Buttermilk is a very specific ingredient used in recipes for cakes, cookies, waffles, and biscuits. Buttermilk adds a very unique taste to the recipe. You can also drink it by itself. Especially if you plan on using it for just one recipe, you may want to make your own, instead of trying to find it at a local store. Buttermilk is traditionally skimmed off the top of butter, but you can also make homemade buttermilk. To make your own buttermilk, you just need a few simple ingredients and a couple of minutes. It is very simple to make your own buttermilk:
- Purchase the ingredients. To make buttermilk, all you need is whole milk and cream of tartar or lemon juice. Many grocery stores, especially smaller ones, do not carry buttermilk. Using whole milk and lemon juice is a great way to avoid having to search for a store that does carry it. Alternately, you can use cultured buttermilk (which may not be available at your local grocery store). This will turn whole milk into buttermilk. Of course, if you're making buttermilk to avoid having to purchase it, use the first method.
- Mix the buttermilk. Add a tablespoon of cream of tartar or lemon juice for every cup of whole milk. You can mix it right in the milk carton, or in a bowl or other container. If you are making a large quantity of buttermilk, you can reduce the amount of lemon juice or cream of tartar. If using buttermilk starter, use four times as much whole milk as cultured buttermilk.
- Wait. Stir the mixture and allow it to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then stir again. You should notice that the milk is beginning to curdle and thicken. The lactic acid in the cream of tartar or lemon juice is what turns the milk into buttermilk.
- Serve or store. Serve the buttermilk, use it in your recipe, or refrigerate it. It should keep for several weeks. The date on the original milk container is a good estimate of the amount of time it should be kept. Keep in mind that you can make as little or as much buttermilk as you want. Since it's so easy to make, there's no need to make a lot of extra buttermilk to store.
Buying a whole carton of buttermilk just doesn't make sense, especially when it's easy to make at home and many recipes only use a small quantity. Instead of letting the rest of the buttermilk go to waste, use this recipe to save the expense, and make only what you need.