Why use buttermilk?
Let me begin by saying that there is a definite difference between old-fashioned buttermilk and what is commonly known as buttermilk today. True buttermilk is the leftover liquid when making butter from cream, while modern buttermilk (what is available at the grocery store) is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to pasteurized-homogenized milk and allowing it to culture. I've used both and still have a lot to learn, but one thing I know for sure is that buttermilk is good for you because, like yogurt and kefir, buttermilk is a probiotic food that helps keep the digestive tract healthy.
The lactic acid in buttermilk makes it perfect for soaking grains as it neutralizes the phytic acid which improves digestibility and absorption of nutrients. In fact, I use it to soak oats overnight for our version of "instant" oatmeal. Some people including my sweet mother-in-law drink buttermilk straight, but I just can't bring myself to pour a glass. Perhaps it's an acquired taste and texture thing...
And although I'm not a southern girl (I did spend almost a year and a half in Austin during the early 80s), I love using buttermilk to make light and fluffy buttermilk biscuits, pancakes, muffins [cornbread muffins & buttermilk muffins], and, of course, our homemade buttermilk Ranch dressing -- yum!
Ready to try making some for yourself?
Easy Peasy Homemade Buttermilk
makes just under 3 cups
2/3 c. cultured buttermilk
2 c. milk (whole organic milk or raw milk)
1 quart sized mason jar w/ lid
Measure cultured buttermilk...
Pour into a quart sized mason jar along with 2 cups milk. Screw on a lid and shake to blend. Allow to culture in a warm place for 12 - 24 hours (I set my jar next to my Bunn coffee maker since it's always warm).
Check by tipping the jar; if it's nice and thick and leaves a film on the jar when tipped back, you'll know it's ready. Open the jar and sniff -- it'll smell just like buttermilk...because it is. :) Store in the fridge and be sure to make up a new batch before you run out. If you do forget and get really low, you can cut the recipe in half (using only 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1 cup milk) and then use 2/3 cup from that batch to make another one. See? Easy peasy. :)
Visit our Homemade Pantry page for more "healthier version" ideas -- save money and avoid all those nasty artificial ingredients by making your own!
Wishing you all a blessed week,
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