How To Make Buttermilk

Need to know how to make buttermilk? True buttermilk is the liquid left over after making butter. Most commercial buttermilk is not a butter by-product, but a cultured milk that is thicker, heavier and more acidic than regular milk. Essentially, buttermilk is a soured milk product, not unlike yogurt or sour cream. Pasteurized milk will not sour naturally; when a recipe calls for buttermilk and you don't have it on hand, a quick substitute can be made by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to whole milk and letting it sit for about ten minutes. If you want the real deal, it's actually not that hard to make at home using a food processor.

To make buttermilk, you will need:

  • A food processor
  • A plastic or metal chopping blade
  • 1 to 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • A pinch of salt (per cup of cream)
  1. Add the cream to the food processor. Don't add more than will fill the processor bowl over halfway.
  2. Blend continuously until butter forms. The cream will froth, then turn into whipped cream before breaking down and becoming globs of butter in buttermilk.
  3. Separate the solid butter from the buttermilk. Yields about 1/2 cup buttermilk per cup of cream.
  4. No food processor? If you're patient and like to shake things, you can make buttermilk (and butter) just by shaking the cream in a jar until it forms butter—which can take 10-30 minutes.
  5. Use your homemade buttermilk to make buttermilk biscuits or pancakes, or any recipe that calls for buttermilk. Drinking buttermilk straight is said to aid digestion, and may even cure a hangover.


Butter through the Ages



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