Buttermilk is originally the liquid leftover after whole milk has been churned into butter. This traditional buttermilk is no longer found in Western Europe except Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Arabian peninsulas. Buttermilk is somewhat a misleading name, as it doesn’t contain butter. Today, buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink mostly of water, milk sugar lactose, and milk protein casein. Lactic acid-producing bacteria cultures like Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus have been added. And it’s been pasteurized and homogenized.
Lactic acid increases its acidity and prevents unwanted bacterial growth, which increases its shelf life. It also gives buttermilk its sour taste. Buttermilk packs lots of nutrients; it’s rich in protein, fiber, calcium, sodium, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins.
Buttermilk Nutrition Facts
Buttermilk is a delicious beverage that can be drunk alone. It’s majorly used in baking as a leavening agent, and its lactic acids combine with baking powder or baking soda to make the baked good rise. It’s also used to add to the texture and fluffiness of baked goods, as an ingredient in salad dressings, as a marinade for chicken and pork, as a brine in grilled foods, curries, and soups. Buttermilk is also used in some other recipes like;
- Pancakes and waffles
- Smoothies and milkshakes
- Mashed potatoes or grits
- Grilled skirt steak
- Chocolate cake
Greek Yogurt as a Substitute for Buttermilk
Greek yogurt is has gone through a thorough whey-straining process, and it’s of a thicker consistency than your regular yogurt. This mode of yogurt production has become popular in the Middle East and some parts of Europe. It comes in different flavor variants but can also be purchased plain like unstrained yogurt.
Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for buttermilk in many recipes, especially the plain variant. Plain Greek yogurt should be your choice when substituting for buttermilk. It has similar qualities and performs so many duties in dishes like buttermilk, some of which are;
A Greek yogurt is a healthy option, just like buttermilk. Buttermilk is selected for cooking by many for its lower calories, and high sodium, vitamins A and C. While Greek yogurt is also pretty low in carbs and high in protein, phosphorus, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12, contents a lower glycemic index. Greek yogurt steps up to buttermilk in nutritional values. If health reasons are why you prefer buttermilk, Greek yogurt should be your next go-to for all things health additions. Greek yogurt also has a similar calcium percentage and low sugar substitute for buttermilk.
Buttermilk is already described by many as a taste reminiscent of yogurt, and Greek yogurt is not so far in its taste profile. They’re both also used to add some tang to baked goods and dishes, which also means they’re very close in flavor profile and can be used to replace each other for anyone looking to add some tanginess to their dish.
Buttermilk is thicker than regular milk, and Greek yogurt is thicker than its regular counterpart. They’re both of thick consistencies, even if Greek yogurt is thicker than buttermilk side by side. However, it still does a great job of replacing it in any recipe without compromising the original flavor of the dish(yes, when Greek yogurt is applied as a substitute, you need not worry about it altering your desired flavor). To adjust the thickness if it’s a problem, a small amount of water or regular milk will reduce the thickness.
Greek yogurt substitutes buttermilk in recipes as a leavener too. They’re both contributors of lactic acid to baked goods to activate the baking soda or baking powder to create a great rise, exceptional crumb, fluffy and tender end product.
Greek yogurt, like buttermilk, performs the function of a garnish in ice cream, salad dressings, dips, pies, etc. They’re also staples in cakes, gravy, soups, stews, frostings, pancakes, muffins and can both be used as a glaze to tenderize meat.
Greek yogurt can be used in any recipe to replace buttermilk with water or traditional milk to rob the moisture recipe. Greek yogurt lacks the same viscosity as buttermilk. So make sure the mixture with water or traditional milk has a regular yogurt consistency to perfectly substitute buttermilk in any recipe, especially a recipe like cake batter that needs to be thin. Use in a 1:1 ratio.
Aside from being a direct substitute for buttermilk in recipes, Greek yogurt is also made DIY homemade buttermilk. Many people like to have buttermilk readily available to them, and they prefer to make it themselves. One ingredient that’s commonly used in Greek yogurt.
Get plain Greek yogurt(average or extra thick), regular milk, a mixing pan, and a whisk.
Add half a cup of water or regular milk plus one cup of Greek yogurt in a 2:1 ratio in the pan, and whisk thoroughly to combine until smooth.
For extra thick Greek yogurt, add half a cup of water or regular milk with a half cup of Greek yogurt in a 50:50 ratio, whisk thoroughly to combine until smooth.
Let the mixture sit for a while, whisk gently again and use on your recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a substitute for buttermilk?
Apart from Greek yogurt, you can try other substitutes for Greek yogurt. They are; milk and vinegar, milk and lemon juice, milk and cream of tartar, sour cream, water or milk, buttermilk powder, and water. You can also use plain kefir.
How is buttermilk different from milk?
Milk is less sour and higher in fat than buttermilk. The proteins in buttermilk are curdled, which makes it thicker than milk. Buttermilk is made from whole milk; it’s just leftovers from it.
Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk for fried chicken?
If you don’t have buttermilk available, you can use milk and add one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to each cup of milk, and this works well to replace buttermilk in your fried chicken.
Buttermilk and Greek yogurt are both used to add tangy, delicious, and crave-worthy flavors to recipes. They’re both of the same family trees shouldn’t be a surprise to use one in the place of the other in a recipe, in this case, which is Greek yogurt in the place of buttermilk. Don’t look or go too far when you don’t have enough or can’t get any buttermilk at your grocery stores and supermarkets. Just bring out that Greek yogurt you kept in your pantry and make that lip-smacking dish without hindrance.