TRB to the Rescue: The Missing Ingredient

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Today’s question comes to us from Suzan — and I’m sure it’s one that many of us have struggled with at one time or another:

“What do you do when you are missing certain ingredients for a recipe? For example, it’s happened many times for me that I’ve been ready to bake, but I was missing buttermilk. And, then the heated discussion begins in my head … what difference will it make if I use regular milk? Oh — don’t be lazy and make your way to the store to buy some for goodness sake! Is there an adequate substitution?”

Well, Suzan, there IS something you can do, even if you don’t have time to run to your nearest grocery store. In the case of buttermilk, there are two things you can substitute, depending upon what you DO have on hand. Since buttermilk is a bit tangy – and that it is the reason certain recipes call for it — you need to add some acidity to regular milk in order to successfully achieve that flavor.

You can:
  • Add juice of 1/2 a lemon. Depending upon how much milk the recipe calls for, you may need to add a little more.
  • Add a few tbsp of vinegar. Adjust the measurement depending upon how much milk is required.
If all else fails, sometimes I find that regular milk actually tastes better. However, you will likely need to use less regular milk, especially if you are working with a recipe for a cake batter. Regular milk will “thin out” the mixture, since it is not as thick as buttermilk.
Here is one of my favorite recipes in which I substitute 1/2 cup of lowfat milk for 3/4 cup of buttermilk:
Did you find this tip helpful? Post a comment.

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