I try to always have buttermilk on hand, but I must admit, it is one of those pantry items that wish was sold by the pint instead of the quart but since it isn’t, I have made a habit of finding ways to use it instead of waiting so long that it spoils; which by-the-way, seems to take quite a while. I’m not sure if that is an accurate observation or not, but it does seem that buttermilk lasts for weeks in my refrigerator.
So getting to the point, what do I use it for? Well, as I cook gluten-free, it seems to aid bringing a lightness to my gf breads and baked goods; pancakes come to mind, so should quiche. I also use it in my soda bread, which while still dense, gets a lift from adding buttermilk. Of course, baking takes time and effort so if you just want to use the buttermilk add it to your mashed potatoes in the place of cream. You can also make your own Ranch dressing which thrives on the addition of buttermilk, which can be adjusted to your liking. Our family enjoys the tang buttermilk gives a dressing, which does not have to just be Ranch. Other creamy dressings that explode with the addition of buttermilk? Creamy Dill, Creamy Garlic, or even an Avocado or Green Goddess. And of course, fried chicken. Any recipe that uses milk, can also accept buttermilk with surprisingly great results. That said, I would not add it to pudding, every great thing has it’s limits.
Here are some recipes on this blog that use buttermilk:
This next part is attributed to it’s source at the bottom:
THERE ARE TWO SCHOOLS OF FRIED CHICKEN. ONE IS BRINING IN SALTED WATER AND THE OTHER IS SOAKING IN EITHER BUTTERMILK OR MILK. I JUST COMBINE THE TWO.PADMA LAKSHMI
Why Do We Need Buttermilk Anyway?
Whether we’re talking pancakes or quick breads, the role of buttermilk in almost any baking recipe is to add tenderness and lighten the batter. Once the acids in the buttermilk get in contact with the baking soda or baking powder in the batter, a giant fizz-fest takes place. The reaction with the baking soda (or powder) cancels out the sourness of the buttermilk, leaving our baked goods airy, tender, and tasty beyond reckoning.
Making a Substitute for Buttermilk
If we don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, the closest substitute would be another dairy product with a little acidity added — milk with a spoonful of lemon juice or white vinegar does the job quite nicely. This mixture won’t get as thick and creamy as buttermilk, but it will perform its role in the batter just as well. Incidentally, yogurt or sour cream thinned with milk (or plain water, in a pinch) also work well as buttermilk substitutes.