The Purpose of Buttermilk in Baking

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The Purpose of Buttermilk in Baking
Buttermilk adds volume to biscuits. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of thebittenword.com)

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.

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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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