Unless you are new to using dairy products, you must have heard of buttermilk.
Buttermilk is a top choice for mostly baking and other related applications. You can find it mostly being common as an ingredient for biscuits, pancakes, and quick breads. The same can be used in fried foods, potato salads, and salad dressing as alternative use of buttermilk.
If all this sounds interesting, the possible question to pop into your mind next would be on where to find buttermilk.
Do not worry about all that as this guide goes in-depth to talk more about buttermilk and where best you can buy some.
What is Buttermilk?
When you first read the name, you are likely to get misled. This is because the milk does not even contain butter.
Buttermilk can be described as the liquid left over after churning of whole milk into butter. Such type of buttermilk is common in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
The description above is for traditional buttermilk, but buttermilk today is different. It mostly contains water, casein, and lactose. The buttermilk would also be homogenized and pasteurized together with the addition of bacteria that produces lactic acid.
Lactic acid will increase the overall acidity of buttermilk and further prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria, thus increasing the product’s shelf life. Still, lactic acid will give the milk a sour taste since the good bacteria will be fermenting lactose.
Looking at normal milk, you will notice buttermilk is thicker. Also, the pH is significantly reduced and casein protein quickly solidifies.
Below are some nutritional facts about buttermilk. This should help you know if buttermilk is good for you or not.
The nutrition facts below are as per one cup of buttermilk.
- Calories – 98
- Carbs – 12 grams
- Protein – 8 grams
- Fat – 3 grams
- Calcium – 22% of Daily Value
- Sodium – 16% of Daily Value
- Riboflavin – 29% of Daily Value
- Vitamin B12 – 22% of Daily Value
- Pantothenic acid – 13% of Daily Value
From the summary above, a cup of buttermilk can supply a person with multiple nutrients crucial to meet their daily needs.
5 Health Benefits of Buttermilk
Buttermilk boasts of having multiple health benefits. Here are some of them.
- Digestion can be easier than other dairy products
Buttermilk will have lactic acid as part of its building components. For this reason, the lactic acid comes in handy to make lactose digestion easier.
Some people might be lactose intolerant, so they need the body to handle lactose intake better. As you can see, it would be easier to do so when the product already has lactic acid.
Even those who are lactose intolerant can still drink cultured milk such as buttermilk with few or no side effects at all.
- Buttermilk supports strong bones
Looking at the nutrition facts mentioned above, you will notice the high calcium and phosphorus. The same goes for vitamin K2 and vitamin D.
Such composition of buttermilk means that you can develop and maintain strong bones generally. As such, buttermilk can be a great option to prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
A lot of evidence shows how people who took phosphorus ended up with improved mineral density and mineral content. The same thing applies to buttermilk if you keep it in your diet.
There is still new evidence showing how vitamin k2 can be great for bone health too and treating osteoporosis. It works even better when combined with vitamin D.
- Can improve oral health
Periodontitis is a common problem in people. This is where you end up with inflamed gums. This condition is caused by the periodontal bacteria.
Luckily, buttermilk contains anti-inflammatory effects that can help improve your oral health.
If you keep on taking buttermilk more often, it should help in the reduction of periodontitis. The same cannot be said for non dairy foods.
It does not have to be inflammation from periodontitis alone, but also radiation therapy, Crohn’s disease, and chemotherapy.
- Good for lowering cholesterol
Consuming 45grams of buttermilk daily can generally help in reducing triglycerides and cholesterol by up to 10 percent. This is better performance than what you get with a placebo.
It is not just any cholesterol that is reduced, but rather the LDL or bad cholesterol that will face a 3% drop after switching to buttermilk.
Since buttermilk also contains sphingolipid compounds, it should be good to lower the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
- Buttermilk lower blood pressure levels
It is always a desire to achieve a normal blood pressure. However, that cannot happen if the diet does not change.
Consuming buttermilk daily can generally reduce systolic blood pressure, the arterial blood pressure, and the plasma angiotensin-I.
Since the results above are enticing, you may find more people embracing the use of buttermilk.
Where to Find Buttermilk
You can easily find buttermilk in the dairy section of any grocery store. Some stores might categorize it as cultured buttermilk. It is still the same thing.
It can still be found among milk products with sour cream, heavy cream, and other dairy products.
Thanks to its high acidity level, buttermilk can have a long refrigerator life, so you can always check the refrigerators to see if there are several options available.
The buttermilk price will vary from store to store and brand to brand. What is for sure is that it will cost more than regular milk.
For most grocery stores, they would stock only a few buttermilk brands, so look carefully not to end up buying regular milk as they often look the same.
The alternative is to buy powdered buttermilk. Go to the baking section or the designated area with non-fat milk on shelves.
In case you find that your local grocery store does not have buttermilk, you could always make some at home. It is easy and you should be happy with your homemade buttermilk since it can taste as good as the commercial option.
If you still want to make your favorite recipe but you do not have buttermilk, you can always seek substitutes. Here is a quick list of common buttermilk substitutes.
- Acidified buttermilk
You will need an acid and milk to make acidified buttermilk. When you first mix these two, the milk will curdle.
The milk used for this process can have any fat content. You can still consider non dairy milk alternatives such as cashew milk, almond, and soy. As for the acids, consider lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar.
- Plain yogurt
Plain yogurt is also a fermented dairy product. You can use it while baking in the ratio 1:1. Sometimes playing around with different ingredients other than buttermilk can lead to interesting results.
- Cream of tartar
Cream of tartar is what you get as a byproduct during the wine production process. Since it is an acid mostly, it would be a nice leavening agent to use while baking.
Mix milk with a few tablespoons of cream of tartar to avoid making the mixture lumpy. Go ahead and try it to see how different things can get.
- Sour cream and milk or water
Sour cream will have lactic acid bacteria important for fermenting the cream. As such, you should end up with a tangy flavor just as buttermilk.
It is worth mentioning that sour cream would be thicker than buttermilk. It is why you can use water or milk to thin it more if you have to use it as a buttermilk substitute.
- Plain Kefir
Unflavored kefir is still a fermented milk beverage that looks and tastes as buttermilk. You can use it in the ratio of 1:1 in case you want to use it as a substitute to buttermilk.
You could still use many other substitutions not mentioned here. Most of them would be a combination of an acid with either non dairy or dairy milk.
Potential Downsides of Buttermilk
As much as buttermilk can be a top choice for many users, it is likely to have some downsides. Here are some of them.
- High in sodium
Like other milk products, buttermilk can also have a good amount of sodium. This makes it crucial for you to always check the nutrition label if you need to limit your sodium intake.
If you consume a lot of sodium, it could lead to increased blood pressure. This is mostly for those who might be salt sensitive.
High sodium diets can also damage the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and brain. In case you are sensitive to dietary salt, consider limiting your sodium intake.
- Can lead to allergic reactions
Since buttermilk contains lactose, it is also likely to lead to allergic reactions in people who are lactose intolerant.
Even if buttermilk is easily digestible, those with lactose intolerance might still face a few difficulties too.
Some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance include stomach upsets, gas, and diarrhea.
Some people are allergic to milk. This is not the same as being intolerant. If you are allergic to milk, please do not consume buttermilk at all.
It is easy to appreciate buttermilk once you have gone through the guide above. We see how buttermilk can offer multiple health benefits and how it can be used for various applications. If you enjoyed learning more about the applications of buttermilk, why not get some for yourself? Visit any grocery store close to you to get buttermilk for your family today.