Baking with Buttermilk

Want to churn out moist, flavorful baked treats that are lower in fat? Add buttermilk to the batter!

Despite its name and thick consistency, buttermilk is not loaded with butter (or fat). The name merely reflects its butter-making beginnings—it was the milky liquid left over after butter was churned.

Buttermilk brings a pleasant tang to cakes, breads, biscuits and other family favorites while adding very little fat. Because this rich-tasting milk is an acidic ingredient, like yogurt and sour cream, it also helps tenderize the gluten in batter, giving baked goods a softer texture and more body. Plus, it helps quick breads rise.

Most buttermilk you find at the grocery store is low-fat and sometimes nonfat. The milk tends to get thicker with time, so remember to shake the carton before using.

Both recipes Parmesan Basil Biscuits (shown above right) and Hearty Brown Quick Bread use 1 percent buttermilk. You're certain to butter up family and friends with these yummy cheese biscuits and hearty brown bread. Try them soon!

Rise to the occasion and serve these light flavorful Parmesan Basil Biscuits the next time you invite guests to dinner. The olive oil, Parmesan cheese and basil make the golden gems so tasty, they don't even need butter! The recipe comes from our Test Kitchen.

"Not only is Hearty Brown Quick Bread high in fiber and low in fat, but it's moist, rich, delicious and filling," assures Susan Lane of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Sweet plump raisins and crunchy pecans make this whole wheat loaf an instant favorite.

Buttermilk Substitution

You're halfway through the recipe and, oh no, you're out of buttermilk. No problem—just mix your own! Here are two easy methods for substitutes for buttermilk:

  • Place 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add 1 percent milk to equal 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes until the milk thickens and curdles.
  • Or combine 2/3 cup of plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup 1 percent milk to yield 1 cup buttermilk.

For more recipes using buttermilk, visit the Taste of Home Recipe Finder.