The Mysteries of... Buttermilk
Have you ever come across a recipe with Buttermilk and thought "what is that? milk and butter? " well, ponder no longer! today we learn the how to's and what's about the mystery that is Buttermilk.
What is it? Buttermilk is regular milk with emence amounts of lactic acid produced by bacteria. So, it's milk turned sour in a controlled environment. Buttermilk can be drunk straight, and it is used for cooking. The role of buttermilk in almost any baking recipe is to add tenderness and lightness to the batter. Once the acids in the buttermilk get in contact with the baking soda or baking powder in the batter, a giant fizz-fest takes place. The reaction with the baking soda or powder cancels out the sourness of the buttermilk, leaving our baked goods airy, tender, and tasty beyond reckoning.
How it came to be:
In the old days, buttermilk was simply the liquid left behind after cream was churned into butter. As unpasteurized cream sat “ripening” for a few days before churning, naturally occurring bacteria caused it to ferment by converting milk sugars into lactic acid, which made the resulting buttermilk mildly sour and slightly thickened.
How to make it at home:
1 scant cup milk (whole, 2%, or heavy cream)
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar