Buttermilk has gained popularity over the years and is categorized under dairy food products. These can be drunk by themselves, or used as a useful ingredient in many applications; these include baked goods, smoothies, and even dressings that are being widely used globally. Basically, contrary to its name, buttermilk has no butter in it. Instead, it’s made out of butter that left overtime to churn from milk cream. Isn’t it interesting?
So what is buttermilk used else for? Are there several types of buttermilk? What does buttermilk taste like? How long should I keep buttermilk in my fridge? – These are just a few of the questions that might have probably crossed your mind at least once if you are curious about the foods on your table. Worry no more, as we will roll out these questions and add some more information to suffice your curiosity with facts all about buttermilk.
Buttermilk and Its Types
Buttermilk is mainly what you obtain from the churning process or the so called by-product of making butter. Therefore, it is not milk consisting of butter so debunk that thought. Technically speaking, buttermilk is considered a functional ingredient. Meaning, it gives extra health benefit to the body system.
On other hand, did you know that there are types of buttermilk? Generally, these are traditional, acidified, cultured, and powdered type buttermilk.
As it speaks for its name, traditional buttermilk is obtained from churned butter of milk cream. This type of buttermilk has the longest time of process as you need to leave it untouched for almost 10 hours to begin the separation process of milk and cream. Fermentation is included along its process as it lactic acid is produced during the churning process.
This is a type of buttermilk that has probably sped up the traditional way of making buttermilk but has compromised a little of its functional properties. This one is made through the addition of food-grade acid to acidify the milk and begin its churning process.
Cultured buttermilk is perhaps the most common type of buttermilk that can be found on the market since it’s made to have a longer shelf-life. It’s obtained by adding lactic acid to start the process of curdling.
This type is made by dehydrating all the liquid content of buttermilk. This one is used typically as a dry ingredient to complete a certain list of recipes.
As we have already discussed the types of buttermilk, do you even know what does buttermilk look like? It is almost identical to regular milk and has a soft white color but has a thicker texture and more viscous than regular milk. It can be confusing but that is why food label is important in the food industry, right?
As some may not know, you can drink the buttermilk as per se. This is more recommendable to those who have problems with the digestive system as it contains more probiotics that help with fast digestion. Nonetheless, what is buttermilk used for? Let us go over the famous food applications of buttermilk and what it exactly does to them:
- Yogurt – buttermilk is known to have water-binding properties, thus improving the texture, yield, and overall quality of yogurt.
- Baked products – benefits the bread the most, improving its crumb and body.
- Salad Dressings – buttermilk serves as an emulsifier as well, providing better consistency to salad dressings.
- Cheese and other dairy products – makes the product softer and smoother in texture and structure
What Does Buttermilk Taste Like?
Going to the main question of this article, let us now discuss and answer it – “what does buttermilk taste like?”
Buttermilk is rarely consumed as it is. Why? Simply because of its mid-sour and tangy taste. Take note that buttermilk is produced through the churning and fermentation process. Consuming it by itself will taste undesirable, considering the microorganisms left in the milk to keep the process. This speaks especially for the traditional type of buttermilk since it is left for almost 10 hours to take the whole process then to be called the final product.
However, taking the tangy and sour taste of buttermilk into consideration, how can you differentiate it from a spoiled one? What does buttermilk taste like when bad? First of all, you can already tell it by its looks so you don’t have to worry about accidentally drinking a spoiled one. Once the buttermilk has reached its expiration date, discoloration will start to appear. If left too long after its expiration date, you would start to notice some molds due to its increasing bacterial growth. However, if these signs have not appeared, you can always tell a food or drinks if it has gone off through its smell. Although buttermilk tastes a little awful compared to regular milk, the spoiled buttermilk will smell really sour, similarly to how your regular milk smells once already spoiled.
To avoid having expired buttermilk on your shelves, make sure to choose a suitable type based on your usage. If you’re planning to have it as a reserve stock, buy the powdered form.
We can’t deny that buttermilk has become part of our kitchen, due to its promising benefits that it can do on several foods; be it for bread, yogurt, or cheeses. Having its variants developed over the years, buttermilk has already acquired our modern requirements, thus, you can always choose from its several types based on how you intend to use it.
So what does buttermilk taste like? I hope you can now describe its taste even without having to taste a real one but to simplify the discussed description mentioned in this article– it tastes tangy and a little sour; all because of its making process. Despite its little awful taste, we can say that the benefits it can give are definitely worth it. Therefore, grab one on your favorite grocery market and stock a few in your fridge! You will be amazed on how buttermilk can improve your favorite dish!