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Can you use buttermilk to make sauce?

kitchengoddess's picture

Hi all,

 I have been looking for recipes to see if I can substitute cream with buttermilk to make a creamy pasta sauce.  I haven't been able to find it and don't know if the higher acidity of the buttermilk would interfere with the thickening, etc?  Has anyone ever tried it?  Or do you have any other suggestions?

On one hand I always look for buttermilk recipes because I have to buy a whole litre and also like it as an alternative to heavy cream for the obvious health reasons.

Looking forward to your suggestions

Gretchen's picture

(post #37032, reply #1 of 16)

Can you buy powdered buttermilk?  Also you can make a sub for buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk. This would help with what you seem to have left over from buying some for a recipe.

You can sub fat free half and half for some cream. It really isn't a bad product--of course, we don't know what it actually IS!!  ;o)  I like buttermilk, but I can't see it as a sub for cream. Another sub for cream is evaporated skim milk.

kitchengoddess's picture

(post #37032, reply #8 of 16)

I have never seen powdered buttermilk at the bulk store but I never looked for it either.  Good suggestion though, I will have to look.


Marcia's picture

(post #37032, reply #10 of 16)

I'm not sure what kind of "bulk store" you're referencing, but you can find the powdered buttermilk (Saco brand is what I have)at most supermarkets in the baking section.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37032, reply #11 of 16)

It isn't at the bulk store probably. It is on the baking aisle of the supermarket.

Ummm, should read at least one more answer before replying!!  ;o)

And OP, don't forget that you can make/use sour milk as a sub for buttermilk in cooking.


Edited 2/2/2009 12:20 pm ET by Gretchen

Jean's picture

(post #37032, reply #2 of 16)

Here's one to try.

Total time: 20 to 25 minutes

3 quarts water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound fresh angel-hair pasta
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

1. Bring water to boil in covered pot.
2. Mix cornstarch with a tablespoon of buttermilk to make a smooth paste. In heavy-bottom saucepan, combine buttermilk-cornstarch mixture, remaining buttermilk, Gorgonzola and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, to melt cheese and thicken mixture. Just as buttermilk mixture begins to thicken, stir in peas and cook just long enough to heat through.
3. When water boils, stir in pasta and cook according to package directions, about 45 seconds; drain.
4. Stir in walnuts and serve over pasta. Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Yield: 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 605 calories, 12 grams fat, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 510 milligrams sodium, 25 grams protein, 100 grams carbohydrate.

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butterscotch's picture

(post #37032, reply #7 of 16)

Jean, this sounds fantastic. I can't wait to try it.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #37032, reply #3 of 16)

No, but you can thin it down w/ chicken stock.

Jean's picture

(post #37032, reply #4 of 16)

I understand her to mean that she wants to use buttermilk as a substitute for cream in her recipe.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Marie Louise's picture

(post #37032, reply #5 of 16)

I don't think it would work, it is too low fat. It will curdle and make a disgusting mess, IMO. (At least that's been my experience trying to substitute low-fat milk for cream.)

I have successfully cut down the fat in creamy pasta sauces by using a lot of stock and a little cream/ creme fraiche.

Glenys's picture

(post #37032, reply #6 of 16)

Naughty kitchengoddess, you haven't filled out your profile, so we have no idea where you reign or who worships your kitchen attributes.
As for buttermilk, it's not homogenised and the distinctive natural acid will cause it to curdle but you've received several good suggestions. One from Jean, stabilising it with starch in the "faux" cream sauce recipe or very good suggestions from Marie Louise, using crme fra”che at the end, which will enrich a dish but not curdle.

kitchengoddess's picture

(post #37032, reply #9 of 16)

Oopsie, I didn't know there was a profile to fill out...How do I do that?  I would want to anger those providing me with such great support and resources :)

Let me know how and I shall answer all your questions.  I am also not very consistent with signing in here...

JillElise's picture

(post #37032, reply #12 of 16)

Not Glenys but click on your name in blue on any message and change profile.

kitchengoddess's picture

(post #37032, reply #13 of 16)

Excellent!! Thanks.  The profile has been updated.  Another Canadian on the scene, lovely to see...

Canuck's picture

(post #37032, reply #14 of 16)

Hey, I'm Canadian too. And local Bulk Barns here in Toronto carry buttermilk powder; that's the only way I've ever bought it (although most of the time I just sour some milk). I don't think I've seen the tins of it here.

Welcome to CT.

UncleDunc's picture

(post #37032, reply #15 of 16)

I tried buttermilk in bacon or sausage gravy a couple of times and didn't like it.

kitchengoddess's picture

(post #37032, reply #16 of 16)

I tried simply to warm up the buttermilk and it was a disaster!!