I love to incorporate buttermilk in my baking, but I never buy it at the store. Usually my baking efforts are very impromptu and I realize that I need it when it is too late. Here is an easy and quick way to create your own buttermilk just minutes before you begin baking.
The science behind buttermilk
What makes it so different from regular milk? Buttermilk is actually fermented milk. The one you purchase at your store is factory made, where bacteria culture, along with other ingredients, are mixed into low fat milk then left to ferment for hours until it becomes ‘cultured milk’.
Old fashioned buttermilk is the milk that is left from churning butter. The fermentation that occurs turns the milk sugars into lactic acid, giving it that tangy taste. Since it is a fermented drink, it is also beneficial to ones’ gut flora. Amazing!
Why bake with it? The lactic acid in the buttermilk works well with recipes that include baking soda, allowing the baked good to rise. It also creates a moist and fluffy dessert. We love using it in pancakes, waffles, muffins and scones. Buttermilk can also be used as a marinade, especially chicken, as it will tenderize your meat.
Plant-based vs. regular milk
I don’t drink cow’s milk, but always have plant-based on hand. Our go to is almond milk, but oat, soy are great too.
From a baking standpoint, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. You’re looking for the acidity and the curdling to occur in the milk, which happens when you add either vinegar or lemon juice. The difference is if you are using plant-based milk, only make the amount you need, as it doesn’t last long, whereas buttermilk can last longer in the refrigerator than regular milk. Buttermilk is in fact spoiled milk.
The ratio is really 1 tbsp of acid per cup of milk. I would choose white vinegar , apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Stay away from balsamic or anything sweet, you don’t want to alter the taste.
- 1 cup of plant based milk or cow’s milk of your choice (I prefer almond or soy)
- 1 tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider) or lemon juice
- Combine ingredients and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes. You should see the milk curdling.
- Don’t keep plant-based buttermilk in the refrigerator as it does not keep well, so only make what you need.