I knew a lovely woman whom a mutual friend described as having a voice like buttermilk. The sound was husky, scratchy, and raw. I thought he was comparing those qualities to the flavor of buttermilk, but he later explained that the parallel was "you don't like it at first, but it's addictive, and soon nothing else will do."
He might have added that her earthy voice, like buttermilk, is one of those old fashions due for a revival.
The sour, low-fat liquid was buttermilk. The farmer might give it to a very thirsty child,or mix it with slops for the pigs, take advantage of its acidity as a souring or leavening agent. It was not considered a gourmet treat on its own.
Buttermilk1 Quart Milk
1/4 cup cultured buttermilk or 1/4 t buttermilk culture or mesophilic culture
Warm the milk to 30 degrees C (about 90 F)
If using buttermilk, add 1/4 cup milk to the buttermilk, mix them together, then mix the mixture into the milk.
If using culture, sprinkle it over the milk and wait 10 minutes for it to hydrate
Mix the milk thoroughly to incorporate the culture
Cover and let sit at room temperature. The time it takes to thicken will vary with temperature. We keep a cold house in the winter, and it often takes 24 hours or longer. Check. When the milk is thick, tangy and sour, it is buttermilk. Refrigerate until needed.
The acids in buttermilk make it very special for baking. It combines with baking soda to act as a leavener without needing to use baking powder - a flavor I deeply dislike. Its acids act as a tenderizer, so pancakes or other baked goods have a very pleasing mouth feel, as though you'd used extra butter.
1 cup buttermilk
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 T melted butter
Mix together dry ingredients.
Mix together butter, buttermilk and egg until well blended
Lightly mix wet and dry ingredients. A few lumps are better than an over mixed batter.
|Not ready to flip|
|Big holes that don't close - ready to flip|
Flip. Count to thirty and the other side is done. Check the pan often. Too hot and you will burn your pancakes, too cool and they will stick.
I assume you already know how to serve and eat pancakes.
Buttermilk Cucumber Soup
Buttermilk Fruit Smoothie
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 T butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
Heat oven to 375. Grease a 2 quart baking pan or better yet, grease a cast iron skillet.
Cut up butter and toss with cornmeal. Stir in baking soda.
Pour boiling water over cornmeal mixture and stir to break up lumps. Cool for 15 minutes
Beat together eggs, buttermilk and salt.
Gradually add wet ingredients to cornmeal mixture, stirring well to break up lumps.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes. You may drizzle milk or cream over the surface to keep it from getting crispy (but why would you? I love a crispy surface). Spoon it out onto the plate; the texture is between a souffle and cornbread. Serve hot.
Buttermilk Mac n CheeseSubstitute buttermilk for regular milk next time you make home made mac n cheese. You will love it. You can use cheap, not very sharp cheddar and it will still be really sharp.
Buttermilk on its own curdles when heated. Use a starch (cornstarch, a flour roux, tapioca) to thicken. Don't freak when the sauce separates - wait, stir, and soon it will come together again.
Buttermilk also does wonders for mashed potatoes. Substitute it for some or all of the milk and some of the butter. It adds a hint of tanginess and a punch of richness without adding extra fat.