Buttermilk, you're the real MVP
January 8, 2015 10:35 AM   Subscribe

I flipping love buttermilk. It's like drinking cheese! Please help me find new recipes through which to revel in it.

I love this stuff so much I wish I were an anthropomorphic tongue and all my clothes were made of buttermilk so I could be constantly enveloped in tangy dairy ecstasy. While I guzzle it so irresponsibly that I only let myself buy it on special occasions, yesterday I broke down and now I have (some of) a carton of lowfat cultured buttermilk left in the fridge. I generally just quaff it out of a glass with some salt and pepper, giving a triumphant Viking shout after each gulp, but what if I'm missing out on even better ways to savor it?

When I've looked online for buttermilk recipes, most of what I find seems to be ways of "using it up" (???) by hiding it in baked goods or fried chicken coating. What I'd like are things that foreground the buttermilky awesomeness, ideally through savory applications. Some of the soups and dressings from this thread look promising (especially that buttermilk tomatillo soup!), but surely there are more ideas out there? I guess I would even try some sweetish ideas (buttermilk panna cotta sounds like it could be nice), but I'm leery of things that aim for a cheesecake-like flavor, as that just won't cut it. Other than that, I don't eat seafood, but anything else is fair game.

Please hit me with all your buttermilk-based recipes that taste like buttermilk!
posted by DingoMutt to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I make just the meat pies part of this, you can balance me off and make just the dip part:

Natchitoches meat pies with spicy buttermilk dip
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on January 8, 2015

You have not lived until you have had buttermilk ice cream
posted by Dashy at 10:45 AM on January 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

I've heard homemade ricotta made with buttermilk is amazing, but have not tried it myself. Ricotta is really easy to make, a quick google search for buttermilk ricotta gets you a ton of recipes.
posted by cestmoi15 at 10:45 AM on January 8, 2015

My favorite thing is to get a canister of powdered buttermilk (in the baking aisle) and use that on popcorn. Pop your corn like normally, add your favorite amounts of salt and butter and then sprinkle buttermilk powder over the top and toss. Maybe a spoonful or two. It's so delicious. Plus, powdered buttermilk is great to have around when you have a hankering for buttermilk pancakes or buttermilk biscuits but no actual buttermilk on hand. Keep the canister in your fridge once opened.
posted by amanda at 10:50 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

You can make paneer (Indian cheese) with it and then use it in the creamed-spiced-spinach mix for saag paneer.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:57 AM on January 8, 2015

New Orleans Cole Slaw. Adjust the buttermilk quotient upward per taste.
posted by BWA at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2015

Buttermilk piiiiiie

also, explore the world of non-sweet lassi drinks! For me, they hit a lot of the buttermilk notes. :)
posted by wintersweet at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Definitely investigate Indian uses of yogurt. Growing up Indian we always had a carton of buttermilk in the fridge which is a good proxy for homemade yogurt. Here are ways I enjoyed it:

Refreshing summertime drink: Half buttermilk, half water, on ice with salt, pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice

Make a thin, spicy tomato soup and mix it half and half with the buttermilk for another drink.

Chop up tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions and mix it up and let it sit over night in the fridge. The acid in the buttermilk will tenderize everything, making a delicious salad/slaw situation.

Tandoori chicken! Just use buttermilk instead of yogurt for extra tang.

Mmmmmm, buttermilk
posted by AaRdVarK at 11:10 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you like Indian food, try

North Indian : Kadhi

South Indian: Avial and Morkuzhambu.

Kadhi is essentially a buttermilk/chickpea flour stew. Usually you add either veggies (okra specifically) or Veggie Pakoras. Avial, is a vegetable curry made with a buttermilk+coconut+greenchile sauce. Morkuzhambu is a South Indian version of the Kadhi but without chickpea flour.

Also, Buttermilk lassi is the bomb.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:15 AM on January 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

Came to say buttermilk ice cream, but Dashy beat me to it. How about buttermilk elderflower sherbet?
posted by tealcake at 11:23 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

This M/Duffin recipe (muffins + doughnuts apparently, they seemed pretty muffin-y to me) requires buttermilk, but also beer. They are delicious.

The beer they use in this recipe is quite hoppy and bitter, described here if you want to try for a reasonable substitute. Don't use lager for the love of God.
posted by biffa at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2015

Omigosh, being Russian, I get so excited when I meet people who say they like buttermilk instead of being grossed out by it.

We have this cold summer soup in Russia called "okroshka." The liquid part of the soup is ~50/50 buttermilk/water (or you can use more buttermilk, if you like!!). It is so easy to make, no 'real' cooking involved, just pre-boiling some ingredients.

The other ingredients are (all these things should be chopped into small 1/4 to 1/3 inch pieces):
Cooked potato (boiled)
Hardboiled egg
Hot dog (I supposed any leftover meat that is not-greasy and can be eaten cold can be used, but my family always did hot dogs)
Dill or parsley, or chopped green onions, salt/pepper to taste.

