Buttermilk isn’t a specific drink. It is a name used for various dairy drinks. However, if we talk about where it originated, it was previously referred to as the remaining liquid left after the curdling process. This process involved churning milk to make butter out of cream.
Buttermilk gained more popularity when food choices became more specific. It is used in various foods like pancakes, biscuits, cakes, waffles, and muffins. And since it’s almost impossible to make these recipes without any milk, vegans turned to alternative methods to making a milk-free buttermilk substitute for enjoying all these recipes and many more.
This article includes everything you want to know about buttermilk and the best recipe to make buttermilk with almond milk.
What Exactly is Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is one of two products formed during the cream churning process. The cream divides into two different products: buttermilk and butter solids. You can also call it the sour liquid you get when you’re making butter from cream. It is a cultured or fermented dairy product because the cream used for churning is first left out for up eight hours to develop the right sourness.
As compared to the regular milk, buttermilk has fewer calories and is much lower in fat content. It contains higher levels of vitamins, calcium, and potassium. The consistency of buttermilk is also much thicker than regular milk.
Conventionally, buttermilk is produced by leaving milk unrefrigerated for an extended period, allowing the milk and cream to separate. Fermentation takes place when lactic acid produces bacteria in the milk, making the process of churning possible. The fermentation process ensures that the pH level of the fat is minimal for easy condensing. Also, the lactic acidity prevents the potential growth of harmful microorganisms during the process. As a result, the shelf-life of buttermilk is improved.
All in all, it’s the lactic acid that works as the key to creating buttermilk or for starting the fermentation or curdling process that produces buttermilk.
This video explains pretty much all the possible methods of making buttermilk. Check it out:
The Benefits of Using Buttermilk
Why do people prefer buttermilk over regular milk? What does buttermilk taste like? And what are the benefits of using buttermilk?
First, let’s talk about how it tastes. Generally, it is very tart – more like yogurt but the smoother kind. It also leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. The taste, however, also depends on the making process.
As for why it’s used instead of regular milk, the first reason is the low-calorie count. One cup of buttermilk contains only 90 calories, making it a preferred option for people trying to reduce weight, maintain a healthy weight, or deal with digestive troubles. Also, it is rich in essential nutrients, including protein, and has low fat content. Additionally, it packed with microbes that provide many healthy bacteria that our gut thrives on. These bacteria aid in nutrition, enhance digestion and fight off digestive problems from regular flatulence to more severe diseases like Crohn’s disease.
Also, it can be used in place of milk for almost every recipe. Let’s find out more about that below.
Buttermilk Best Uses
Buttermilk is the top ingredient when it comes to baking. However, the use of buttermilk is not limited to that. Buttermilk is also commonly used to soak in grains for making waffles and biscuits. Some people prefer drinking it directly or using it as a dressing or even utilizing it as a beauty product. Due to the consistency and presence of essential nutrients, buttermilk also serves as a beauty product and can be used as a face wash or on hair for deep conditioning.
Since buttermilk includes acidity levels, it can give added moisture to baked goods. You can avoid the pinch of salt you add to your muffins and other baked goods as the tangy taste of buttermilk can give a lovely flavor to it. However, the buttermilk used in most recipes is cultured instead of the traditional one. The consistency, as well as the taste, is very similar to that of Greek yogurt.
Last but not least, the almond buttermilk serves as a great alternative to regular buttermilk for many recipes for vegans.
What’s The Deal With Vegan Buttermilk?
You can find several non-dairy milk substitutes for vegans. However, the ones available at stores can be highly processed. Almond milk, on the other hand, has a different history.
Centuries back, almond milk was used as the ultimate substitute for milk. It was produced by soaking almonds in water overnight and pureeing them with cold water and finally straining out the extra grit.
This process suspended all the nutrients, proteins, and fats in the water, leaving you with a thin-consistency, milky-looking drink; this was almond milk. It was used for drinking, added to coffee, and also used for different recipes.
While it is easy to find readily available non-dairy vegan milk options, finding vegan buttermilk in stores is still an uncommon scenario. However, vegans found a way around using almond milk for making buttermilk as the perfect non-dairy version they can use. The best part is that it only requires a few ingredients and is very easy to make. And if you’re just starting your vegan journey, learning how to make almond buttermilk is an exciting way to start.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp of any acidic substance (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, or white vinegar)
- Pour 1 tbsp of lemon juice or any acidic liquid that you’re using in a measuring cup.
- Add in 1 cup of almond milk and stir it with a fork.
- Let sit for five to ten minutes and the almond milk will start to thicken into buttermilk.
You can increase the quantity of the almond milk and the acidic ingredient as per your buttermilk requirement. The acid from any of these acidic ingredients will have the same effect as the lactic acid in regular milk. The curdling process will occur and separate the liquid from the cream.
Also, here’s an interesting video on dairy-free buttermilk substitution that you may like:
Using Buttermilk Made from Almond Milk– Everything You Need to Know
Does your favorite recipe include buttermilk as one of the ingredients? Now that your homemade almond buttermilk is ready, you can use it and replace the regular buttermilk with your vegan version.
Almond buttermilk is a great base ingredient for smoothies – thanks to its smooth creaminess and low-fat and low-calorie profile.
Let’s top it off with one of my favorite recipes. Check out the recipe below to see how you can use the almond buttermilk in any food.
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes – The Recipe
- 1 cup homemade almond buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add almond buttermilk and oil together in another bowl.
- Pour in the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until there are no lumps and the batter reaches its perfect consistency.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Spray with light oil.
- Scoop the pancake batter into a round shape and let spread.
- Allow the bubbles to start popping on the surface before flipping to the other side.
Serve the fluffiest pancakes with bananas, chocolate syrup, and all of your favorite toppings.
Don’t forget you can use any non-dairy milk to make buttermilk using the same recipe mentioned above. Just replace almond milk with your choice of milk, let’s say soy milk. Try out the best versions in your favorite smoothies, biscuits, muffins, cakes, and buns.
Whether you’re starting a vegan journey, are lactose-intolerant, or just want to try out non-dairy buttermilk for health purposes, it will become one of your most go-to ingredients right away!