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June 23, 2018

You know for a fact that acid-base reaction is essential in the baking process. Because baking powder and baking soda are the default bases of a cookie recipe, they certainly need an acidic counterpart to produce the desired effect. And as for this blog post, we will be concentrating on a typical ingredient that never gets off the list--buttermilk!

Though sometimes buttermilk is difficult to find or almost always unavailable in the supermarket nearby, you could make some substitutes easily. There are several alternatives on the list that are commonly available in your fridge or pantry.


What is Buttermilk?


Would you believe that the original buttermilk was from the liquid left from a churned buttercream? Yes, you have read that right. Because refrigerators are still not available during those times, it was pretty common to turn milk into butter when it was about to taste sour, thus giving buttermilk's sour-like taste. However, if it came from fresh cream, buttermilk would taste sweet.

Today, the manufacturing of buttermilk has evolved into more than just a liquid from a churned butter. Culturing of milk made way to a modern buttermilk that is acidic and tastes tangy.


What is Buttermilk For?


One of the most diverse ingredients you could think of is buttermilk. It is actually a key ingredient that bakers should never take off the list. From adding flavor to serving as leavening, buttermilk plays an important role in the baking process.

You know that baked goods should rise. Remember the science of acid-base reaction? When there is baking powder or baking soda, an acidic component should come into play. And in this case, buttermilk will do the honor in reacting with either of the two to allow the bread to rise.


What are the Substitutes For Buttermilk?


By any chance that buttermilk is not available, don’t worry because there are other options you could choose from! They are easy to make and could absolutely mimic the role of buttermilk.

Plain milk


Let’s not go far by choosing an ingredient whose name is as close as the original--plain milk! Yes, you could replace buttermilk with just plain milk. However, you are free to use this substitute if and only if the recipe doesn’t call for baking soda. Baking soda and buttermilk have a specific reaction that helps in tenderizing and adding flavor. Thus, mixing baking soda and plain milk as a substitute would be a different story. If baking soda is inevitable, then you are required to make other substitutes such as the ones below.


Milk with Vinegar or Lemon Juice


Mixing milk with another acid is an easy and a convenient way to have a buttermilk substitute. Just get a tablespoon full of white vinegar or lemon juice and add a cup of regular milk. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes, then it is good to go.

Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

Like buttermilk, plain yogurt and sour cream are also cultured products, thus they are perfect candidates to serve as substitutes. No other diluting required. Just note that for every cup of buttermilk, use 3/4 cup of either of these substitutes and add 1/4 cup of water. Mix well.

So if you were surprised that there is no buttermilk left in the fridge and you need to make some baked goods for the kids’ snack for school, then don’t you worry because these substitutes got your back. If you also know other ingredients that you could substitute to buttermilk, let us know and we would be happy to have it on the list!


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