What is It?
Back in the day when people churned butter, buttermilk was the liquid that remained in the bottom of the churn once the butter was made. It was thin and really rich, despite being nonfat. (All the fat went into the butter.) Its tang came from the cultures that developed in the milk when it was left out at room temperature to add more flavor to the butter. Today, buttermilk is mass produced by adding bacteria to pasteurized milk.
Why We Use It?
Buttermilk is used as a leavener in baked goods. The acid helps activate baking soda, which gives your baked goods their rise. Commercially produced versions typically have more acid than homemade so you may notice a slight difference in rise when you make it yourself.
How to Make Buttermilk
Add one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of regular milk. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about ten minutes. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar will cause the milk to curdle, giving it the thick texture and tangy flavor of the real thing.
Buttermilk gives baked goods added moisture and texture. You can make it and put it to delicious use in my Buttermilk Pancakes!
Use lemon juice or a light, unflavored vinegar to prevent the vinegar’s flavor from showing up in your buttermilk.
Let the milk sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or longer once you’ve added the lemon juice or vinegar to give it plenty of time to curdle.
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