q&d – no buttermilk? no problem!

Buttermilk featured as an ingredient in my post for South African rusks (missed it? See it here).

It occurs to me that, sometimes, I don’t have the benefit of a carton of buttermilk kicking around in the fridge. Rather than venture out to the supermarket, it is possible to return results by substituting the ingredient. Here’s how I do it.


For each cup (250ml) of buttermilk you need, substitute with ¾ cup (175ml) plain/natural yoghurt + ¼ cup (75ml) milk.

Whisk the yoghurt and milk mixture so it is smooth and lump-free and then use it in the recipe as you would the buttermilk. If the yoghurt is particularly thick, as some Greek-style ones can be, you may want to adjust the proportions slightly (e.g. ½ + ½). Those wanting a lighter version can use low-fat plain yoghurt and skim milk.

Why does it work and using plain milk won’t? Essentially, it’s a little bit of basic chemistry. Recipes calling for buttermilk rely on the acidity in buttermilk to react with the baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). The reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide which make the end result light and airy. The result is fluffy pancakes and well-risen sponges – who doesn’t want that!?

So there you go – an easy peasy way to get around any buttermilk emergencies. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Perhaps to make some delicious lemony ricotta hotcakes . . . .? Watch this space

q&d – no buttermilk? no problem!

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