Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Buttermilk: It's not just for your grandparents anymore


The word brings a gloppy, old milk-like image to mind.

The only way I have experienced buttermilk has been through parents and grandparents. I grew up watching my grandmother occasionally enjoy one of her favorite dinners: crumbled up cornbread with a healthy pour of buttermilk over it. It was a sort of old-school cereal, I suppose. Also, my mom cooks with buttermilk sometimes, and when she does my dad gets excited about the prospect of getting a full glass of it with his dinner.

It's not to say that I have anything against buttermilk, I just haven't had a reason to use it in my past 23 years, but now that I'm 24, I have found a few ways to really appreciate what this sour milk can do.

Last weekend Jason and I decided to make brinner: breakfast for dinner, specifically pancakes. He had mentioned that banana pancakes were one of his favorites, so I found a fabulous recipe on Saveur for banana nut pancakes. It included buttermilk, which I figured would greatly enhance the state and fluffiness of the pancakes.

And it did! They were light, airy but still held their shape really well. The soft pancake center with the occasional crunch from a walnut made it the perfect combination. And to make them even better, we smothered peanut butter AND syrup on ours. Love that peanut butter and banana combo!

Since we only used 1/4 cup of buttermilk for the pancakes, being the frugal shopper that I am, I looked for other recipes to use my buttermilk in. Quite a few cake or pound cake recipes seemed to have contain buttermilk, and a light bulb went off as I remembered what my sister Hannah got me for my birthday: a really cool silicone bundt pan! It was perfect!

I used an Epicurious recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt Cake. It uses frozen blueberries and calls for orange rind, but I used clementine since that's all that I had around. It turned out fantastically! And the pan was so great that it just popped right out with no greasing or anything. Needless to say, yesterday I ate 3 pieces of bundt cake throughout the day. It is so moist and light and totally addiciting. And it didn't even need a glaze or powdered sugar; in my opinion it was really moist without it.

I hope you, too, can rediscover buttermilk and its baking possibilities.

*Click on recipe card to enlarge and save


  1. This summer I plan on making homemade buttermilk ranch with fresh herbs from the garden. I wish I'd thought of that last year.

    1. That sounds delish! I definitely wouldn't feel as bad about eating ranch if it was homemade.