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Sep 7, 2012 02:51 AM

Baking substitutions

For all of you bakers out there, would you ever consider making the following substitutions. I'm considering how to save money and prevent throwing unused expired ingredients.

Do any of you make half and half out of 2% milk and regular heavy cream? I figured instead of buying all three I could maybe use the heavy cream faster this way.

Also, I've seen places like King Arthur sell a powdered buttermilk. has anyone used it and had no problem with things like scones recipe using that.

Thanks for your opinion!

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  1. The only issue with making half and half with 2% milk is that you have to consider how much butter fat you're getting in the mix. Commercial half and half will run somewhere in the neighborhood of 11% butter fat (it varies, product to product) and heavy cream (which also varies quite a bit in fat content) can be expected to average about 38%, with light cream about 22% butter fat. Combining 2% milk with any of these creams will give you more butter fat than you'd expect from half and half.

    1. Someone had a great post showing how to convert different creams/milks using skim as a base.

      I have powdered buttermilk and like it as a backup when I only need a little. I have used it in scones, biscuits, ranch dressing. Rather than making the buttermilk (cause it can be hard to get the lumps out), I add the powder with the dry ingredients and use water or milk for the liquid.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Sooeygun

        Powdered buttermilk works fine, but so does thawed frozen buttermilk. It will separate and look ghastly, but shake it up and for baking, you're all set.

        Evaporated milk is my secret weapon. Dilute it 1:1 as an equivalent for whole milk. It doesn't spoil as fast. It has a cooked taste so is not a good choice for drinking, or using on cereal, but it's fine for baking and cooking. Undiluted, it's a decent sub for half-and-half or light cream for your coffee, and prevents cheese sauces from being grainy. It, too, freezes well.

        1. re: greygarious

          I think this should qualify at "tip of the day". I used to apply evaporated milk to baking duties but somehow stopped doing that but I'm gonna get back into that groove.

          1. re: greygarious

            Hey greygarious, do you freeze the buttermilk in smaller volumes or just stick in the whole container in the freezer. How long would you say its good for when frozen?

            I always end up buying buttermilk and heavy crean for a specific recipe and then I'm trying to find ways to use them up before they expire (not easy when you are cooking for one person and the heavy cream is not really healthy in the 1st place!)

            1. re: Lorry13

              Lorry, I don't pitch the buttermilk until it smells bad. Sometimes that takes months. Yes, months! I keep it way back in the cold part of the fridge, and probably go through just 2 or 3 quarts a year, but I keep each one so long after the expiration date, I always have it there if I need it.
              Cream, on the other hand, you have to use up quick. It gets sour way too fast for me. I think I'll try freezing some in 1/2 cup containers for cooking with.

              1. re: Lorry13

                I too am cooking for one. I freeze buttermilk in 8oz containers since most of the time I'm using a cup. I've lost track of the containers so that at times I find one that's been frozen for a year or more. Still fine for baking. The heavier the cream, the better it freezes. A while ago I kept forgetting to freeze the half of the pint container of heavy cream. It was in the back of the lowest shelf in the fridge. When I finally got around to it, I expected it to be curdled and sour. To my surprise, it had evaporated into perfectly usable cream cheese. The container was the waxed cardboard type with the plastic screw-on cap, and that cap WAS completely tightened, so I am puzzled at the moisture loss.

            2. re: Sooeygun

              Thanks for saving me my usual copy and paste on this FAQ!

              Btw, powdered buttermilk, but real buttermilk like we get here in eastern New England in recent years courtesy of a great buttery in Maine* can last months in the fridge after opening.


              1. re: Karl S

                we get that in Western MA too. It is wonderful.
                But even the regular buttermilk lasts for months in the fridge.