt   Notes:  This is milk that's cultured with bacteria to make it thick and tangy.  Ready-made yogurts are made from whole milk (with up to 4% butterfat), lowfat milk (with up to 2% butterfat), and skim milk (with up to .5% butterfat).   Health buffs prefer brands that contain active cultures, which help keep their intestines populated with friendly bacteria.  Many brands are heat-treated to destroy these cultures and increase shelf life.   Yogurt often comes with added flavorings and thickeners.   "Light" flavored yogurts are made with artificial sweeteners to reduce calories.  Lactaid makes a lactose-reduced yogurt, but many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate ordinary yogurt, especially brands that contains active yogurt cultures.   Larger  markets also carry yogurt made from soy milk and goat's milk, but these don't work well in delicate desserts.   Organic yogurts also are available.

To make your own:   Add a tablespoon of plain yogurt (with active cultures) to milk and keep it at roughly 110° for several hours, then refrigerate.  Where to find it:   Dairy case of most markets   Substitutes:  sour cream (This is higher in fat and calories, but less likely to curdle if boiled with an acidic ingredient.) OR buttermilk (This substitution usually works well in baked goods, dressings, and sauces.) OR blend cottage cheese until smooth (not as tart) OR silky tofu (not as tart; doesn't work well in delicate desserts)


If lactose intolerant or allergic to milk, visit the No Milk Page. See also the Why Milk? page.

Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden