The product that remains when fat is removed from milk or cream in the process of churning into butter
. Cultured buttermilk is prepared by souring buttermilk, or more commonly skim milk, with a suitable culture that produces a desirable taste andaroma. It is used as a beverage, as an ingredient in baked goods, andin dressings.
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. This type of buttermilk is known as traditional buttermilk.
The tartness of buttermilk is due to acid in the milk. The increased acidity is primarily due to lactic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the primary sugar in milk. As the bacteria produce lactic acid, the pH of the milk decreases and casein, the primary milk protein, precipitates, causing the curdling or clabbering of milk. This process makes buttermilk thicker than plain milk. While both traditional and cultured buttermilk contain lactic acid, traditional buttermilk tends to be less viscous, whereas cultured buttermilk is more viscous.Buttermilk can be drunk straight, and it can also be used in cooking. Soda bread is a bread in which buttermilk reacts with the rising agent, sodium bicarbonate, to produce carbon dioxide.
Health Benefits of Buttermilk
The primary health benefits of buttermilk come from its high content of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin B12, riboflavin, and potassium. Buttermilk is also considered a digestive aid, and is often tolerated by many of those who are lactose intolerant. Benefits of buttermilk that would be important to those trying to lose weight, or who are suffering from obesity-related illnesses, would include its low content of calories and fat.
Buttermilk is a good source of vitamin B12, which is responsible for helping to synthesize fatty and amino acids. B12 is also believed to help fight anemia, stress, and may help promote nerve cell growth. One of the primary benefits of vitamin B12 is that it helps convert glucose in the body into energy. Those who suffer from a deficiency of B12 often feel weak and may suffer from constipation and insomnia.
Riboflavin and potassium are also found in buttermilk. Potassium is believed to help lower blood pressure and, like vitamin B12, riboflavin helps convert foods to energy. Buttermilk is also considered a good source of calcium and phosphorous, both of which may contribute to bone health.
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