I am a biscuit fanatic, which means that I make them at home at least twice a month. Unfortunately, I often run out of buttermilk and forget to buy more. I’m also not a big milk drinker, so I don’t usually have whole milk on hand to employ our tried-and-true method of souring milk to make a buttermilk stand-in.
So what do I do when the biscuit hankering hits and I have no liquid dairy in-house? I reach for my lifesaver: powdered buttermilk.
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What Is Powdered Buttermilk?
Powdered buttermilk is made from buttermilk that has been heated and dehydrated to produce a stable powder. Buttermilk (in its liquid form) is the traditional name for the liquid left over from churning butter, but you won’t encounter that in most supermarkets. Most if not all liquid buttermilk available at your supermarket is made using regular skim milk inoculated with bacteria to produce a sour taste.
My favorite brand of powdered buttermilk, the Cultured Buttermilk Blend from The Saco Pantry, is made from actual cultured, churned sweet cream buttermilk (no skim milk here). This means there’s an added richness when you use powdered buttermilk, and we even preferred it in some taste tests to its liquid counterpart.
How Do You Use Powdered Buttermilk?
The best part about powdered buttermilk is how easy it is to use. Simply follow the conversion chart on the label to add the correct amounts of powder and water. You’ll get the most success if you add the powder along with the dry ingredients and then add the water when the recipe says to add the liquid buttermilk.
How Should You Store Powdered Buttermilk?
While it’s best to use up liquid buttermilk within a week or two, powdered buttermilk lasts for far longer, making it an ideal backup. Unopened powdered buttermilk can be stored in your pantry, but once you open it, it should be refrigerated until you use it up.
I spoke with the folks at The Saco Pantry, who told me that the powder is usable up to its expiration date (usually about two years from the time you buy it!) as long as it doesn’t get wet. You’ll almost certainly use it before it expires.
What Recipes Can You Use Powdered Buttermilk In?
Biscuits are obviously my favorite way to use powdered buttermilk, but this workhorse is no one-trick pony. Sub it for liquid buttermilk in dressings or dips, such as our go-to Ranch Dressing recipe. Or use it as a brine and/or dredge in your favorite fried chicken recipe (might I suggest our Ultimate Crispy Fried Chicken?).
And its merits go far beyond substitution! We call for powdered buttermilk itself as a seasoning in several recipes, such as in Buttermilk Ranch Popcorn and Buttermilk-Ranch Pita Chips. It’s also perfect for make-ahead cake mixes that you can give away as gifts—our Make-Ahead Coffee Cake Mix is truly special.