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The Purpose of Buttermilk in Baking

Updated April 17, 2017

Traditionally, buttermilk is the milky by-product of butter making. It adds rich taste and texture to baked goods such as breads, biscuits and pancakes.

What Is Buttermilk?

The fluid remaining when cream in churned into butter is called churn buttermilk. Today churn buttermilk is mainly used in freeze-dried form for baking. Cultured buttermilk, sold for drinking or baking, is lowfat or skimmed milk which has been fermented with lactic acid-producing bacteria, says WebExhibits.org.

Buttermilk Benefits

Although buttermilk is thick and tastes rich, it is actually low in fat. Like yoghurt and sour cream, it is acidic and imparts a soft texture to baked goods. It also helps quick breads rise, according to TasteOfHome.com.

Baking With Buttermilk

When substituting buttermilk for regular milk in a recipe, you will need less of both baking powder and baking soda, since buttermilk is acidic, says DrGourmet.com.

Substituting With Milk

To make the equivalent of 1 cup of buttermilk, add enough 1 per cent milk to 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to make 1 cup. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes, allowing the milk to thicken and curdle.

Substituting With Yogurt

You can also use yoghurt as a buttermilk substitute. Mix 2/3 cup of plain yoghurt with 1/2 cup of 1 per cent milk to make the equivalent of 1 cup of buttermilk.

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About the Author

Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.