At Red Velvet, we LOVE buttermilk. It’s by far our most favorite ingredient! It’s appearance and smell can be deceiving, as this magical ingredient makes most baked treats taste amazing. It also happens to have a long shelf life (even longer when frozen), and is easy to use. Most people don’t know why baking with buttermilk is so much better than baking with milk, so we’re going to explain a few things about this truly powerful ingredient!
But first – what is buttermilk?
Essentially, buttermilk is soured milk. It’s created when the bacteria from raw milk multiplies, giving the milk a “sour” taste. Since this concoction is much thicker than regular milk, it is perfect for baking. It helps biscuits rise and makes pancakes fluffy!
Ps. Don’t be turned off by it’s “sour” smell – it’s never going to smell “good” like milk.
1. It lasts a long time
Unlike regular milk, buttermilk can actually last in your refrigerator months past its expiration date. It’s not only safe to cook and bake with after this time, but it is also safe to drink. If your buttermilk is too chunky, or has separated, give it a shake and you’re ready to go! Many people wonder when their buttermilk has gone bad — you’ll know it’s no longer good when it’s growing green in color (which will take a while!).
2. You only have to buy it once in your lifetime
If you are getting low on your buttermilk supply and feel like having this magical ingredient around all the time, refill your container with regular milk and leave it on your counter for about 12 hours. Crazy, right?!
3. It’s not only great for baking, but cooking as well
While buttermilk adds a great taste to cupcakes and cinnamon rolls, adding buttermilk to your dinners is equally as tasty! Mashed potatoes, and soups are extra creamy when you choose buttermilk over regular milk.
4. Use it in your ice cream base
Who doesn’t love homemade ice cream? Buttermilk is perfect for ice cream bases since it is so thick and creamy. Fun fact: Buttermilk has virtually no saturated fat, so you could call it a guilt-free ice cream sundae 😉
5. You can make a buttermilk substitute
If your local supermarket is sold out of buttermilk or the cost is too high, there’s an easy substitute for you. Combine half plain yogurt with half milk and this mixture will replicate the taste and texture of buttermilk for you! Another easy trick is to mix a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. The milk will begin to curdle and now you’re ready to bake!