Farmer Portal

Jul 2014

The Brilliance of Buttermilk

There’s nothing new about buttermilk.  Traditional buttermilk has been around forever, as a simple bi-product of churning butter out of cream.  However, this traditional product has been pushed aside by the product we all see on the supermarket shelves as ‘Buttermilk’, a cultured skimmed milk product that is increasingly popular with the British baking and food manufacturing industries.

Today’s Buttermilk is made by adding a bacterial culture to skimmed milk, allowing it to share many of the attributes of its traditional first cousin.  More viscous and somewhat creamier than traditional buttermilk, it’s probably best known as a key ingredient in Irish wheaten bread, or soda bread.

The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the sodium carbonate in baking powder, releasing large bubbles of carbon dioxide in the dough very quickly.  This means you don’t have to leave the dough to rise, as with yeast bread, allowing it to be put it in the oven straightaway as part of a quicker baking process.

These days, however, this versatile ingredient is proving its worth in a whole range of different recipes including both savoury and sweet dishes.  With low fat and probiotic qualities, it adds a tangy lactic taste to puddings and baking and has been used in products from ice creams and panna cottas to pancakes, scones, muffins, waffles and cupcakes as well as biscuits, pastries and cakes.

This fermented favourite is also an effective tenderiser of meat as well as an instant dressing suited to any type of salad.  A staple of Indian cooking, it is a great addition to savoury sauces and a handy ingredient for poaching fish allowing it to be incorporated into a whole host of savoury dishes including the increasingly popular buttermilk fried chicken.

The tangy taste of Buttermilk, made from our purest skimmed milk, certainly seems to have cemented its position as a firm favourite in the British larder and with the baking industry.  In line with its national surge in popularity, buttermilk is an increasingly popular choice amongst customers as they look to source this easy to use and taste enhancing constituent in our 15kg and 25kg packs.

It’s great to see how this previously maligned dairy product has moved from a drink primarily prescribed to teenagers with acne, to a must have dairy ingredient.   There’s nothing like the brilliance of buttermilk if you’re looking to impart a balanced level of sourness and richness to a whole host of breads, dishes and desserts.