People who have never lived in Seattle have no clue just how real seasonal affective disorder really is. The constant rain and grey skies doesn’t exactly motivate people, including myself, to do much outdoors. Instead, the gloomy weather begs for us to stay indoors and remain comfortable sipping on our endless cups of coffee. This probably explains why Starbucks was founded here and our obsession with all things coffee.
I also believe there is a direct correlation with the weather and the foods we prepare and eat. When it’s so wet and miserable outside, spontaneous baking becomes my go-to therapy to fight the grey away. But today I found myself suffering the consequences of not having what I needed to bake. #Fail.
I wanted to bake bread with buttermilk as a main ingredient, but already knowing I didn’t have buttermilk, I thought I would go to my trusty tangy substitute, sour cream. #Fail again. I never have buttermilk on hand unless I have a recipe in mind I know I need to buy it for. But how could I be out of a Costco sized tub of sour cream? This baffles me. Oh well. When life gives you no buttermilk or sour cream, make your own buttermilk substitute.
Thank goodness I always have lemons, vinegar, and milk on hand. Not that you need all three but if you have milk and either a lemon or vinegar in your pantry, a tangy “buttermilk” can be made in about 5-10 minutes.
By adding a tablespoon (I like to add 1.5 tablespoons) of either lemon juice or white(or cider) vinegar to a cup of milk minus a tablespoon, you add enough acidity to it that it starts to slightly transform into a tangy curdled milk – exactly what we want. Some recipes call for waiting 5 minutes, but this is when I would encourage you to check your buttermilk after 5 minutes. If it looks slightly curdled, then yes, you have achieved what you needed the milk to do. However, if it doesn’t look slightly curdled (like what it looks like when milk or cream goes bad), wait a few more minutes. Another tip I would add is to taste the milk. What you are looking for as far as taste is concerned is a noticeable tang to the milk. If after stirring the milk and tasting it the tanginess is faint, add another teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait 2 minutes.
- ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar (cider vinegar works,too)
- Add the milk and lemon juice together and stir.
- Allow the milk to rest for at least 5 minutes but no longer than 10 minutes.
- When the milk is slightly curdled, the buttermilk is ready to use.