Substitute for Buttermilk

I’m going to be honest, I feel like buttermilk is one of those ingredients that you know exists, but you don’t actually know what it does so you never have it on hand. And if you do remember to buy it, it expires before you use it all. Is that just me?? In case I’m not alone, I’m sharing how to make a dang good substitute for buttermilk & why you should even bother in the first place.

What is Buttermilk & why should I bake with it?

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink that is lower in fat & higher in protein than regular milk. Oh, and it’s a baker’s best friend! Here are a few key things that it does for your bakes: 

  • Acts as a leavening agent. The primary characteristic of buttermilk is its acidity. This acidity can react with alkaline leavening agents, like baking soda, to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas helps baked goods rise, resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture.
  • Takes you to tang town. Buttermilk creates a distinct tangy flavor in baked goods. This can enhance the overall taste and provide a subtle complexity and richness to the flavor profile of cakes, pancakes, biscuits, and more. 
  • Tenderizes. The acidity can break down the gluten in flour and make your baked goods nice & tender. 
  • Makes it nice & moist. Buttermilk adds moisture to recipes and helps ensure your baked goods don’t dry out too quickly.

To summarize, it is AWESOME. Which is why when you see it called for in a recipe, you really shouldn’t skip out on it. BUT don’t worry, you don’t have to send your spouse to the store to buy some if you realize you need it, but don’t have any on hand – you can make your own with this simple substitute for buttermilk.

How to Make Buttermilk Substitute

You’re going to laugh at how simple this is. All you need in order to make your own buttermilk is milk (whatever type you typically use) and vinegar! 

When vinegar is added to milk, it causes the milk to curdle slightly, producing the textbook acidity of buttermilk and making it a viable stand-in in many recipes.

Homemade Buttermilk Instructions 

  1. Measure out 1 cup of milk (this could be whole milk, skim milk, or a dairy-free alternative like almond or soy milk).
  2. To the milk, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
  3. Stir the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You’ll notice it will thicken a bit and small curdles will form, signaling it’s ready to use.

That’s it!! Next time you’re halfway through the recipe and realize “crap. I don’t have any buttermilk” don’t bother texting your neighbor to see if they have any – just whip up your own in 10 minutes!!

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