Buttermilk Basics

Baking with Buttermilk

Some of our most loved recipes are better because of buttermilk. It's a powerful ingredient that brings a pleasant tang and tender texture to everything from pancakes to salad dressings. It may be used in place of regular milk in recipes for fried chicken and meatloaf or to add vibrancy to coleslaw and potato salads. It can also work magic on mashed potatoes! Buttermilk's pleasantly sour taste is a perfect contrast to sweet ingredients, but it also helps enhance the naturally tart flavors of others. It dramatically draws out and enlivens lemon's brightness, which is particularly tricky in lemon-flavored baked goods.

True buttermilk is the liquid remaining when butter is churned from cream. Most of the buttermilk found in the Dairy Department, however, is made from skim milk with cultures added to replicate the acidity and body of authentic buttermilk. It's naturally low in fat and produces extremely tender, finely textured and very moist baked goods.

Buttermilk powder is a major multitasker in the kitchen and is wonderful when you want to add buttermilk flavor but not necessarily more moisture. Added to flour in a fried chicken dredge, pancake batter, biscuit mix or dressing, it brings even more tang than is possible with liquid buttermilk. It's inexpensive and, once opened, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year. It's supremely useful for both cooks who use buttermilk infrequently and those who love it and use it often.

Find It!

Because it is acidic, buttermilk powder affects leavening in baked goods, so baking powder may need to be reduced slightly to offset this effect. Find powdered buttermilk in the Baking Aisle.

Selection and availability of products and ingredients vary by market.