I fondly remember my father drinking buttermilk. He would pour a large glass of buttermilk and drink it while eating a slice of leftover cornbread! He said it was a “country” thing. Do you have a memory like that?
I have never been fond of drinking buttermilk, but I do enjoy baking with it! Years ago, women left the liquid that was left over after churning butter, to stand and it would become thick and sour. The souring was from the airborne bacteria consuming the sugars from the liquid and producing lactic acids. I know, that is not so appealing sounding is it?
Today, buttermilk is made by adding a bacterial culture to low or non-fat milk to produce a thick and tart drink. Since buttermilk is made with low or non-fat milk, it is naturally low in fat and therefore, low in calories.
Lets compare Buttermilk to 1 % milk:
Buttermilk = 98 calories, 2.2 g Total Fat and 8.1 g protein.
1 % Milk = 110 calories, 2.5 Total Fat and 8.0 g protein.
Buttermilk adds moisture and a tangy richness and keeps the fat content low. The acids in the buttermilk have a relaxing effect on the gluten.
That is one of the reason buttermilk biscuits are more tender than biscuits made with regular milk.
If you decided to lower the fat content in a recipe by using buttermilk instead of regular milk, it is easy enough to do. For each cup of buttermilk you use, reduce the amount of baking powder that is called for by 2 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
Keep in mind, baking soda will lose its lifting power shortly after it is mixed. It is best to mix your recipe quickly and get it into the oven quickly.
I don’t know about you, but I have often purchased the smallest amount of buttermilk possible and still had some left after making my recipe. I read that buttermilk can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks after the expiration date! The reason this is possible, is because of the high amount of acid. Just make sure you shake the container well, you don’t want lumps!
Don’t have any buttermilk handy? Mix 1 cup of low-fat milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand for 10 minutes!
Now let’s get baking with buttermilk!
- 2¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1¼ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups grated Parmesan
- ½ cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dry mustard in a large bowl.
- Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and then add cheese, olives and thyme. Use rummber spatula to mix until just moistened. Do not overmix.
- Scrape into prepared pan and bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out dry, about 45 minutes.
- Let stand 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before turning out and letting it cool completely.