Three Types Of Buttermilk

Sunday dinner is a beautiful occasion to gather with family and friends over a delicious meal. It’s all about spending time with your loved ones, and cooking something nice makes this dinner even more special. In my family, we used to make many delicious baked goods and pass the recipes on to the next generations. 

What Is The Secret Of Perfect Baked Goods?

The dough recipe of my absolutely favourite drop biscuits calls for equal parts of flour and buttermilk. With this proportion, the dough should be thick and dry, but at the same time fluffy. But why do time-tested recipes sometimes not work? There are so many factors affecting the final product, such as oven temperature, quality of the flour or even kneading technique. But… wait! Maybe it’s all about the ingredients used? Is it possible that one simple ingredient is the key secret to the fluffiest biscuits you ever made? 

Let’s start with the kind of buttermilk you use. My advise here is to avoid any kind of substitutions (cream of tartar, vinegar or lemon juice with milk, etc.) You also can’t use traditional buttermilk as a substitute for cultured (store bought) buttermilk. If you are using your family’s old recipe, more likely it calls for traditional homemade buttermilk. Traditional or real buttermilk is a natural by-product you get after churning butter from the raw cream left for several hours unrefrigerated. It’s a relatively thin dairy liquid strained off the butter and obviously had very little of butterfat.

If you use fresh cream for making butter, you will get a sweet cream buttermilk, which is also a low-fat and high-protein thin liquid. Store-bought buttermilk is actually milk in which bacteria turn lactose into lactic acid. In the process, the milk curdles and the end result is a thicker, tangier, creamy and more acidic liquid. 

What Type Of Buttermilk Is The Best?

Thus, we already recognise three types of buttermilk. But is it possible to make all three types at home using raw milk? Without doubt! All you have to know is the difference between real buttermilk which is leftover liquid after butter-making process and cultured buttermilk, made by adding live active cultures into the fresh raw milk. You can make it even easier. Add 1/3 cup of store bought buttermilk into 1 cup of fresh milk, stir it in and leave in a warm place for one day or until thickened. Most of the recipes you can find these days mainly call for this type of buttermilk. 

Dairy manufacturers use centrifugal separators since the early 19th century to separate the milk and cream. Such cream is a very fatty product, perfect for making butter, but as a result there is very little buttermilk left.


If you make butter at home on a constant base, then you will accumulate a significant amount of buttermilk. Don’t worry! Use homesteader’s wisdom and freeze it without loss of its quality in the heavy duty zip-lock bags. And you will no longer have to look for buttermilk substitutes in your favourite recipes. 




Why It’s Good To Bake With Buttermilk?

The magic attribute of a buttermilk is its acidity which helps the dough to rise and expand when baked. Biscuits, pies, cornbread, cakes, pancakes and waffles have rich and slightly tangy taste with buttermilk. Its acidity tenderises meat and chicken. Buttermilk is absolutely great in creamy salad dressings. It is also an essential part of a diet as a powerful source of live cultures and probiotics. It has a long shelf life when refrigerated, you can use it until it really goes bad. 

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