Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A few days back, I was talking about buttermilk and got a great comment that stuck in my mind. It was from Annette at Sustainable Eats, who is a font of make-it-yourself information, a source of local food inspiration, and must not sit down for any other second than to post her very consistent blog posts. This woman lives on a city plot in Seattle, where she has chickens, an orchard, and has 144 different kinds of seeds in the ground, but who's counting? You should go an visit her so you can catch one of her latest posts on smoking some meats. Lordy, she is smoking the good stuff!

Anyhoo, in response to my lament that buttermilk was expensive, she said, why don't you make it? And then gave me the directions for it: "Save 1/4 cup of that starter, add to 1 cup milk in a jar on the counter covered with paper towel until it sets up then refrigerate. In a week take 1/4 of that and make a new batch if you haven't used it all yet. If you need more use that same ratio the night before you need it." Well, the other day I went ahead and did it. I left the mixture on the counter over night not really knowing what to expect. How long do I let this sit? I anxiously posted on Annette's Facebook page, needing first-time buttermilk-making hand-holding. I made it through the night and in the morning looked at my jar: thick and goopy, it looked like thick buttermilk or thin yogurt. I'm sort of excited about it. How easy was that? Here's a page that explains making buttermilk in detail for those of you looking to expand your buttermilk horizons.

In other news, the chickens are really doing well! They are up to four eggs a day, which is plenty for this little family and deserving friends. They are still very shy though, unless it's snack time when I bring them little goodies. Then they get all bold. But they seem to stay indoors mostly, even though they have an outdoor run that's a pretty decent size, so there aren't many pictures of them. I haven't started letting them free-range, but intend to. Our friends are having a fox issue at the moment, and I can't help but to think that predators are still really hungry these last cold days. I'll wait until it gets a little warmer out, and a little greener.

I ate the Big Egg the other day and it was indeed a double. It was really two whole eggs, not just two little yolks like you sometimes see. I had it for breakfast, scrambled. Mmm, big egg.


  1. That is amazing!

    I've heard of making a buttermilk "substitute" with a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of regular milk (then letting it sit on the counter for 10 minutes) but this is WAY BETTER.


  2. Well done! I have only just discovered buttermilk- and I really like it. An ayurvedic practitoner suggested I have it with black pepper instead of yoghurt. Wasn't so sure about it, but turned out to be really tasty- especially on granola.

  3. How satisfying - nothing better than doing it yourself, and I love buttermilk. I believe you can also get buttermilk as a byproduct of making butter from sweet cream and it is on my to do list to try that sometime soon!

  4. love making dairy products! yours looks lovely. i am very jealous of your chickens and eggs. :)

  5. OOH a double! I've never seen that. What kind of chicken laid it, can you tell? Sorry if I missed a FB post of yours, it's spring break so I've been trying to juggle the kids and the working along with the smoking and the grime cleanup (Yuck!)

    I'm so glad your buttermilk came out and anxious to try it with black pepper. I bet that would be good!

    The buttermilk you get from making butter will be watery like whey but dependent on whether you used raw or pasteurized milk may not give you much leavening power. The culture from the buttermilk innoculant is what gives your pancakes that oomph, plus you still have the dairy fat to keep the crumb tender. The watery milk left after making butter won't have all that. It's still good, just a different thing.

    The cool thing about making buttermilk is so long as you make a new cup of it per week you'll never need to buy it again. Every time I use mine I save out 1/4 cup from the pint or quart jar to make more so that I always have it going and don't run out. I try to keep a quart on hand all the time. You can use it in bread, pancakes, biscuits, scones, etc if you need to use it up quickly. That's never an issue here with all the baking we do though!

  6. My father makes his own buttermilk and swears by it. I really must try it too. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

  7. Anon - Yes, whey better! (ooops, sorry!) It does win.

    CHFG - Black pepper, huh? That sounds really interesting! I'm going to try it.

    IB - Now you can drink all the buttermilk you want! See what Annette says below about buttermilk from making butter. But I want to make butter, too. Why haven't I?

    Tigress - I am just dipping my foot into dairy. It's so much fun. I know you make yogurt--that's my next foray. The chickens are nice! One of the benefits to never going anywhere!

    Annette - No sweat! I can't imagine how you get everything done. I've already started my next batch. It's so cool!

    Denise - Your dad sounds cool! I've really been enjoying it. So easy.

  8. Thanks for the tip on Buttermilk. I always try to catch myself before running off to the market for something that is easy to make at home. Now I can check another thing off the list.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. E - I was so thrilled to make buttermilk. I use it in everything now.

  10. I'm a little slow. I just started making yogurt. Who knew it was was so easy? My grandfather drank a glass of buttermilk with his evening meal quite often. Maybe I'll need to try this.

  11. LeAnn - I heading towards yogurt. That's great that you made it!

  12. Oh, here it is... I know I looked at this post too, since I remember about the "big egg". Proof that all the stuff I'm reading is getting confused in my brain. Anyway, along with the creme fraiche, I'm totally doing this! Thanks! I always buy buttermilk and use it often, and am really ashamed that I've never thought of making it before.

  13. R - Making buttermilk is incredible. I always have a batch going now. And, yes, how can you keep up when there's so many good things to read and remember?? My bookmarks are taking over!