True buttermilk is made from the whey leftover from making buttermilk. Thanks to some lacto-fermentation, it cultures into a thick yet pourable cream. However, most of the commercial buttermilk these days is made more like yogurt: by warming low-fat milk, introducing a specific culture, and letting it thicken. Still tasty and good for you, but not quite the same as traditional buttermilk.
We most often think of using buttermilk in baked goods like muffins and pancakes, but that's certainly not the extent of its repertoire. We use it to give coleslaw its classic tart flavor and creamy texture, whisk it into salad dressings, add it to smoothies, and even use it to make cheese.
What are your favorite ways to use buttermilk?
If you don't have buttermilk on-hand when you need it, you can substitute an equal amount of yogurt thinned with a little milk, kefir, or make your own substitute:
1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim) + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, let stand for five minutes before using
More on Buttermilk
• Reader Feedback: What Can We Do with Buttermilk?
• Food Science: What Is Buttermilk?
• Good Tip: Freezing Leftover Buttermilk
• How to Make Buttermilk Quick Bread: With 10 Variations
• How to Make Buttermilk Biscuits from Scratch
• The Best Buttermilk Pancakes Ever
• Classic Southern Coleslaw
• Make Cheese at Home: Fresh Buttermilk Cheese