I know . . . this looks just like our usual Special Sunday Breakfast . . . and it is. What is different is that I have again taken up making up my own buttermilk. The pancakes look happier to me, and I thought they held their shape better.
For some reason, buttermilk seems to be in short supply in the grocery stores. When I can find it at all, it is nearly at the expiration date, sold only in quarts or half gallons, and is hideously expensive. All of these factors are unacceptable, so I have gone back to making my own. I had always done this; not sure why I stopped.
We use organic milk, and I’m sure that the commercial buttermilk is made from the cheapest milk possible. It is available only in 2%, and we prefer full fat everything. The commercial kind just wasn’t cutting it any more, so I got a new system going to have just under a pint of FRESH buttermilk available at all times.
The last couple of weeks I have started a new jar of buttermilk when I made the pancakes on Sunday mornings, and that worked out fine. But on Friday night, I made a big load of mashed potatoes, and that took up most of my supply.
Here’s where the new system came in. On Saturday afternoon, I started a new jar of buttermilk, and it was just perfectly fermented for Sunday morning’s repast. Buttermilk is, for the most part, best used at room temperature, so this means that it was already at the perfect temperature, and I didn’t need to take it out of the refrigerator the moment I opened my eyes this morning.
So now I have full-fat, organic, fresh and tasty buttermilk at hand at all times. It is hard not to drink it all down. It seems almost sinfully delicious.
How to do this? It is simplicity itself:
Heat up a jar of milk to about 90 degrees and add about two tablespoons of leftover buttermilk from the last batch. If you are using commercial buttermilk as a starter, use a quarter cup. You will grow better bacteria on your own, and it won’t take as much, or as long, henceforth. I use a 14-ounce, straight-sided, wide-mouthed jar that once held jalapeño ranch dressing from the dairy case. This seems like the perfect shape and size for my needs. Your particular circumstances may vary. I just let it incubate on the counter from mid-afternoon until the next morning. It should be thick and creamy at that point, so if you aren’t going to use it right away, put it into the refrigerator. If it isn’t as thick as you would like, just leave it alone until it is. It may take a full 24 hours for your first batch.