Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
How to bake with buttermilk? How easy it is to substitute the buttermilk if you do not have it available?
How to bake with buttermilk and a few recipe ideas to inspire you
I get many questions about ingredients I use in the recipes. Some of these questions are related to how to bake with buttermilk, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article and help you, my readers, to figure out how to use this magical ingredient.
I am also going to teach you how to replace it when you don’t have access to it, so you can still enjoy your favorite recipes.
First of all, What is buttermilk?
Buttermilk is a by-product of butter churning. It is the thin liquid left behind after the butter is produced.
This is how the buttermilk used to be made in the past, at the farms. Many families had a milk cow and the butter they made was sold to provide a small income.
When butter started to be produced on a larger scale, dairies sold off the buttermilk cheaply, profiting from selling what would otherwise be discarded.
In the modern times, buttermilk is made by adding a lactic acid bacteria to pasteurized milk.
Is buttermilk the same as sour milk?
Many people think that buttermilk is the same as sour milk but they are different. As I was just telling you, buttermilk is the liquid that is left behind after the butter is churned. Sour milk is the raw milk that is fermenting.
Is sour milk the same as spoiled milk?
No. Spoiled milk is pasteurized milk that went bad, the kind you forget on the table for three days. You should throw it away because it is not safe to drink or use anymore. Sour milk is the raw milk that started to ferment.
Somehow people figured out in the past that sour milk or buttermilk can be used as a rising ingredient in baking. Therefore, because of the milder tart taste, buttermilk is used in a lot of baking recipes.
From savory breads to cakes, biscuits and scones, buttermilk is used extensively to add softness and lightness to the baked final product.
Usually, when a recipe is asking for buttermilk, it also asks for baking soda. As you probably already know, baking is an art that relies heavily on chemical reactions.
Buttermilk is acidic. In combination with baking soda, buttermilk produces carbon dioxide gas, which is why pancakes get fluffy, biscuits get rich and flaky, cake gets moist and delicious.
It is in many ways a magical ingredient that has the ability to improve muffins, quick breads, scones and everything in between.
A little bit sour, milder than lemon juice or vinegar, buttermilk adds a pleasing taste to the baked goods.
How long does buttermilk last in the refrigerator?
Because buttermilk is acidic, it will inhibit the bacterial growth, therefore it can last in the fridge three to four weeks. When it goes bad, the texture will change and the smell will be off.
Any time you use the buttermilk, shake the carton, as the solids tend to settle at the bottom of the box.
Can I freeze buttermilk?
While I am not a fan of freezing buttermilk, you can do it in case you have more than you think you are going to use. It will be ok for up to six months.
Remember though that when buttermilk is thawed, even after mixing it, the texture will not be the same.
If you cannot get buttermilk, there are several easy substitutes:
- Milk and lemon juice or vinegar – mix 8 fl oz whole milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar and let it stand for 5-10 minutes until it is slightly curdled. It will look disgusting, but congratulations, you are now the proud owner of some sour milk, which you can use in any recipe that calls for sour milk or buttermilk.
- Natural yogurt – make up a 3:1 mixture of yogurt and water(and also try this recipe of cheese pie if you have leftovers)
- Sour cream – make up a 3:1 mixture of sour cream and water
- Kefir– thin the kefir with water or milk until it has the consistency of buttermilk
- Buttermilk powder- follow the instructions on the package
For ideas on how to bake with buttermilk, see the recipes below.