With the onset of Summers, one of the major things people look into is the kind of beverages that will keep them energized for hours. And one kind of drink which you probably have limited information about is known as buttermilk. Chilled buttermilk is a soothing drink no doubt. It has innumerable health benefits as well. But what is it really? Traditional buttermilk is the residue left behind after milk cream is churned into butter. It can also be made by diluting and mixing water in curd. Commercially available cultured buttermilk is prepared by fermenting no-fat milk with bacteria that produce lactic acid. It is more viscous than traditional buttermilk. This dairy product is most often used in baking as well. For example, it’s a common ingredient in biscuits, muffins, quick breads, and pancakes. It can also be used in batters for fried foods or as a creamy base in soups, potato salad, or salad dressings.
The interesting thing is that the name can actually be quite misleading. This is because it doesn’t contain butter. Traditional buttermilk is the liquid leftover after whole milk has been churned into butter. This type of buttermilk is rarely found in Western countries today but remains common in Pakistan. Buttermilk today consists mostly of water, the milk sugar lactose, and the milk protein casein. It has been pasteurized and homogenized, and lactic-acid-producing bacteria cultures have been added, which may include Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Lactic acid increases the acidity of the buttermilk and prevents unwanted bacterial growth, which extends its shelf life. It also gives buttermilk its slightly sour taste, which is a result of the bacteria fermenting lactose, the primary sugar in milk.
It is actually thicker than milk. When the bacteria in the beverage produce lactic acid, the pH level is reduced, and casein, the primary protein in milk, solidifies.
Buttermilk is made using curd and water. It contains around 90 per cent of water and electrolyte like potassium. Thus, buttermilk is effective in maintaining water balance in the body and prevents dehydration. It provides more energy and keeps you active throughout the day. The riboflavin in buttermilk is a B vitamin that is vital for your body’s energy production systems. It also helps regulate your body’s amino acids, which make up proteins. Probiotics in buttermilk keep our digestion proper and thus help in removing toxins from our bodies. The lactic acid in buttermilk is good for our skin. Buttermilk keeps our skin glowing and is an excellent skin cleanser and toner. It also helps to remove tan, acne spots and blemishes. It moisturizes and brightens our skin, thus delaying aging. All these benefits make buttermilk a blessing for our skin. Buttermilk contains riboflavin that helps in converting food into energy which can be used by the body to perform various functions. It also helps in the secretion of certain hormones, improves liver function and facilitates detoxification of the body.
Making Buttermilk at Home!
Cumin seeds, mint, coriander, black salt, ginger, pepper and even chaat masala are added to buttermilk made at home to enhance its taste and health benefits. In the summer, it is usually topped with ice cubes or refrigerated. It can be made by churning full-fat cream. Butter collects on the top. The residue left after removing butter is called buttermilk. So what you need to do is take 1 cup milk and add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lime juice to it. Stir well and let it stay for around 5 minutes. Your buttermilk is ready. Then temper buttermilk with little oil, kadhi patta, coriander, cumin seeds, black salt, pepper, ginger, green chillies, mint etc. as per our taste to enhance its flavour and benefits. You can also add buttermilk to your baked goods like lemon cakes, chocolate cakes and cream-cheese cakes for an added dash of flavour. Use buttermilk when making chowder (a type of rich soup usually served with seafood elements), add it to the final stage of the soup and optionally build the taste with smoked salmon. Make a sumptuous salad dressing with buttermilk, honey, apricot, celery, vinegar, mint leaves and cheese. This can be used on shredded chicken or any other veggie-based salad of your choice. Add buttermilk to your regular pancake batter instead of water or milk, along with baking soda and unsalted butter for fluffy, yummy pancakes. Definitely one of the most underrated goodies you need to know more of!
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