I usually boil a couple of potatoes, eggs and hot dogs in advance, and then chop everything right before eating. Mix the buttermilk/water in a bowl (taste it to see if you like it), then throw in a bunch of the other ingredients (I'd say maybe 1/2 egg or 1 egg, 1 small/medium potato, 1 hot dog, 1/2 cucumber per serving?). So easy for single serving eating AND for a family.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 11:43 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh, and my mom makes this "cottage cheese" type stuff out of buttermilk... I believe she boils buttermilk in a double boiler type set up, and then lets it cool, and it curdles and separates from the liquidy whey part? I am not sure, but if you're interested, MeMail me and I'll find out!
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 11:45 AM on January 8, 2015

Mash up some cornbread, pour buttermilk and possibly molasses on it, eat.
posted by erst at 11:46 AM on January 8, 2015

Also, experiment with different spices and herbs things in the buttermilk. Cinnamon and pumpkin spice type spices can be added without any sugar to make it spicy and flavorful but not sweet. Make a mixture of herbs and let them infuse the buttermilk? Add some garlic and turmeric? Add Zaatar for a middle eastern twist?

Make a buttermilk tzatziki instead of using yogurt as the base?

I am also thinking you can add it to homemade hummus-type spreads, make salad dressings/veggies dips out of it, using it as a garnish for pureed soups instead of sour cream.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 11:50 AM on January 8, 2015

I used to eat mashed potatoes warmed up with straight buttermilk poured over. I had read it was something the Irish ate. It was sooo good, and now I really want some.

Anyway, you can make buttermilk mashed potatoes. I haven't tried that particular recipe, but there are many many recipes for that.

Potatoes are bland enough to not disguise the lovely tanginess of the buttermilk too much.
posted by annsunny at 11:54 AM on January 8, 2015

This potato recipe looks great, too.
posted by annsunny at 11:59 AM on January 8, 2015

Not a recipe for using buttermilk--but if you like it that much, you should really make your own. Not harder than cooking! A lot less expensive! Very empowering! Also, delicious. You just need milk, a pot, the culture (a powder you mix in the milk), and a way to keep it at 72F overnight (like a thermos).
posted by epanalepsis at 12:00 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It's a good thing I work from home, because I've been reading these ideas going "holy cow," "yum," "wow" for the last half hour or so. Also I kind of drank up the rest of my buttermilk while reading so now I get to go buy more please stop me These all look amazing, and my canister of buttermilk powder - which I did not even know was A THING - is now on its way from Amazon. And never.was.and.never.will.be., I'll definitely be memailing you for that buttermilk cottage cheese recipe!

Please keep them coming - the hardest part will be not making/eating ALL THE BUTTERMILK FOODS all at once ...
posted by DingoMutt at 12:12 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like buttermilk syrup on pancakes.
posted by hmo at 12:21 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

This cold corn soup from Melissa Clark at nytimes is really nice and has a pronounced buttermilk flavor
posted by sarahnicolesays at 12:39 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Buttermilk and sherbet smoothies. So delicious. You should blend it a bit, but not completely -- you want decent sized chunks of sherbet floating around in it. Heck, it'd probsbly be good done float style with no blending at all. One of my favorite summertime treats.
posted by Orrorin at 1:03 PM on January 8, 2015

Hot cornbread crumbled in cold buttermilk. Imagine you are the cornbread.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 2:18 PM on January 8, 2015

The cottage-cheese type stuff is quark. I make it by pouring a quart of buttermilk and a pint of heavy cream in a Pyrex dish, stirring in like a teaspoon of salt, putting it in a 200F oven for 6ish hours, and straining. It may brown and caramelize a little bit, which is delicious. Serve warm or cold on crackers, with potatoes, or conveyed to your mouth with a spoon. You might also like drinking the whey straight up or with seltzer, it's like a salty lassi but thinner.
posted by clavicle at 2:47 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, and this Rajasthani buttermilk curry is good. Search that blog for buttermilk if you like her cooking style (I love it, it's nutrient-dense stuff with strong flavors), there's a few more things.
posted by clavicle at 2:53 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's another slaw recipe. I use the bags of pre-shredded broccoli, carrot, and red cabbage from the produce department.
posted by lakeroon at 3:05 PM on January 8, 2015

It's pretty easy to make your own buttermilk. I've done it to make quark. I just pour out the top 1/2 cup of milk from a brand new bottle (therefore nothing needs sterilising) of room temparture 2L milk, and add 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Shake, and leave at room temperature for a day or so. Much, much cheaper than commercial buttermilk, at least in Australia.

I then strained it in a pillowcase (I think muslin is the official method) to make quark, and made quark cake (though it wasn't this particular recipe I used, but something like it. Mine also had cherries pushed into the top). Definitely keep a look out for quark (the only stuff I found was about $30/kg, which is why I made my own) and quark cake (sometimes available in german bakeries).
posted by kjs4 at 5:20 PM on January 8, 2015

On preview, what epanalepsis said. Quark is also brilliant on boiled or baked potatoes.
posted by kjs4 at 5:27 PM on January 8, 2015

Booze! Buttermilk Maple Gin Flip

Also really good in smoothies, like this one: Strawberry and almond smoothie
posted by dweingart at 7:55 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

What we mean by buttermilk in India is slightly different -- we usually use it to mean yogurt thinned out with water, but I think the recipes we used to make with it would work with US-style buttermilk too.

When it's really really hot this South Indian drink is incredibly refreshing.
posted by peacheater at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2015

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