What Can You Use Instead of Buttermilk in Your Holiday Recipe?

November 13 00:00 2002 Print This Article

What Can You Use Instead of Buttermilk in Your Holiday Recipe?

A. Plain yogurt
B. Canned milk with water and vinegar
C. Sour cream
D. Whole or nonfat milk with lemon juice or vinegar
E. All of the above

The correct answer? E... if you know the proper proportions.

Finding a substitute for buttermilk seems like a foolish quest until youre ready to prepare your favorite cornbread and you find there's none in the fridge! Its holiday time, and its happened to most of us at one time or another. Its late on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, youd just as soon go to bed, but you want to finish just one more item for tomorrows family feast. And thats when you find youre missing one key ingredient and, of course, the stores are closed for the holiday.

So now what do you do? Most people either give up and change the menu or get on the phone and start calling convenience stores to find an open one that carries buttermilk. But if youre like Dee Brock, co-author of Food FAQs: Substitutions, Yields & Equivalents (FAQsPress.com, $12.95), who says she once faced a similar holiday crisis, you decide to build your own list of emergency substitutions to avoid this crisis in the future.

What began as her own short list of substitutions became something more when she teamed up with colleague Linda Resnik, who had her own horror stories of cooking frustrations. They combined lists, forces and research initiative to come up with more than 1100 entries in the 224-page reference book that Cooking Light magazine says is one of the 45 "most indispensable" items the editors "have ever found."

"We absolutely love Food FAQs: Substitutions, Yields & Equivalents," Jill Melton, Cooking Light senior editor says. "Basically, anything that can give you a substitute for pomegranate juice and fish sauce, among others, is okay by me."

When it comes to a substitute for buttermilk, Food FAQs offers a total of 10 suitable alternatives. But what about other items frequently called for in holiday recipes? The accompanying chart offers viable substitutes for a dozen more ingredients you will probably use this season. Keep this chart handy. It might save you some frustration in a season already filled with many stressful situations.

Holiday Substitutions

Ingredient Substitutions
Apple pie spice (1 tspn) 1/2 (one-half) tspn ground cinnamon + 1/4 (one quarter) tspn ground nutmeg + 1/8 (one-eighth) tspn ground allspice & dash of ground cloves or ginger
Baking powder, double acting (1 tspn) 1/4 (one quarter) tspn baking soda + 1/2 (one-half) tspn cream of tartar; or 1/4 (one quarter) tspn baking soda + 1/2 (one-half) cup buttermilk, sour milk or yogurt (to replace 1/2 [half] cup liquid in recipe); or 1/4 (one quarter) tsp baking soda + 1/4 (one quarter) cup molasses (reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 (one quarter) cup; adjust sweeteners); or 2 tspns quick-acting baking powder
Bourbon or whiskey (1/2 [one-half] cup) 1/4 (one quarter) cup unsweetened fruit juice or broth
Buttermilk (1 cup) 1 cup plain yogurt; or 1/2 (one-half) cup canned milk + 1/2 (one-half) cup water + 1 Tbsp vinegar; or 1 cup sour cream; or 1-2 Tbsps lemon juice or vinegar + nonfat or whole milk to equal 1 cup
Chicken broth (1 cup) 1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 tspn granules or 1 envelope chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water
Chocolate, semisweet (1 oz) 3 Tbsps semisweet chocolate pieces; or 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp sugar & 1 Tbsp shortening; or 1/2 (one-half) oz unsweetened chocolate + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar; or 1 oz bittersweet chocolate
Flour, all purpose (1 cup) 1 cup + 2 Tbsps sifted cake flour; or 1 cup self-rising flour (omit baking powder and salt from recipe); or 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp pre-sifted floor; or 1 cup corn meal; or 3/4 (three-quarters) cup gluten flour
Heavy cream (1 cup) 3/4 (three-quarters) cup milk + 1/3 (one-third) cup melted butter or margarine; or 1 cup light cream; or 2/3 (two-thirds) cup evaporated milk; or 1 cup evaporated skim milk; or 2 tspns cornstarch or 1 Tbsp flour whisked into 1 cup nonfat milk
Molasses (1 cup) 1 cup honey; or 3/4 (three-quarters) cup brown or white sugar + 1/4 (one quarter) cup liquid; or 1 cup dark corn syrup; or 1 cup maple syrup
Orange peel, fresh (1 tspn) 1 tspn dried orange peel; or 1 tspn orange marmalade; or 1 tspn lemon or lime zest
Pumpkin (any amount) equal amount of cooked, pureed winter squash, carrots or sweet potato
Rum (1/2 [one-half] cup) 1/2 (one half) cup brandy or cognac; or 1/2 (one half) cup unsweetened orange juice or apple juice + 1 tspn corresponding flavored extract or zest
Zest of fruit, fresh (1 tspn) 1 tspn dried zest of fruit; or 1/2 (one-half) tspn extract of fruit; or 2 Tbsps fresh juice of fruit; or 2 tspns grated candied peel of fruit

Source: Substitutions from Food FAQs: Substitutions, Yields & Equivalents by Linda Resnik and Dee Brock, FAQs Press.com, $12.95


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