If you peruse the Internet, you’ll find tons of tips (the same tip, actually, repeated over and over) on how to make your own buttermilk: One cup of milk + one tablespoon of vinegar, stir and let sit for five minutes, then Voila! Instant buttermilk! Quick, easy, painless..I know. BUT (and there’s usually a BUT), I have a tip that will make this tip even better. You see, I’ve always been one for making my own buttermilk ranch dressing from a mix (the bottled kind just doesn’t cut it for me). I could tell the difference between real buttermilk and “instant” buttermilk in the dressing; the end product just didn’t have the same “zip” as it did when there was real buttermilk in it, and it wasn’t as thick. I could also tell the difference when I made coleslaw dressing with “instant” buttermilk – the end product was just missing something.
I don’t know what it is about buttermilk…. I’d gag if I tried to drink it straight, but in recipes, it’s OMG GOOD! I knew that I could somehow get closer to the OMG GOOD of actual buttermilk, but how? I finally decided that the main difference between real buttermilk and the “instant” made with milk and vinegar was the thickness. So, I made one, teeny-tiny little change – I replaced the milk with everyone’s favorite coffee creamer, half-n-half. I made my dressing as usual, and the result (drum roll, please) – I couldn’t tell the difference. It was one of those, “Eureka!” moments that every cook has; one cup of half-n-half and one tablespoon of vinegar is as close to buttermilk as I was ever going to get without hopping in my truck and running to the store to buy it off of the shelf!
Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against buying buttermilk in the store…WHEN I REMEMBER TO BUY IT. It isn’t a staple that I use enough to justify having it in the refrigerator at all times, but I DO always have half-n-half. So, if I know that I’m going to need it, then I can plan on buying it. But if I decide at the eleventh hour to take homemade coleslaw to a cookout the following day, then it’s always at my disposal, in the form of coffee creamer and vinegar.
1 cup half-n-half
1 TBSP white vinegar
Mix and let stand for five minutes before using.