The Buttermilk Dilemma

Jug of buttermilk

(c) Jennifer Levy

Living 30 minutes from the closest town is both a joy and a hardship. It’s a joy when you can sit out on your deck on a warm summer night and see the stars stretching like a canopy over your head. It’s a hardship when you are preparing for weekend guests and you realize that you are missing a key ingredient in a recipe you are making.

When it comes to cooking, I’m all about improvisation. But baking is tricky (all that pesky chemistry) and it isn’t always possible to substitute ingredients without sacrificing the end product.

Case in point: buttermilk. An acidic liquid, it reacts to baking soda to make dense, chocolate-y cakes like the one I was baking turn out lighter without drying them out.

And of course, I didn’t have ¬†any buttermilk. I had meant to pick it up on my way in from town, but I forgot it.

It’s times like this that I love Google. A quick Google search yielded a half-dozen or so buttermilk substitute recipes, including this one which I used with great success.

So next time instead of purchasing a quart of buttermilk to use a 1/3 cup in a cake recipe, I’m making faux buttermilk. Lesson learned.


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