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Making buttermilk with vinegar?
Posted: 11 February 2010 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello, friends.
Another ingredient we don’t have in Brazil is buttermilk. But there is a blog where a Brazilian girl who lived in the USA teaches how to make/substitute ingredients usually called for American recipes.

Well, she says that one can make buttermilk at home by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Can anyone tell me if this is true?

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Posted: 11 February 2010 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve heard this too, although I haven’t tried it yet, must do so soon just to see if it works.  Although I can get buttermilk here in the UK it is not in all supermarkets and it would be nice to know I can make it at home.  I’ve also heard that you can use lemon juice instead of the vinegar. smile

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Posted: 11 February 2010 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I haven’t tried that, either, but my understanding is that it is a substitute, not that you’re actually making buttermilk.  I think it works from a chemical perspective, being milk with the acidity of buttermilk, but doesn’t quite deliver the flavor of buttermilk.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Julie…you are correct.  Buttermilk, today, is actually a cultured product…like yogurt, and is thicker than milk and has a distinct sour tang.  Adding vinegar to milk will work in the recipe, but the final result will not be exactly the same.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks Jeannette, Julie and Bill,
Please, Jeannette, if you try it, tell us what you think about the result in terms of texture and flavor, ok?

Julie and Bill,
I also think that is not the same because TCB explains that buttermilk is a cultured product, as Bill has said.
For “culture” I understand a biological process of adding micro-organisms that will cause fermentation.

Adding vinegar or lemon just raises the acidity of the milk, since one has acetic acid and the other citric acid. Thinking of this, it would be more logical to add yogurt (which has for sure a biological fermentation) to the milk and stop fermentation at a given point (I don’t konw what). I actually see that Rose teaches a quick “Cr?me Fra?che” substituting buttermilk for sour cream (which I have learned here is quite the same thing as whole yogurt), and letting it sit for 15 minutes.

BUT, as Jeannette has confirmed that she has heard about this substitution too, I imagine people usually get good results with it. So, please, if you ever try it, could you please tell me about the results?

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Posted: 11 February 2010 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Actually…sour cream and yogurt are smiliar…but the flavor is completely different.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I usually don’t keep buttermilk on hand, so I often use this trick and it works perfectly fine.  If I had a recipe that relied heavily on buttermilk, I’d wait until I could get to the store to buy it, but for a small amount, both the vinegar and lemon juice versions work very well.  An additional note, you’d think the vinegar version would taste bad, but the vinegar completely dissipates, leaving no aftertaste.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Are you able to get or make yogurt where you are? I find that a mixture of about 1/3 yogurt and 2/3 milk makes a pretty good substitute for buttermilk. If your yogurt is fairly mild-tasting and not very sour, use half yogurt and half milk.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks Patrincia and Barbara,

In fact, I have read that the vinegar version tastes closer to buttermilk than the lemon one.

And yes, Barbara, it is very easy to find plain yogurt here, so I will also try your recipe. Thank you!

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Posted: 16 February 2010 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Never tried the vinegar trick.  I have made buttermilk before, and it is very delicious, even good to drink. It isn’t hard to make, but certainly more involved than adding vinegar to milk.  Anyway, if you ever want to compare the two since you don’t have access to buttermilk, you could try making it once.  If you are interested, I can post the instructions.

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Yes please!

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Posted: 16 February 2010 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Matthew - 16 February 2010 05:27 PM

Never tried the vinegar trick.  I have made buttermilk before, and it is very delicious, even good to drink. It isn’t hard to make, but certainly more involved than adding vinegar to milk.  Anyway, if you ever want to compare the two since you don’t have access to buttermilk, you could try making it once.  If you are interested, I can post the instructions.

Please, Matthew, could you post it?

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Posted: 17 February 2010 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I looked back at my recipe, and it made me laugh because the first step is to make cr?me fra?che using buttermilk, but I think you could use a bit of yogurt for that step.  The recipe makes cultured buttermilk and butter, so you just need something to culture the cream first (this is what makes it so delicious in my opinion).

One pint (2 cups) of cream will yield about 6 ounces of butter and 3/4 cup buttermilk, but this will depend on the fat content of your cream.

1. Culture the cream (make cr?me fra?che) by adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk (or yogurt?) to 2 cups of heavy cream. Place in a sealed jar and keep at room temperature for 12-36 hours until thick. Mine took 20 hours to set. Ultra-pasteurized cream will take longer than pasteurized. Refrigerate cream after it sets.

2. Pour the cream into a food processor and blend until butter separates from the butter milk. This takes about 5 minutes.

3. Pour contents in a strainer over a bowl to remove buttermilk. Reserve buttermilk.

4. Return butter to processor, add ice cold water, and pulse to clean the butter. Drain liquid and repeat 2-3 times until water is no longer cloudy.

5. Place butter in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork to remove remaining water. Tilt bowl and pour off water as it accumulates.

6. Knead in a few pinches of salt if desired, mold butter, and refrigerate.

I should add that I haven’t tried to bake with this, but it does taste just like buttermilk from the store—actually even better as it is fresher and will have a few little specks of butter in it.

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Posted: 17 February 2010 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thank you, Matthew! grin

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Posted: 20 February 2010 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Dear Felix - Your friend is right. I use that method all the time. Just make sure you let it sit for at least 10 - 15 mins. and you will see the milk curdle.

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Posted: 20 February 2010 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Chiming in to add that, like Barbara, I have also had success with using a 50/50 combo of milk/plain whole milk yogurt in place of buttermilk. I like it better than the low-fat buttermilk usually available in stores I frequent. An added bonus is that I usually have yogurt on hand so it’s convenient for me. As someone who typically avoids substitutions (especially with flour or dairy), I am surprised at how often and liberally I use this one, but it has always worked!

I have also used the clabbering (lemon/vinegar) method too.

Matthew, many thanks for the instructions on making buttermilk. As usual, I am impressed with your culinary diligence. An inspiration I tell you!

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