Let’s talk about buttermilk. More specifically, let’s talk about how I never have buttermilk in the refrigerator when I need it. Wwhhyy!?
What is buttermilk? Buttermilk is a slightly sour milk. The sourness of buttermilk comes from acids in the milk, most notably, lactic acids. Because the proteins in buttermilk are curdled, buttermilk is slightly thicker than regular milk, but not quite as thick as cream. Buttermilk is also usually much lower in fat than regular milk and cream.
Cultured buttermilk, as it is called in the United States these days, is a pasteurized milk product. A culture of lactic acid bacteria is added to low-fat milk to curdle and sour the milk. Many dairies also add tiny yellow colored flecks of butter to simulate, well… buttermilk.
Buttermilk is an important part of baking. The acidic milk combined with baking soda in a recipe is a baker’s dream. It’s helps add a lightness and tenderness to baked treats. When baking soda is combined with the lactic acids of buttermilk, the acid neutralizes the metallic taste of sodium carbonate. We talked about this in-depth in Baking 101: The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder.
What if you’re plum out of buttermilk? There are solutions…. let’s talk.
The Best Buttermilk Substitutes
Milk and Lemon or Vinegar
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Top the lemon juice with skim, low fat or whole milk. Stir and let sit for two minutes. After two minutes, your milk is both acidic and curdled. If you need 2 cups of buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the milk. Two tablespoons aren’t necessary.
Milk and Yogurt
Stir 1/4 cup milk into 3/4 cup plain yogurt to create a nicely thick buttermilk substitute.
Milk and Cream of Tartar
Stir together 1 cup of milk and 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 Tablespoons of milk. Once mixed add the rest of the cup of milk. Cream of tartar is an acid and will simulate the acidic environment of buttermilk in a pinch.
Non-Dairy Option: Almond Milk and Yogurt (with a splash of vinegar)
Stir 1/4 cup almond milk into 3/4 cup almond milk yogurt. Add a splash (about 1/2 teaspoon) vinegar to the mixture and stir well. Soy milk and yogurt can also be substituted for the almond milk products.
What We’re Making With Buttermilk
So soft and tender straight from the fryer. Don’t inhale and eat. Trust me.
Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
Soft cakes topped with ultra sweet, roasted strawberries.
Brown Butter Banana Bread with Rum and Coconut
Brown Butter and Buttermilk in their greatest union yet.
Feta Chive and Sour Cream Scones
Dream biscuits. On the savory side.
I’m sorry but buttermilk has a fat content that is quite high so if you’re not using a 2 percent of whole milk before you ruin it by curdling it, you might just want to add a tad more fat. Curdling milk to make buttermilk is actually not the answer. Buttermilk is not fermented milk, it is a leftover product that comes from making butter. I make butter quite often and have better results when I use a higher fat content whipping cream. The fat content of the buttermilk that is left over is the same as the initial whipping cream. The yogurt idea is the best as it does have a natural fermentation but, again, buttermilk is not a fermented product, never has been until it was put on the shelf.
Suggestion: No buttermilk? In this 3/4 of a cup of buttermilk, I would add 2 more Tablespoons of butter into your milk and then heat it to melt the butter into it. That is how you make buttermilk. I know it’s different but from a person that has actually made buttermilk, this is how it is derived.
I’m not understanding most of what you wrote…your first sentence didn’t make sense. In your directions for making buttermilk, are you saying, to make buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons butter to 3/4 cup milk, and that’s it?
Hilda M Rodriguez
Have you or anybody have tried it with o% fat lactose free milk?