Sunday, March 1, 2009

Buttermilk Benefits

How do you use Buttermilk? I have to admit, up until recently I never used it. But I didn't really flex my baking muscles until recently either. If you're a baker, you use buttermilk regularly. I wouldn't make biscuits without it. It's not just the flavor that's important, it's the thickness and the acidity. Just yesterday I used buttermilk to make a wonderful batch of cinnamon rolls.

I found Saco Buttermilk Replacerbut the only thing it doesn't duplicate is the thickness of real buttermilk. This is important when making biscuits; not so important when baking bread or making pancakes.

If you're making a recipe that calls for buttermilk but don't have any, it's easy to substitue a cup of whole milk that has a tablespoon of lemon juice added to it. Let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes before using it. This allows the lemon juice time to thicken the milk proteins and gives it a consistency much like that of real buttermilk. The lemon juice also gives it the proper acidity and you won't be able to taste a difference.

How do you use buttermilk? Please share your favorite recipe using buttermilk in the comments. The lady in this Starlac flyer is drinking it--gag! I've heard it makes fried chicken and onion rings even better. I often find quarts of buttermilk on sale at the grocery store. People must not use it much anymore--a testament to our instant-gratification society that no longer cooks from scratch. What a shame.


  1. Buttermilk is lower in fat and calories than regular milk because the fat from buttermilk has already been removed to make butter. I try to keep some on hand. good post, thx

  2. I use buttermilk all the time. It's a must for making corn bread and biscuits and I just discovered a wonderful recipe for white cake using buttermilk. You asked for recipes, so here are two of my favorites:


    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon grated orange rind
    1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), cut up
    2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
    1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
    1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
    1 tablespoon milk
    1 tablespoon sugar

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    Combine the first 7 ingredients (flour through butter) in food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add buttermilk, cranberries and pecans and pulse just until dough gathers together in a ball.

    Knead (like biscuits) on lightly floured surface, 5 or 6 times. Pat into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges.

    Place on greased baking sheet. Brush with the 1 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

    Delicious with orange marmalade.


    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    4 egg whites
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/3 cups buttermilk
    Frosting of your choice

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating lightly after each addition.

    Spread evenly into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

    Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

    Next time I will use 8-inch cake pans and adjust the baking time. I like a taller cake.

    You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla.


    If you want a recipe to use up the egg yolks, I have a great (vintage) recipe for cookies.

  3. Joanna, good points! Thanks for mentioning them.

    Susan, Interesting white cake recipe. I was going through my vintage recipe box last night and found one from Hershey's chocolate for a "Fudge Cake" that calls for 2/3 cup of "sour milk". It makes sense to use buttermilk as a complimentary flavor to chocolate. I can't wait to try out the recipe!

  4. Amy, it works very well in the white cake, too. We loved it.

    Did you know that Hershey Kisses will no longer be made in Hershey, PA? They're moving that operation to Mexico.

  5. ahh, a bit of science involved with the bittermilk substitute. lemon juice combining with the fat in the milk to curdle, much like bettermilk, eh? then yes, citric acids and others in the lemon juice would raise the PH level. so, pretty much you do have the same thing. am i right?

  6. Yes. Strong is the Force in this one. Hmmmm!


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