Buttermilk Basics – How to Make Buttermilk

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Buttermilk has been the beloved traditional ingredient of many southern dishes for decades. Whether sipped from a glass or poured from a measuring jar this old-fashioned favorite is experiencing a modern-day revival.

So—what is buttermilk? It’s a by-product of churning butter, the cloudy liquid flecked with tiny yellow bits of butter. It’s this delicate combination that makes ‘traditional” buttermilk the perfect ingredient for bringing southern flare to biscuits or southern fried chicken.

For centuries family farms and homesteads had their own milk cow and thus had a ready supply of buttermilk. But, in today’s world many modern day homesteaders live in areas that don’t allow large livestock. For some, though, housing and caring for a milk cow all year long is not part of their homesteading plan. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have good quality buttermilk for your southern specialties. It just means you have to make your own. If you have access to good quality organic milk you can make your own buttermilk. It won’t be quite like the real thing, but it is a good substitute.

The recipe below uses lemon juice as the acid, which I think gives the buttermilk a pleasant tangy smell. The added benefit to making your own is that you can make as little or as much as you need for a given recipe. And, when used in your favorite recipes that call for buttermilk you will not be able to tell the difference.

How to make buttermilk


Step 1:     Purchase a good quality organic whole milk. Or, purchase raw milk from someone who has a dairy cow.

Step 2:     Combine 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in a mason jar and stir gently.

Step 3:     Let mixture stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, but check the consistency after 5 minutes. It may be thick enough. If not, let it stand a bit more. The desired thickness is personal, so play around with it until you find what you like best. When finished, you’ll have thickened milk and bits of curd floating around. Perfect!

Step 4:     Use the buttermilk and the curdled bits in any recipe that calls for buttermilk, like buttermilk biscuits, smoothies or buttermilk soaked fried chicken.

Store finished buttermilk in a covered mason jar in the fridge. Will last about a week or so.


Need a cool treat for a hot summer day? 

Try this Mango-Buttermilk Smoothie and bring a bit of the old south to cool you off.


Image result for mango buttermilk smoothie in a blender image


Mango-Buttermilk Smoothie



4 cups frozen diced mango

1 cup homemade buttermilk

1 tbsp. fine white sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. cardamom



Pour all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. To change the consistency, add more buttermilk, one tsp. at a time. Serve in a chilled glass with a slice of fruit on the side, and cool off!



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