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Title: Buttermilk  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Milk, List of dairy products, Butter, Cuisine of Kerala, Æbleskiver
Collection: Bulgarian Beverages, Cuisine of Northern Ireland, Dairy Products, Dutch Cuisine, Milk, Ukrainian Beverages
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Buttermilk (right) compared to fresh milk (left). The thicker buttermilk leaves a more visible residue on the glass.
Buttermilk, low fat
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 169 kJ (40 kcal)
4.8 g
0.9 g
3.3 g
116 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. This type of buttermilk is known as traditional buttermilk.

The term buttermilk also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates (e.g., the Balkans, the Middle East, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua and the Southern United States) where unrefrigerated fresh milk sours quickly,[1] as well as in colder climates, such as Scandinavia, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic. This fermented dairy product known as cultured buttermilk is produced from cow's milk and has a characteristically sour taste caused by lactic acid bacteria. This variant is made using one of two species of bacteria—either Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which creates more tartness.

The tartness of buttermilk is due to acid in the milk. The increased acidity is primarily due to lactic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the primary sugar in milk. As the bacteria produce lactic acid, the pH of the milk decreases and casein, the primary milk protein, precipitates, causing the curdling or clabbering of milk. This process makes buttermilk thicker than plain milk. While both traditional and cultured buttermilk contain lactic acid, traditional buttermilk tends to be less viscous, whereas cultured buttermilk is more viscous.[2]

Buttermilk can be drunk straight, and it can also be used in cooking. Soda bread is a bread in which the acid in buttermilk reacts with the rising agent, sodium bicarbonate, to produce carbon dioxide which acts as the leavening agent.


  • Traditional buttermilk 1
  • Health benefits 2
  • Cultured buttermilk 3
  • Acidified buttermilk 4
  • Powdered buttermilk 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Traditional buttermilk

Originally, buttermilk referred to the liquid left over from

  • Making cultured buttermilk
  • History of buttermilk at

External links

  1. ^ a b c Muhlke, Christine (April 22, 2009). "Got Buttermilk?". New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Fankhause, David B. (2007-06-14). "MAKING BUTTERMILK".  
  3. ^ Douma (Ed.), Michael (2007-06-14). "Ripening to Ferment Milk Sugars to Lactic Acid". Webexhibits. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d APARNA, KARTHIKEYAN (13 May 2012). "Buttermilk, the best bet". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Filippone, Peggy Trowbridge. "Buttermilk health benefits". Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "Dry buttermilk and nonfat dry milk price relationship". U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. August 1991. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  8. ^ Marshall, Charles Edward (ed.) (1912) [1911]. Microbiology: A Text-book of Microörganisms, General and Applied (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: P. Blakiston's Son & Co. p. 371. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  9. ^ "TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS: CHAPTER I, PART 131 MILK AND CREAM" (PDF). Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR). 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 


See also

Like powdered milk, buttermilk is available in a dried powder form. This stores well at room temperature and is usually used in baked goods.

Powdered buttermilk

Acidified buttermilk is a related product made by adding a food-grade acid (such as lemon juice) to milk.[9] It can be produced by mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk and letting it sit until it curdles, about 10 minutes. Any level of fat content for the milk ingredient may be used, but whole milk is usually used for baking. In the process which is used to produce paneer such acidification is done in the presence of heat.

Acidified buttermilk

In the early 1900s, cultured buttermilk was labeled artificial buttermilk, to differentiate it from traditional buttermilk, which was known as natural or ordinary buttermilk.[8]

Condensed buttermilk and dried buttermilk have increased in importance in the food industry.[6] Buttermilk solids are used in ice cream manufacture,[7] as well as being added to pancake mixes. Adding specific strains of bacteria to pasteurized milk allows more consistent production.

Commercially available cultured buttermilk is milk that has been pasteurized and homogenized (with 1% or 2% fat), and then inoculated with a culture of Lactococcus lactis (formerly known as Streptococcus lactis) plus Leuconostoc citrovorum to simulate the naturally occurring bacteria in the old-fashioned product. Some dairies add colored flecks of butter to cultured buttermilk to simulate residual flecks of butter that can be left over from the churning process of traditional buttermilk.[2]

Cultured buttermilk

Buttermilk prepared in the traditional way is considered beneficial to health as it contains probiotic microbes and is sometimes referred to as "Grandma's probiotic".[1] It is also soothing to stomach and skin.[1] The fat content of buttermilk is far lower than that of milk or curd as fat is removed during churning. The probiotic nature of buttermilk is purported to be beneficial to the gut and improve immunity when taken regularly.[4] One cup of whole milk contains 157 calories and 8.9 grams of fat whereas one cup of buttermilk contains 99 calories and 2.2 grams of fat.[5] Buttermilk contains vitamins, potassium, calcium, and traces of phosphorus.[4] In some countries, such as India, it is a favourite traditional drink during summer as it is soothing to the stomach and alleviates minor stomach upsets.[4] In India, flavoring ingredients such as asafoetida, coriander leaves, ginger, curry leaves and sea salt are mixed with buttermilk to enhance its digestion-aiding properties.[4]

Health benefits

On the Indian subcontinent, the term "buttermilk" refers to the liquid left over after extracting butter from churned yogurt. Today, this is called traditional buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is still common in many Nepalese, Indian and Pakistani households but rarely found in western countries.[2] In Southern India and most areas of the Punjab, Saurashtra (Gujarat), buttermilk with added water, sugar or salt, asafoetida, and curry leaves is a must-have in daily food while also given at stalls in festival times.

However, in establishments that used cream separators, the cream was hardly acidic at all. [3]

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