Learning from TWD: Buttermilk Substitutes

I mentioned in my first post that I joined Tuesdays With Dorie because of this whole concept of community learning. So after my first TWD baking experience, I was looking forward to reading other bloggers’ comments on the recipe. I decided it would be nice to do a sort of lessons learned post afterwards. So here’s what I learned from fellow bloggers.

The majority of TWDers loved the bread although some thought the basic recipe was too plain. Most bloggers actually altered the recipe, with the addition of raisins, currants (both often soaked in some kind of liquor) and/or carraway seeds the most common. Another common addition was that of cheese. Delectable Delights with Rebecca recommends adding about 2 cups of grated cheese to Baking with Julia‘s base recipe. Some other people also used a mix of whole weat and regular all-purpose flour in order to obtain a more wholesome loaf.

My favorite variant came from The Double Trouble Kitchen. She added sundried tomatoes, rosemary and sprinkled it with sea salt and black pepper. Salt plus pepper, a common flavor profile in Chinese cuisine, is pretty much a sure winning combination in my book (incidentally, Costco sells these amazing salt and pepper pistachios that we’re addicted to).

But what I love most is the learning of techniques, tips and tricks. And this time, I learned that if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily substitute it with one of several things:

1. Yogurt alone or yogurt and light cream, like Going Beyond Cookies

Buttermilk can in fact be substituted volume for volume with yogurt, so 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of yogurt. Conversely, you can substitute yogurt with buttermilk. Cook’s Illustrated advocates for mixing 3/4 cup whole fat plain yogurt with 1/4 cup milk; this mixture is less tangy than buttermilk but should behave the same way.

2. Milk + lemon juice, as did Thursdays with Granny

You can do this with lemon juice or vinegar. Fill a 1-cup measuring cup with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar, then fill the rest of the cup with milk (whole milk if possible). Let stand 5-10 minutes. Congratulations, you have just made clabbered milk (a milk that’s been left to turn sour), or a version of it anyway.

There are other ways to substitute for buttermilk such as with the use of cream of tartar, but I’ve focused here on the two most common ones.

I don’t use buttermilk very often, so those were true revelations. Have you used these substitutes before? How has that worked out?


4 thoughts on “Learning from TWD: Buttermilk Substitutes

  1. Love the idea of a “Learning from” post! (And thanks for including me!)

    I had no idea about the yogurt substitution. I wonder how it would taste turning it into a dessert bread and using vanilla yogurt and adding chocolate chips or something. That’s just ridiculous enough for me to want to try it, haha

    • Hello! One TWDer tried it with vanilla extract, chocolate chips and raisins, and loved it. I used chocolate covered raisins myself and it was delicious. So I bet using vanilla yogurt and chocolate chips would be lovely. Let me know how it goes :)

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