Saturday, December 28, 2013

Buttermilk Bliss! & Buttermilk Banana Bread Recipe

I'll be honest.  Until recently, I never really understood the whole buttermilk thing.  Pancakes?  Much preferred sour cream ones.  Ranch?  Yup--the original was better.  Soaking grains?  Really like the lemon juice route.

I just didn't get it.

Of course...I think that may have had something to do with the fact that I never really used buttermilk.  Either that fake powder that you add water to, or regular milk that was soured with lemon juice or vinegar were my trusty stand-ins. 

Yuck!  No wonder things didn't taste spectacular.  Pancakes with vinegar soured milk anyone?!

But, my view on buttermilk has recently been swayed.  I was reading online for some easy ways to culture dairy.  And I came across many posts on making buttermilk.  Many of them called for ordering a special packet of culture.  That would get expensive after a while.

Others called for culturing your cream and then churning butter and using the remaining buttermilk.  Except no one in this house likes cultured butter.  And we don't routinely skim our milk.  So that didn't seem to be the solution either.

Then I came across this seemed like the perfect solution!  I measured out a cup of Maggie's milk into a jar and left it on the counter.  It took about two and a half days to clabber.

I poured out all but 1/4 cup and added new milk. (I fed the discarded bunch to the chickens...) I repeated the process until the milk was consistently clabbering in only 24 hours.

Now I have a lovely quart jar of buttermilk in my fridge at all times.  Unless its on my counter getting refilled.  That's amazing!

My beautiful buttermilk.

No cultures to buy.  No cultured butter to churn.  Just milk.  And time.  And patience.

So now that we discovered the bliss of buttermilk, what are we doing with it? glad you asked.  Making pancakes.  Making homemade buttermilk ranch.  Making biscuits.  The list could go on and on, but I'll spare you. :)

And leave you with what I mixed up this morning.  Buttermilk Banana Bread.
I love how you can start with something that looks like this and end up with something so tasty!

I started with this recipe.  But I changed it up. I knew I needed to double it.  And I didn't like the amount of sugar called for.  Vegetable oil is a no go here, so that needed switched to butter.  A few other changes followed, and this was my final recipe.

Makes 2 loafs of banana bread

4 beaten eggs
2/3 c buttermilk
1 c melted butter
5 mashed bananas
2 c unrefined sugar
2 c white whole wheat flour
1.5 c unbleached flour
2 t baking soda
1 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Prepare 2 loaf pans.  (I smeared them with butter...)

Mix up all the wet ingredients and add the sugar.

Stir until it isn't too lumpy.  (How's that for technical?)

Add the dry ingredients.  And stir again.

Split batter between pans.

Admire the beautiful bubbles that cultured buttermilk adds to the batter. Ok--maybe it's just me who does that.  Feel free to skip this step!

  Put pans in oven.

Then go out and milk the cows.  And feed the animals.  And don't forget to let out the chickens.  Oops--better give the cows more bedding.  And knock the ice out of the calf waterer.  And...

Or...just bake for an hour.  That works too. 

But it'll smell better if you've been out working in the dark early morning and are freezing when you walk back into the house. That was a wonderful welcome this morning. 

Slice the bread.  Spread on some butter.  Enjoy! 

What's your favorite way to use buttermilk?  Now that I'm hooked, I've been on the lookout for new recipes. 

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