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powdered buttermilk vs. real thing

I never seem to have buttermilk around when I need it, so I bought some powdered style, very convenient.

I used it in biscuits and with no profound difference. The biscuits were delish. Though they didn't rise as much as I would have liked, I don't think this had anything to do with the buttermilk powder . Looking for some other experiences with powdered vs. liquid.

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  1. The reduced rise probably had everything to do with the buttermilk powder. Biscuits get their rise by combining an alkali (baking soda) and an acid (lactic acid in buttermilk). If the powder contributes less acid than real buttermilk the acid/alkali balance will be thrown off and the biscuits won't rise as they should. You could rebalance the acid/alkali by reducing the baking soda somewhat and then adding back some baking powder (which contains both the acid and alkali). How much you need to adjust these I can's say, you would need to experiment.

    I too have found the idea of powdered buttermilk appealing, especially on those mornings when I am jonesing for some pancakes and don't have buttermilk in the fridge. I bought a can; the first time I tried it with my pancakes, using the recommended replacement volumes on the can, the batter was very thin. The next time I tried to use it I discovered that the powder had hardened into a solid brick. Apparently this stuff is even worse than brown sugar at absorbing moisture from the air.

    7 Replies
    1. re: kmcarr

      I've been using the powdered buttermilk for years and have never had a problem with it solidifying. You need to make sure you replace the lid of the can properly but, beyond that, nothing more is required. I don't use much so a can may last me close to a year. I'm not sure why you had that happen.

      1. re: rockycat

        Do you happen to live in dry climate? My climate is moderately humid.

        1. re: kmcarr

          I live in NC. It is VERY humid here in the summer. But, like Caitlin McGrath downthread, I use the Saco also.

          1. re: rockycat

            O.K. I checked my pantry yesterday (I hadn't looked at the container in months). It is also Saco and just has Caitlin described, a cardboard canister with plastic lid. I hadn't previously noticed the recommendation to refrigerate so I left mine in the pantry. The wording sound more like a suggestion ("for maximum freshness") but that indeed may be the difference between hardening and not.

            I also noticed that the product is called "Buttermilk Blend". The ingredient list shows that it contains "Cultured sweet cream churned buttermilk, sweet dairy whey and lactic acid". So they do supplement the mix with lactic acid, suggesting that the lactic acid naturally present in the buttermilk is somehow lost in the drying process. I would imagine that they would add enough to restore the natural amount which is lost so that would call into question my original explanation for reduced biscuit rise using powdered buttermilk.

            1. re: kmcarr

              Or it compensates for the lack of acidity in the whey. I don't know whether the whey has been added because it is less expensive, or has useful qualities (better blending or what ever).

      2. re: kmcarr

        I've had similar problems with the powdered buttermilk hardening. So especially if it comes in box, as opposed to resealable container, I put it in a ziplock or plastic container.

        1. re: paulj

          has there been a reply to paulj's question on using buttermilk powder mixed with a liquid to marinate chicken before frying it?

      3. does anyone know if i add liquid to the buttermilk powder can i use it to marinade chicken before frying it?

        1. Once the powdered buttermilk is opened, does the rest need to be refrigerated?

          1 Reply
          1. re: EllenMM

            The Saco brand, which comes in a cardboard canister with a plastic lid, specifies that it should be refrigerated after opening. I always have, and incidentally, have never had it harden - and I have used it in both dryish and somewhat humid climates.

          2. I always use Saco buttermilk powder and have never had any problems with rising, or with the powder drying out. I do keep it in the fridge.

            I love this stuff. Most of what you buy in the grocery store as fresh buttermilk is not true buttermilk -- it's more like a liquid yogurt -- and I think the Saco tastes better and is much more convenient as well as economical.

            1. Bumping this thread to re-ask the question of whether you can mix the Saco powdered buttermilk with liquid to use as a marinade for chicken.before frying (or even baking). Is that a good substitute for liquid buttermilk? Thanks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: goodeatsgal

                you can but it is thinner than real buttermilk. I prefer using yogurt rather than buttermilk powder.

              2. Wow- 've never sen it- what part of the store is it in, or did you get it from King Biscuit or a similar site?

                2 Replies
                1. re: EWSflash

                  it's in the baking aisle. i prefer Bob's Red Mill to Saco if you can find it.

                  tons of threads about it if you're interested:
                  http://www.chow.com/search?query=butt...

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    I have most often seen it in the baking section, rather than with the regular powdered milk, though I would check both areas.