Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink that was traditionally the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream. Today, most modern buttermilk is cultured. Cultured buttermilk was first commercially introduced in the US in the 1920s. Commercially produced buttermilk is milk that has been pasteurized, homogenized, and then inoculated with a culture of Lactococcus lactis to simulate the naturally occurring bacteria in the old-fashioned buttermilk. The tartness of cultured buttermilk is primarily due to lactic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the primary sugar in milk.
Condensed buttermilk and dried buttermilk are very important in the food industry. Liquid buttermilk is used primarily in the commercial preparation of baked goods and cheese. Buttermilk solids are used in ice cream manufacturing as well as being added to pancake mixes to make buttermilk pancakes.
Buttermilk reacts with the baking soda and powder to give quick breads their rise and tender crumb. The reaction is best at the beginning, you’ll want to get the loaf in the oven right after mixing the wet and dry ingredients. Buttermilk can also be used in marinating meats, especially chicken and pork, because the lactic acid helps to tenderize, retain moisture, and allows added flavors to permeate the meats.
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Generally animal products are higher in fat than plant foods, but it’s not necessary to cut out all meat and dairy products to keep your fat intake reasonable. Low-fat dairy foods, lean and well trimmed meat, and skinless poultry provide the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as their fattier counterparts. Skinless poultry, fish, dry beans, and split peas are the “slimmest” foods in this category. By removing the skin from poultry, you reduce the fat by almost one half. Most seafood is low in fat and also contains beneficial omega-3 oils, which have been linked to lowering blood cholesterol. Dry beans also provide the body with fiber, which is necessary for digestion.
You can enjoy red meat if you choose lean cuts and trim away all the visible fat (marbled fat cannot be trimmed away). Here are some good choices:
*Beef eye round, top round, tenderloin, top sirloin, flank steak, top loin, and ground beef. Choose ground sirloin; it’s 90 to 93 percent lean.
*Veal cutlets (from the leg) and loin chops.
*Pork tenderloin, boneless top loin roast, loin chops, and boneless sirloin chops.
*Lamb, boneless leg (shank portions), loin roast, loin chops, and leg cubes for kabobs.
Here are some suggestions to make trimming excess fat from your diet easier:
*Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off all the visible fat before cooking. Remove skin from poultry before or after cooking.
*Broil meat on a rack so the fat can drop away.
*Substitute ground chicken or ground turkey for ground beef. Look for ground turkey breast or chicken breast; otherwise, it may contain skin and therefore have as much fat as ground beef.
*Substitute protein-packed dried legumes, like beans and lentils, for meat in casseroles.
*Chill soups and stews overnight so you can remove all the hardened fat from the surface.
*Be skimpy with fat. Use nonstick pans and nonstick cooking spray, or sauté in a small amount of broth or water. Don’t just pour oil into a skillet; it’s easy to add too much. Measure or use a pastry brush to coat pans with a thin layer of oil. When baking, coat pans with a spritz of nonstick cooking spray instead of oils or fats. Kitchenware shops carry oil sprayers you can fill with your favorite oil.
*Experiment with low fat or skim milk, low fat sour cream and cheese, and nonfat yogurt. They provide the same amounts of calcium and protein as the whole milk varieties, but with less fat or none at all.
*When making dips, substitute nonfat plain yogurt for sour cream.
*Use fresh herbs and zesty seasonings literally.
*Choose angel food cake instead of pound cake, especially when making cake-based desserts like trifle.
*To reduce fat and cholesterol, you can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg in recipes, but don’t substitute egg whites for all the whole eggs when baking. The dessert will have better texture and flavor if you retain a cold or two.
*Replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt in recipes for baked goods.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved
In the old days, buttermilk was what was left in the butter churn. Nowadays, it’s manufactured with healthy bacteria much like yogurt. Buttermilk is made with very little fat or none at all. Either way, it adds a nice fresh tang and texture to baked goods. In the summer it’s nice to purée peaches with a little sugar, add buttermilk, and freeze in an ice cream maker to create a healthy low-fat homemade version of frozen yogurt. Buttermilk will keep for several weeks in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved