Buttermilk Substitute: Make It Work!
Has this ever happened to you? You decide that you want to try a new recipe. As you review the recipe, you note that it calls for buttermilk. You pause -- do I have any buttermilk? A trip to the fridge, open the door and ... nothing. No buttermilk. Nuts! But I really, really want to make this quick bread. But I really, really don't want to go to the store just for 1/2 cup of buttermilk. What to do?
I recently went through this, like this week. I wanted to try a quick bread recipe featuring rhubarb but I needed 1/2 cup of buttermilk and I didn't have any and I didn't want to go to the store. This was a classic Tim Gun "make-it-work" moment.
Before I reveal the fix, let me explain why we use buttermilk in baking. There are many reasons but one of the major reasons is the acidity. The acid in buttermilk reacts with baking soda to create air bubbles. It is these bubbles which cause your quick bread or cake to rise. The acidity also reacts with the gluten in flour to inhibit gluten formation, resulting in a more tender baked good.
So what did I do? First, I poured one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into a one cup measuring cup. If you don't have lemon juice, white vinegar will also work. Then, I added skim milk to measure one cup. Stir and let the mixture sit 5 to 10 minutes. That's it! Use as you would buttermilk. The acidity from the lemon juice or vinegar will give you the same reaction that you would get from the acidity in buttermilk. You can use any milk that you have on hand. I used skim milk because that is what I always have in the fridge.
How did the bread turn out? Delicious!! I'll share that recipe soon.
Happy baking dear friends and as Tim Gun would say, "Make it work!"