Friday, February 15, 2013


Classic uses for buttermilk include cornbread, biscuits, fried chicken, Red Velvet and German Chocolate cakes, pancakes and waffles. Buttermilk in the batter helps with the rising and adds moistness. Many of these foods listed are Southern staples.
It was surprising to learn that buttermilk nationwide per capita annual consumption is only 1-1/2 pounds a year or just under 3 cups. 
Buttermilk has gotten a "bad rap" so to speak because there is a misconception it is high in fat, like butter. But in fact, it is low in fat since today's commercial buttermilk is made from skim milk. Originally, it was the low fat milk left over after butter was churned from whole milk or cream.  
I found the article Buttermilk  Not Just for Grandma Anymore Star Tribune, February 14, 2013  by Nancy Stohs enlightening. Here are some tips from the article
  • You can substitute buttermilk for regular milk, cup for cup, but make sure the recipe includes at least a 1/2 tsp. baking soda per cup of buttermilk.
  • A little buttermilk substituted for some of the liquid in the batter of baked goods prevents blue discoloration you often get around cherries and berries that are in the batter.
  • Always shake buttermilk before you use it.
  • Since buttermilk is cultured, like yogurt, it will keep longer in the refrigerator than regular milk.
  • Buttermilk does not freeze well.
  • Because it is cultured and fermented it curdles easily when heated more than milk and cream. Avoid stirring buttermilk into very hot dishes.
  • A little buttermilk added to pie crust makes it tender.
  • If  you are out of buttermilk you can substitute by filling a measuring cup with milk to the one cup line and add 1 TB. lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Using buttermilk in a marinade for chicken or pork makes meat more tender.

The photo above shows a can of cultured buttermilk,a powder mixture that can be substituted for fluid buttermilk. But keep in mind there will be some difference in taste. To use the powder in baking or other batters just mix it with other dry ingredients then add the appropriate amount of water to the liquid ingredients. 4 TB. of powder plus one cup water equals 1 buttermilk. It is recommended to use the fluid buttermilk when using it in cold salads and dressings. 

Buttermilk Herb Marinade recipe from
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
                                                      Whisk marinade ingredients together
                                                      Place chicken or pork pieces into a large zip loc bag  
                                                      Add marinade, close bag and set it in a bowl
                                                      Place bowl in refrigerator for at least 3 hours
                                                      Discard marinade and grill chicken or pork 
                                                     Another option is to remove the meat from the marinade
                                                     Beat one egg and coat meat in the beaten egg  
                                                     Then dredge meat in herb bread crumbs for a crust 
                                                     Bake at 350 in a lightly greased pan 40 minutes covered 

 Buttermilk Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
  • 1 ( 8 oz.) package semisweet baking squares
  • 1 stick of butter and 1 stick of margarine (softened)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Garnish with powdered sugar
  • Grease a tube pan or a bundt pan
  • Microwave chocolate baking squares at high for 1 minute and 15 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir every 15 seconds
  • Beat butter and margarine 2 minutes or until creamy
  • Gradually add sugar beating about 5 minutes and add eggs in one at a time
  • Stir in melted chocolate, syrup and vanilla
  • Stir until smooth
  • Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt
  • Beat at low speed- alternating: butter mixture, buttermilk and flour mixture, ending with flour mixture
  • Pour into greased pan bake @ 325 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center comes clean (use a long wooden pick)
  • Cool pan on a wire rack 10- 15 minutes then remove cake from pan and place on rack to cool
Can substitute Mexican chocolate for semi-sweet chocolate in this recipe.  Then omit the cinnamon.  Mexican chocolate is found in Hispanic aisle (grocery store)

 Southern Buttermilk Red Velvet Cake
recipe adapted from
Cook's notes: Traditionally the Red Velvet Cake is baked in two layers as shown in the above photo. But for the photo below I used a 13 x 9 pan and sprinkled crushed walnuts over the cream cheese frosting. I must say this was one of the best Red Velvet cakes I ever tasted. It was a moist and fluffy cake. Using two TB. of food coloring does give it a rich red color. 

  • 2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1- 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp.fine salt
  • 4 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (fluid) at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-2 food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • Crushed pecans for garnish sprinkled over the cream cheese frosting

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 2 round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake until the cake pulls away from the side and the center of the  the cakes come out clean, about 22 minutes.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. Cool 5 minutes
  • One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate lined with wax paper and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1-3 oz. package softened cream cheese
1 TB. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk (start out small and then add by tablespoons the milk as needed for correct consistency)  
Beat until smooth

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