This dairy free buttermilk is easy to make at home using two simple ingredients. It is a perfect dairy free substitute for buttermilk in any recipe.
Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream.
Traditionally, the milk was left to sit to allow the cream and milk to separate. During this time, naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria in the milk fermented it. This facilitates the butter churning process.
Modern buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk, which ferments it, making it tangier and thicker than regular milk.
It is often used to make biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cakes because it makes for a slightly more tender crumb and slightly higher rise.
Seeing buttermilk called for in recipes can seem like a problem if you are dairy free. Not to worry, though, it is actually easy enough to make at home.
WHAT IS BUTTERMILK?
Buttermilk was originally the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream.
Traditionally, the milk was left to sit to allow the cream and milk to separate. During this time, naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria fermented the milk and turned it into buttermilk, making it tangier and thicker than regular milk.
However, modern buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk to ferment it.
What Kind of Dairy Free Milk should I use to make buttermilk?
The best dairy free milk substitute I have found are full fat oat milks that have a mild flavor.
These taste like milk and are just as creamy, which makes them the perfect dairy free milk when making buttermilk.
Almond milk works well here, too. I personally like using an unsweetened barista almond milk because it is more similar to regular full fat milk, but whatever you have will work.
You can also use coconut milk, though it may have a subtle coconut flavor if you do. Coconut milk has more fat and is similar to using a light cream, but it won’t make a noticeable difference.
I’ve never used soy milk, so I don’t have any opinions on it, but you can use that as well.
Choosing your Brand of oat milk
I have tried a handful of oat milk brands and I can tell you, not all oat milks are created equal.
Some brands taste like oats and have the consistency of water. Other brands have a milder taste and are slightly reminiscent of milk. Oatly and Alpro are my two go-to brands.
When I visit New York, I really like Oatly, which I find to taste like regular milk and to be a little extra creamy. I’d assume this is true in Canada too.
In Israel, I only use the barista version of Oatly, which is still more watery than the regular Oatly in the States. I expect it is the same in Europe because that is where it is imported from.
For Israel and Europe, I find the Alpro oat milk indistinguishable from the Oatly Barista. However, the Alpro “Not Milk” oat milk I find to be almost identical to milk but a little sweeter – which I like.
Can you freeze buttermilk?
Yes, you can freeze this buttermilk made from oat milk.
For ease, you can freeze buttermilk in ice cube trays until frozen, about an hour.
Once frozen, remove the cubes from the trays and place them in resealable freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
The easiest way to do this is to measure 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of your ice cube trays) of buttermilk into each ice cube mould.
Make sure to note whether the cubes are 1 or 2 tablespoons each so you can know how many to defrost for a recipe.
When ready to bake, let the buttermilk cubes defrost in the fridge, or melt them on the lowest power setting in your microwave.
Freeze for up to 3 months. After that, the buttermilk is still safe to use, but the quality begins to degrade.