What Is Dry Buttermilk

What Is Dry Buttermilk?

I was looking through some recipes recently and one of the ingredients that came up was dry buttermilk. Obviously, I’ve heard of, and used, buttermilk before, but I was unfamiliar with dry buttermilk. What is dry buttermilk?

Dry Buttermilk, or buttermilk powder, is buttermilk that has been dehydrated, resulting in a fine powder. Just like powdered milk, dry buttermilk has a longer shelf life than its fresh, liquid form, and resembles white flour in its texture and appearance.

Now that you know what dry buttermilk is, you probably have even more questions about it like, what is it used for? And how long does it keep? We’ve got all the answers for you below, but first, we thought we should find out exactly what buttermilk is!

what is buttermilk

What Is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a byproduct, or a leftover ingredient, from the making of butter and other dairy products. It begins as cream to which a lactic acid bacteria starter culture is added.

These bacteria effectively eat the lactose, creating lactic acid. The result of this process is a sour cream known as creme fraiche. The creme fraiche is then churned, which makes the fat clump together to form cultured butter. The leftover liquid is what we know as buttermilk.

How Is Dry Buttermilk Made?

The process of making dry buttermilk is usually done by specialist food manufacturers in a process called spray drying. Liquid buttermilk is spray dried in a low pressure chamber where the water content is evaporated. This results in fine particles of dry, or powdered, buttermilk.

Buttermilk can also be dried by a process called drum drying in which the liquid buttermilk is applied to the surface of a heated drum. The liquid (water content) is evaporated and the dried buttermilk powder is then scraped off the surface with knives.

Is Dry Buttermilk As Good As Fresh?

By all accounts, yes, dry buttermilk is just as good as fresh buttermilk. The taste, texture and overall mouthfeel of your finished products will be just as good if you use dry buttermilk instead of fresh, however, you do need to consider the best way to use it. 

If you’re needing buttermilk in liquid form, such as for soaking some chicken in before frying, you’ll want to add water to your dry buttermilk to reconstitute it, or turn it back into regular (liquid) buttermilk first.

If you’re using dry buttermilk for baking, you have the option of adding the dry, powdered form to the dry ingredients of your baked goods. 

What Is A Substitute For Dry Buttermilk?

If your recipe calls for dry buttermilk but you simply don’t have any in the house, what can you use as a substitute? There are a few ingredients you could try if you happen to have them on hand:

  • Fresh buttermilk
  • Sour cream
  • Dry powdered milk – you could add some vinegar or lemon juice for acidity.
  • Add 1 ½ teaspoons of cream of tartar to 1 cup of milk

Can You Substitute Dry Buttermilk For Buttermilk?

Yes, you can easily substitute dry buttermilk for buttermilk, you just need to decide, based on the recipe you are using, whether to reconstitute (add water to) your dry buttermilk first or to use it in its powdered form.

If you’re using dry buttermilk instead of liquid, or regular, buttermilk, then you will probably need to reconstitute it first so that you are then effectively still using the same ingredient in the right form.

buttermilk biscuits or scones with dry buttermilk

Can You Use Dry Buttermilk Instead of Dry Milk?

You could use dry buttermilk instead of dry milk if needs be, however, again, it will depend on what you are using it for. Dry buttermilk will have a slightly sour taste compared with regular dry milk.

If it’s for baking, it will most likely be fine as you are unlikely to notice the sour taste amongst the other baked good ingredients. If it’s just to drink or to add to a cup of coffee, sure, you can try it, but you might not like the taste!

What Is Dry Buttermilk Used For?

Basically anything you might otherwise use buttermilk for, you can use dry buttermilk for. Dry buttermilk is especially popular for preparing fried chicken and for baked goods like pancakes, biscuits, and cakes. It can also be used for sauces and soups.

