How To Make Buttermilk & Buttermilk Cheese
You have that one recipe that calls for a cup of buttermilk, and you don’t feel like running to the store. Been there! It is super easy to make your own alternative in just a few minutes, or you can plan ahead and make a batch of real cultured buttermilk. Maybe you’d like to try a batch of creamy, delicious cheese? I’ve got you covered…here are easy directions for all 3!
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Fast & Easy Buttermilk for Baked Goods
Buttermilk has a higher acid content than regular milk, so it makes baked goods light and fluffy when combined with the leavening (baking soda or baking powder). The reaction causes gas bubbles to form in the batter…which makes your baked goods rise.
So what to do when a recipe calls for buttermilk, but you don’t have any? Here’s a quick alternative that works great in baked goods…
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
Combine the two ingredients and allow to sit until the milk curdles. Replace 1 cup of buttermilk with this mixture and your baked goods will be nice and fluffy.
To make cultured buttermilk, the kind you buy at the store, you’ll need to plan ahead. You can either make a batch using storebought buttermilk, or you can purchase a starter. For my buttermilk and cheese, I used storebought to culture a new batch.
Here are the instructions for using storebought as culture…
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
- 1 cup milk
Pour your milk into a saucepan and place on medium heat. Warm to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and hold at that temperature for about 10 minutes to kill unwanted bacteria.
Pour ingredients into a clean glass container. Mix well and cover. Allow this to sit on the counter at room temperature (between 70-77 F) for 12 to 24 hours. It should be thick and ready to use in your recipes. If it comes out in stringy lumps, clean the container better next time or make sure that your buttermilk is not sitting next to something with wild cultures. Wild bacteria and yeast can cause problems with your culture. You should still be able to use it in baked recipes.
Cons – There are a couple of problems with this method. You need to have buttermilk on hand in order to make more…so plan to do a lot of baking! In addition, you might not be able to use your new batch to make more. Usually, the store bought cultures aren’t very long lived in subsequent batches.
If you want to make buttermilk that may be used to keep a culture living and producing new batches for a long time, you will have better luck with a purchased culture that comes in a powder form.
Buttermilk Cheese Made In A Yogurt Maker
As I was experimenting with making homemade buttermilk, I accidentally found out how to make cheese. I never even knew this was a thing, but now that I do…I love it!
There are a number of different recipes for making buttermilk cheese. Here’s what I did…
- 1 quart milk (I used whole)
- 1 cup cultured buttermilk
Pour ingredients into a nonreactive bowl that fits in your yogurt maker. Stir or shake and leave in the yogurt maker for 24 hours or until the curds and whey have separated.
Place cheesecloth in a strainer and add mixture. Allow this to drain until the cheese reaches a thick consistency. We ate it like cream cheese, spread on toast or bread with some honey. You may also wrap yours in cheesecloth and add weight to press more moisture out for a harder cheese. Add herbs and salt for a savory treat!
Frugal & Super Easy!
Even if you don’t have much time or money, you can make an inexpensive batch of buttermilk or cheese in your very own kitchen. I found a quart marked down to 50¢ at the store and used it to make 2 more quarts and a small batch of cheese. I think that’s pretty frugal, and I’m still enjoying the rewards. 🙂
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.