Animal Farm, a dairy and creamery in rural Vermont, has been churning out real buttermilk and butter for the likes of Thomas Keller and Barbara Lynch for over a decade now. They make real buttermilk, thick and tangy, and if you take a step back, a dairy — and a cookbook — devoted solely to buttermilk makes a lot of sense. After all buttermilk gets used in so many ways in the kitchen, from thick breakfast pancakes to tender biscuits to crispy fried chicken. If you're not hungry yet, you will be soon.
• Who wrote it: Diane St. Clair
• Who published it: Andrews McMeel Publishing
• Number of recipes: About 100
• Recipes for right now: Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes, Buttermilk and Sour Cherry Coffee Cake, Green Bean and Potato Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Maple Buttermilk Sandwich Bread, Smothered Country-Style Pork Ribs, Buttermilk Creamed Chard, Spicy Summer Corn Pudding, Deep Dish Buttermilk Peach Pie.
• Other highlights: If your ears perked up at this one because you're hoping to make traditional buttermilk at home, you won't be disappointed. Creamery owner Diane St. Clair gives us a simplified small-batch version where top-quality buttermilk is used to culture heavy cream. After culturing overnight and "churning" the mixture in a food processor, you get two fantastic products: butter and buttermilk.
What to do with your buttermilk bounty? St. Clair breaks her recipes down into eight categories: breakfast goodies, creamy soups, salads and their dressings, buttermilk breads, supper dishes, side dishes, cakes and pies, and last but not least, buttermilk desserts. I don't think I fully appreciated all the ways that buttermilk shows up in our cooking until seeing all of these recipes side by side! I especially love the surprising ways that St. Clair has started using buttermilk, like whisked into a thick béchamel for pizza bianca and lasagna, or made into a chocolate cake.
There's also something about this book that feels like being on the receiving end of a warm hug. Maybe it's all the pictures of Diane St. Clair wrapping her arms around her much-loved cows. Or maybe it's the stories she tells of working on the farm. Or maybe it's just the fact that buttermilk feels homey and wholesome in a way that makes me crave a good biscuit slathered with butter on a Saturday morning. Either way, I'll be making some room on my shelf for this one.
• Who would enjoy this book? Bakers, homecooks who love reading about small family farms, anyone who keeps buttermilk regularly stocked in their fridge.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook by Diane St. Clair
• Visit the author's website: Animal Farm
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)