Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baking with Buttermilk

For some reason I've ended up with a quart of buttermilk each week for about the past month. A recipe calls for just about 1/2 cup and then you are left with the rest and what do you do with it? Well normally I will make buttermilk pancakes (I have been craving those almost every day for breakfast!), buttermilk english muffins or buttermilk biscuits. Today I decided to try a few new recipes using this wonderful ingredient.

But what exactly is buttermilk? Well a long, long time ago buttermilk was the liquid that was left over after churning butter. Then the buttermilk ferments naturally to a thick, tangy cream. Today bacteria is added to low fat milk and then heated. A common misconception is that is is high in fat, but it is normally made with low fat/skim milk and does not contain any butter. One of these days I plan to make my own butter and then will have this natural buttermilk at my disposal and I wonder just how different it tastes from what I buy at the store.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Bran Muffins with Crumb Topping

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton.

I used the basic recipe but substituted the whole raisins for blueberries, replaced the vegetable oil with almond oil and added a crumb topping. Because who doesn't love a little more delicious sugar on top of a muffin? I think next time I will use dried blueberries instead of the raisins and then a combination of fresh and dried blueberries. That sounds just about perfect!

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 T. light brown sugar
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 T. butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Add melted butter and stir until combined. Sprinkle generously on top of batter just before placing in the oven.

For those of you who think that bran muffins are dry, tasteless and boring then you MUST try this recipe. These are the most moist muffins I have ever had and the addition of blueberries and crumb topping just makes them even more delicious!

The second recipe I tried is from the wonderful book Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook: Favorite Breads, Pastries, Sweets and Savories. This cookbook was a gift from my sister-in-law a few years ago and each and every recipe from this book is incredible! And if you are ever in Seattle, you must make a trip to the Macrina Bakery and try all the delicious pastries and breads.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread

The rise on the bread is just beautiful, the texture is light and not heavy at all. The crust is perfect. I love this loaf of bread. It is great for toast with a cup of tea or a pb&j sandwich (yes, I still eat these ALL the time!).

Delicious baked goods made with buttermilk, what could be better?


Unknown said...

That always happens to me too. I actually have buttermilk in my fridge right now. I recently made an oatmeal bread, but those muffins look spectacular. Maybe I can find some time to make them!

Matt said...

April, you are very special......

Ladelle said...

Yummmmm!!! I LOVE homemade Blueberry muffins (in case you ever wanted to know)

Fresh Local and Best said...

Those buttermilk blueberry bran muffins look terrific!


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