I can still memory-taste
the fresh buttermilk pancakes and hot buttermilk biscuits - both made with lard - that were cooked on the top, or in the oven, of that ancient iron stove.
~Vernon L. Smith
Buttermilk has always seemed like a really old-fashioned ingredient to me and anytime a recipe called for it, I did the substitute thing of putting vinegar or lemon juice in milk and letting it sour. I didn't see any reason to buy a little buttermilk from the grocery for just a certain recipe when I knew I wouldn't use the rest of it. In fact, I grew up thinking I didn't like buttermilk at all - thanks to a little switch-a-roo my grandfather played on me. I was thirsty and asked for a glass of milk. He asked me if I wanted "Pappaw's Milk" and of course I said yes. The resulting big drink that followed was an enormous surprise to say the least.
Did you know that there are different kinds of buttermilk? Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter from cream. This is called traditional buttermilk or old-fashioned buttermilk and is good to use as the liquid in pancakes or waffles. It is a thin liquid flecked with tiny butter pieces.
And then there is the tart, delicious creation of cultured buttermilk which is nothing like the traditional one. This one is thick and tart in a good kind of way. If you like yogurt or kefir, you will probably like cultured buttermilk too. In my hobby farm quest to make more things myself, I have already been making other cultured dairy products (thanks to the great milk I get from Pasture's Delights). Cultured buttermilk was next on the list.
What a wonderful thing to know how to make! No more using the substitute version, this is the real deal. It is unbelievably easy to do too. You need a culture to get started: this can be from buttermilk you buy at the grocery as long as the label says:
Active, Cultured Buttermilk
or purchase cultures (Cultures For Health or New England Cheesemaking Supply Company are two good resources).
How to Make Cultured Buttermilk
1 quart milk (can be whole, 2% or skim)
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk OR 1 packet of purchased culture
- Heat milk slightly to 72 degrees Farenheit
- Whisk in whichever buttermilk culture you are using
- Transfer liquid to a 1 quart canning jar
- Cover with cheesecloth or other breathable cloth (I use a dishcloth)
- Let sit to culture for 24 hours, remove cloth and switch to regular lid. Refrigerate and use within 7 days.
- Save some of this batch to get your next batch going!
Making real, cultured buttermilk is one of those skills that takes very little active working time and gives you very useful results. There are many recipes that use buttermilk and I know your recipe repertoire will expand when you have buttermilk readily available in your refrigerator - I know it has happened like that for me.
You can use cultured buttermilk is so many ways: how about real buttermilk salad dressing (not the one from that hidden place where children always eat their vegetables), pancakes and waffles, buttermilk fried chicken, baked goods of all kinds and of course, as a refreshing drink that is a good source of vitamins, calcium and probiotics. If you start right now, you can have this staple in your kitchen in just 24 hours. I hope you try it :)
I'm so glad you came by to visit today. Tomorrow, I'll share a couple of my favorite recipes that use cultured buttermilk. I hope to see you then!
Peace be with you,
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