Do you ever wonder why buttermilk is used in baking? Well I certainly didn’t understand it much myself, all I knew was that when buttermilk was added to my cake batter I produced a perfectly moist cake. That’s all that matters right. But it’s always good to expand our knowledge in the kitchen and when your guests say “wow, that cake is amazing”. You can then go on to explain the science behind buttermilk…..haha, don’t think your guests will come back after that boring science lesson. On a serious note it’s always good to know why we use certain ingredients in our baking, I’m curious that way. So here I’ve done a little bit of research on what is the science behind buttermilk so we can all look like a pro in the kitchen.
Buttermilk is thick and tangy and it is low in fat. At least now I can feel less guilty when I eat that piece of cake
Originally buttermilk was made from the leftover liquid after cream was churned into butter
Buttermilk these days is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to pasteurized skim or low-fat milk
Buttermilk can last up to two weeks after opening, I have personally used mine a week after opening and it was perfectly ok. However, it’s best to freeze your buttermilk if you have leftovers, it may look a little clumpy when thawed but just whisk it a little and it’s good to go
Buttermilk is acidic and having a little acid in our batter keeps our baked goods moist, tender and definitely gives it a better flavour. It tenderises the gluten strands in the batter giving your cakes a melt-in your-mouth texture .Buttermilk can tenderise your meat too
When buttermilk is used to make scones you get a light, flaky scone. I have tried using it in scones and it makes it super delicious
Buttermilk and baking soda works together as acid in the buttermilk reacts with the alkaline baking soda and creates bubbles (of carbon dioxide) and it’s these bubbles that gives your cakes the volume it needs. Sorry for the little lesson in science.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes baking soda has that metallic taste when added to baked goods, if using buttermilk this neutralizes that metallic taste
For every cup of buttermilk used in your batter you should use about 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Yogurt can also work well as a substitute for buttermilk as it has the same tangy acidity as buttermilk, I used it in my delicious Chocolate honeycomb cupcakes
I’m sure there are many uses for buttermilk but these are just some of the ways you can use your buttermilk, in pancakes, scones, cakes, tenderiser for meat, waffles, potato salad, muffins, mashed potatoes and soups.