Dry buttermilk is useful any time you want to add flavor or moistness, or you’re in need of a leavening agent.

dry buttermilk pancakes

Powdered Buttermilk Ingredients

As powdered buttermilk is basically just dehydrated buttermilk, the only ingredient you should see listed on a packet of dry buttermilk is, well, buttermilk!

As the powdered version is a different consistency to the original, liquid version, you might see the ingredients listed as: sweet cream buttermilk solids, or you might also see buttermilk solids and/or whey solids.

Buttermilk Powder To Liquid

If you’re planning on using some buttermilk powder to make some liquid buttermilk, for best results, follow the directions on your packet of dry buttermilk.

The ratio required can differ between brands – 1 tablespoon of powder for every half cup of water is common, although some suggest twice as much powder, so 2 tablespoons of powder to every half cup, so, as suggested, follow the directions on your packet or adjust according to taste.

How Much Powdered Buttermilk To Make 1 Cup?

Anthony’s Premium Buttermilk Powder requires 4 Tablespoons of powder added to 1 cup of water. 

However, as stated previously, some places recommend 2 Tablespoons for 1 cup of water, so you’re best to follow the directions on your packet of dry buttermilk.

How Long Does Dry Buttermilk Last?

One of the biggest advantages of using dry buttermilk instead of regular buttermilk is that it lasts so much longer. But just how long does dry buttermilk last?

In a sealed container, your dried buttermilk will last for 3-5 years, so it’s perfect for storing (in a cool, dry place) for emergency supplies.

Once your packet of dry buttermilk is open, it will have an average shelf life of 6-12 months – still much longer than any fresh buttermilk will stay fresh for.

how long does dry buttermilk last

Does Dry Buttermilk Need To Be Refrigerated?

Dry buttermilk, in its powdered form, does not need to be kept refrigerated and will remain fresh at room temperature. This is another one of the great advantages of using dry buttermilk – you can always easily keep some in your pantry without worrying about keeping it fresh through refrigeration.

Can You Freeze Dry Buttermilk?

Yes! You can keep your opened packet of buttermilk fresh for even longer by storing it in the freezer. You would first want to put the powder into an airtight container, and make sure it is well labeled and dated so you know how long it’s been there for.

Where Can You Buy Dry Buttermilk?

Dry buttermilk is readily available in most grocery and food supply stores. You can also purchase it online easily from places such as Amazon.

Where is Dried Buttermilk in the Grocery Store? 

Dried buttermilk at the grocery store will usually be found in the baking aisle. Otherwise you might find it wherever the store keeps their powdered milks. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help if you’re having trouble locating it in your grocery store – or you can just order some online.

Is Dried Buttermilk Dairy?

As dried buttermilk is made from buttermilk which is made from cream in the butter making process, yes, dry buttermilk is a dairy product.

Does Dry Buttermilk Have Lactose?

Yes, dry buttermilk does have lactose, which is a natural sugar found in milk. Many people who are lactose intolerant, however, find buttermilk (and therefore dry buttermilk) easier to digest and tolerate than regular milk.

However there is no getting around the fact that it does contain lactose, so if you are highly intolerant to lactose, it is probably best avoided.

Is Dried Buttermilk Keto Friendly?

Yes, dry buttermilk is keto friendly. So, if you’re trying to follow a keto diet, this is a food you can happily include in your meal plans.

Final Thoughts

Dry buttermilk is simply dehydrated buttermilk which comes in a powdered form much like any other powdered milk. It’s a very convenient way of extending the shelf life of buttermilk and a great way to keep buttermilk handy, for whenever you might need it, in your pantry. 

It can be reconstituted back into its liquid form by adding water, or it can be used in its powdered form and added to other dry goods when baking. Useful for fried chicken and baking cakes, pancakes and waffles, dry buttermilk has become known as the secret ingredient used by many home cooks to take their cooking and baking to the next level.

With a long shelf life, it’s worth keeping a packet of this versatile ingredient handy in your pantry at all times as you never know when you might need it for a batch of your famous pancakes or waffles!

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