Boston Globe, July 25, 2007
Buttermilk was originally made from liquid left over after churning butter. My butter churn is next to the spinning wheel somewhere in the basement.
Today, buttermilk, which has a month long refrigerator life, is made from pasteurized skim milk that is slightly fermented. The thick consistency and slightly sour taste add a light texture and tang to baked goods and salad dressings.
Buttermilk is wonderful and indispensable in pancakes , but unless you make buttermilk pancakes all the time, who keeps a quart of the liquid on hand? That’s where powdered buttermilk comes in . Saco makes a cultured powdered blend that you add directly to dry ingredients (as opposed to reconstituting it first). When it’s time to mix the liquids you simply substitute water for milk or fresh buttermilk.
You can even make your own pancake mix, which I started doing, beginning with a recipe on the Saco box and adapting it. When it’s time for breakfast, take out your own mix, add water and an egg, heat the griddle, and fluffy pancakes will be ready in minutes.
If you’re headed to someone’s summer house, the pancake mix makes a nice host gift. Package the dry ingredients in a cellophane bag and tie it with ribbon. Add a pancake recipe, a jar of pure maple syrup, a new nonstick skillet, if you’re staying more than a night, and you have a practical present. It will last longer than the summer, get put to use on busy school mornings come fall, and you may be invited back next year.
Makes about 10
1 1/2 cups buttermilk pancake mix (see recipe)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1. In a bowl, stir together the pancake mix, water, egg, and vanilla.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Turn off the heat. Take 1 tablespoon of the melted butter
and stir it into the pancake batter. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.
3. Reheat the skillet of butter until it begins to foam. With a 1/4 – cup measure, pour pancake batter into the hot pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake s . With a spatula, flip the pancakes over. Cook for 1 minute more. Serve with syrup or confectioners’ sugar.
Buttermilk pancake mix
Makes about 3 cups (enough for 20 pancakes)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup dry buttermilk
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a large bowl blend the flour, buttermilk powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
2. Store in an airtight container. Adapted from Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend.