My grandparents used to pour buttermilk into a drinking glass full of cornbread and eat it with a spoon. Nana called it clabber, and as much as I liked some of the unfamiliar treats at their house, this one was not for me. In retrospect, it might have been more appealing in a bowl ... or maybe not.
Anyhow, my point is that I have no interest in large containers of buttermilk, because most recipes call for a half-cup or less, and no way am I drinking the rest. What's a cook who would hate to waste a half-gallon of buttermilk to do?
Go for the powdered stuff!
Are you familiar with the quick substitute for buttermilk? The combination of milk and lemon is easy enough, but what's even easier is adding water and a scoop of powdered buttermilk to your recipe — no additional mixing required.
When I was little, if we were short on cash or just plain out of milk, my mother would mix a glass of powdered milk for me to drink. She believed that no child could thrive without a glass of milk a day. (Definitely a generational thing, right?) Anyhow, I was painfully aware that powdered milk existed because I drank it. Blech.
Powdered Buttermilk for the Rest of Us
But while powdered milk isn't my thing, I was surprised and glad to see powdered buttermilk on the shelf a few years ago. There it was, right next to the evaporated milk, and it was thrilling to me. There may be other brands, but the only one I've ever seen is made by Saco, with its smiling chef on the wrapper.
I love buttermilk in baked goods, from biscuits to cornbread to cake, but I don't bake a lot, and buying a whole container to use a half-cup seems pointless. Now, if you have some time on your hands, which I usually don't (at least, not to spend on buttermilk), it can be fun to spend the week trying to use the whole container. In addition to multiple cakes and quick breads, try using it in ranch dressing, quiche, casseroles, and anything else that would benefit from a slightly tart dairy product.
Try These Recipes with Powdered Buttermilk
- The lightest and fluffiest buttermilk pancakes
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Buttermilk coleslaw
- Quick ranch dressing (Using powdered? Don't add the required water and the dressing will be a little thicker — perfect for dipping raw veggies.)
- Buttermilk fried chicken, like these double-crusted chicken tenders with Sriracha-honey BBQ sauce
- Bacon-cheddar skillet cornbread
- Pretty much any quiche or creamy pasta can do with a dash of buttermilk
Also for Popcorn, Dogs, and Extra-Long Refrigeration
As for the powdered buttermilk, as long as you refrigerate it after you open it, it'll last a long time. And you may find yourself using it on other things. It's delicious on popcorn with a little salt and a dash of onion powder, and it even leaves that delicious, Cheeto-like film on your fingers after you finish eating.
And I read recently that sprinkling a little bit on a dog's food can help with tear-staining. I don't know if that's true, because we just started doing it, but I can report that our dog thinks it's a great treat!
Have you used powdered buttermilk? Have you ever eaten buttermilk poured over cornbread? (Me neither.)