Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Buttermilk?

A week or so ago, I was really craving some waffles. So I set out a set of sourdough waffles from the King Arthur recipe to ferment overnight. One of the things required for sourdough waffles is buttermilk. I don't drink it or use it often enough to justify buying it. Although I would have gladly replaced it with milk, I know that there is something special about the acidity and the texture of buttermilk so I decided to try a tip I found and add lemon juice to it.

So, wanting to be health-conscious, I put some lemon juice in some skim milk. Unfortunately, it hardly curdled at all. So I decided to try the second tip and put in the vinegar. This worked great and the milk curdled as expected. Until the next morning.

When I woke up the next day and made myself some sourdough waffles they were really sour. I thought that it was strange, but I assumed for the first two bites that my sourdough culture had become oddly acidic. Then I realized that it wasn't sour, it was vinigar-y. With each bite, the waffle began to taste more like vinegar. Bleh.

So my warning is to beware of making your own buttermilk with vinegar. I've heard that one can buy buttermilk and freeze it in smaller bits so one does not have to use the whole thing before it expires. If anyone has some good tips, they would be much appreciated. For this particular recipe, I might even just try it with milk instead of buttermilk, or I might try this recipe instead.


  1. I've found that using apple cider vinegar helps avoid this problem -- it's still chemically sufficient to curdle more strongly than lemon juice, but the taste and odor are a bit less harsh. (It also helps to dial down the amount a tiny bit -- I usually scant it when making pancakes, and never double it for a double batch.)

    Miss you!

  2. Thanks, Kate! I'll try that. Miss you too!