Video:What Is Buttermilk?with Jesse Rosado
Buttermilk is called for in a lot of recipes but it can be pretty easily confused with plain milk. Here's a brief explanation of what buttermilk is and how it's used.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Buttermilk?Hi! This is Jesse Rosado for About.com, and today, we're going to be talking about what buttermilk is with a little help from About.com's home cooking site.
Definition of ButtermilkSo what is buttermilk, and how is it made? Buttermilk is a residual liquid that's leftover when you're done churning butter. And that's how it wound up with the name "buttermilk." Some people believe that buttermilk has butter in it, and that it is high in fat and calories, but that is not true. Buttermilk has fewer calories and less fat than whole milk or cream. Sometimes you'll see little yellow spots and flecks in the buttermilk. But that's just a little bit of the butter that hasn't been skimmed off. Buttermilk is slightly thicker than milk, but not as thick as cream. And some people are surprised to discover that it takes a gallon of milk to make just a half-pint of buttermilk.
Alternative Way of Producing ButtermilkMost buttermilk these days is not a by-product of butter at all. They just take regular milk, and they add lactic acid and allow it to sit for 12-14 hours. That comes out as buttermilk. That acid is also what gives it that tangy, acidic flavor. Because of its acidity, buttermilk is very easy to preserve. It keeps for up to two weeks, and can sometimes be used after its expiration date in baking products, because it preserves so well. It's also not recommended to freeze it, because when you thaw it out, buttermilk will separate.
Ways to Use ButtermilkA lot of recipes that call for ingredients like fresh blueberries or walnuts will also call for buttermilk. This is because it prevents a chemical reaction that may cause a dingy blue or grey color in your baking product. Buttermilk helps with browning baked goods, and it also helps with the texture. Buttermilk is sometimes recommended for folks with digestive problems, because buttermilk is actually easier to digest than regular milk. There are many uses for buttermilk! People use it in pancakes; sometimes they'll dredge meat in buttermilk and flour to make a breading - think fried chicken. Baked goods use a lot of buttermilk - think buttermilk biscuits!
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