While traditionally we churn cream for the butter, it turns out that buttermilk is actual the real gem of cream churning - buttermilk adds a unique tasty tang & tenderness to baked products not otherwise possible. Buttermilk WILL take your baking from good to great.
Buttermilk is a leftover product from butter production. Then churning cream from milk, the cream will first develop into the wellknown whipped cream and then with further churning split apart into butter & buttermilk.
In the picture after whipping the cream, the fat butter is mostly trapped in the whisk, while the liquid buttermilk is left at the bottom of the bowl.
Buttermilk is low in fat, contains most of the protein originally in the milk and ferments naturally into a thick & tangy cream AND because if it's acidity (quelling bacterial growth) easily stores in the fridge for at least a week.
It seems that these days then you buy buttermilk in the supermarked that it is a cultured version created by lactococcus lactis inoculated milk simulating the naturally created buttermilk. The version should be thicker and taste more tart, however it is VERY easy to make it yourself AND at the same time you will get the best butter.
Baking soda lift dough or batter the same way as yeast by producing carbon dioxide, however to start productin carbon dioxide baking soda must react with an acidic ingredient. If there are not enough acids in the batter, the final result will taste bitter or soapy. Buttermilk is acidic and by replacing half the milk in a recipe, it is guaranteed that there are enough acid to both create the lift and to avoid bad taste of non-reacted baking soda.
Note that baking powder already contains enough acids and buttermilk will therefore have none of these effects.
Baked goods browns more readily in alkaline environments and since buttermilk is acidic, it helps avoiding browning. This effect is especially helpful in sugary cookies that often browns too fast.
I like my buttermilk blueberry cake better then it is on the heavy side, however if you like your cakes with a more light and airy consistency, you can double the amount of baking powder from 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Blueberry scones :
The raw scone dough can be frozen and then thawed in the fridge the night before baking.
Pancakes with baking powder will make the pancakes more delicius and taller
Ranch dressing: Whisk 1 cup buttermilk with 2/3cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. minced garlic, and 1 Tbs. each of minced fresh dill, minced fresh parsley, and grated onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.