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Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon juice

Who ever does have sour milk or buttermilk at hand when they need it, right? It’s one of those pantry items that seem to magically disappear just when you’re all set to make a batch of fluffy biscuits or delicious buttermilk pancakes. But fear not, my friends, because we’re about to change the game with this quick and handy kitchen hack – Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon Juice

Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon juice

No more last-minute dashes to the store or improvising with whatever’s in the fridge. With just a squeeze of lemon juice and milk, you can whip up a fantastic substitute that works wonders in all your favorite recipes. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, head to the kitchen, and let the lemony magic begin!

Ways for making buttermilk or sour milk

There are different ways for making homemade buttermilk: acidification or fermentation.

First up, we have the acidification method. It’s as easy as mixing raw milk or regular milk with something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar. Give it a little time to work its magic. You’ll see the milk curdle and thicken, turning into that lovely tangy buttermilk.

Now, let’s talk about the fermentation method. With this method, you gently heat the milk and add a small amount of buttermilk or plain yogurt. Then, let it chill at room temperature for a few hours. Those good bacteria get to work, converting the milk’s sugars into lactic acid. They will create that signature tangy flavor and thick texture of buttermilk.

We opted for the acidification method for this recipe because of its simplicity and speed.

Ingredients you’ll need to make your own sour milk

To make sour milk or buttermilk, you only need two simple ingredients (with some options for substitutions), found in any grocery store.

Plain milk: 

The whole milk serves as the base ingredient for buttermilk. It provides the liquid component and acts as a medium for the other ingredient, lemon juice, to work its magic. 

The type of milk used will affect the richness and consistency of the resulting buttermilk.


Lemon juice: 

Lemon juice acts as the acid in this homemade buttermilk recipe. When added to the milk, the citric acid in the lemon juice reacts with the proteins in the milk, causing it to curdle and thicken. This process mimics the fermentation that occurs in traditional buttermilk. 

The acid also contributes to the tangy flavor that is characteristic of buttermilk. It makes the perfect substitute in recipes that call for the real thing. 

Additionally, lemon juice provides a subtle citrus note that enhances the overall taste of the buttermilk.

Substitutes for making sour milk or buttermilk substitute

Milk:

You can use any type of milk for this, such as whole milk, low-fat milk, or skim milk. Additionally, plant-based milk alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk can be used for a dairy-free version of buttermilk.

When using non-dairy milk to make homemade buttermilk, there are a few differences compared to using regular dairy milk. The primary distinction lies in the flavor and consistency of the final product.

Pouring milk into lemon juice

Flavor:

Non-dairy milk alternatives have their own distinct flavors. As a result, the buttermilk made from these non-dairy milks will have a slightly different taste compared to traditional buttermilk made from cow’s milk. 

For example, buttermilk made with almond milk may have a subtle nutty undertone, while coconut milk buttermilk may carry a hint of coconut flavor.

Consistency:

The thickness of the homemade buttermilk may vary depending on the type of non-dairy milk used. Some non-dairy milks have a thicker consistency, similar to whole milk, while others may be thinner, similar to skim milk. This difference in thickness can affect the overall texture and mouthfeel of the buttermilk, hence, of your baked goods.

Non-dairy milks may react slightly differently to the acidic component (lemon juice or vinegar) compared to dairy milk. While they will still curdle and thicken to some extent, the process might be less pronounced or take a bit longer. Therefore, the non-dairy buttermilk might have a slightly different texture than traditional buttermilk.

Despite these differences, homemade buttermilk made with non-dairy milk is still a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, have dairy allergies, or follow a vegan lifestyle. It can work well as a substitute in various recipes, providing a tangy flavor and some of the desirable properties of traditional buttermilk. 

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the specific results may vary based on the type and brand of non-dairy milk used. Experimenting with different options will help you find the best match for your specific needs.

Acidic ingredient: 

If you don’t have fresh lemon juice on hand, you can use other acidic ingredients like a tablespoon of vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar). Similarly, you can use other citrus juices like lime juice. 

The acidic component is essential for curdling the milk and achieving the characteristic tanginess of buttermilk. So, any suitable acid will work effectively in this process.

How to make 1 cup of sour milk / 1 cup of buttermilk

Remember, you’ve got options when it comes to ingredients. Grab 1 cup milk – make it room temperature if you’re planning to bake something with it. Choose any milk you like, but if you’re going for the non dairy products route, be ready for a little twist in flavor and texture.

Now, the magic happens! Take a tablespoon of lemon juice or tablespoon vinegar and pour it into the fresh milk. Give it a good stir and then leave it be for a little bit of time, around 5-10 minutes. Watch the transformation unfold as the milk curdles and thickens, giving you that tangy goodness we all love.

And that’s it, you’ve got yourself homemade buttermilk or sour milk!

How to use buttermilk

You know what’s the best part about homemade sour milk? It might not be exactly like the store-bought buttermilk, but it works like a charm as a substitute in your favorite baked delicious recipes.

When you’re whipping up those yummy baked goods, you often need a leavening agent like baking soda to make them all fluffy and soft. But here’s the thing – baking soda needs an acid to work its magic and create those bubbles that will cause your batter to rise. That’s where our homemade sour milk comes to the rescue!

Whether you’re making muffins, pancakes, biscuits, or cakes, your homemade buttermilk or sour milk works wonders in all of them.

Expert tips: troubleshooting and solutions

  • Not thickening enough: If your homemade buttermilk doesn’t thicken as expected, it could be due to using low fat or skim milk, which has fewer proteins. Try using whole milk, which has a higher protein content, or add a bit more acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to help the curdling process.
  • Too thick or lumpy: On the flip side, if your buttermilk turns out too thick or lumpy, you may have added too much acid or let it sit for too long. Next time, try reducing the amount of acid or shortening the resting time to achieve a smoother consistency.
  • Unpleasant taste: If your homemade buttermilk has an off taste, it could be because of using expired milk or acidic ingredients. Always use fresh milk and ensure your lemon juice or vinegar is not past its expiration date.
  • Using non-dairy milk: When using plant-based milk alternatives, the results may vary based on the type and brand. Some non-dairy milks curdle better than others, so you might need to experiment with different options to find one that works best for you.
Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon juice

Don’t miss out! Click this link to watch a video of this Homemade Sour Milk with lemon juice up-close.

Take a look at the links below for recipes with buttermilk as an ingredient, or as a substitute ingredient, or click this link for more drink recipes.

Pancake Charcuterie Board

Banana Cake with Caramel frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche filling

Ultimate Pancakes recipe

If you make this recipe, please be sure to give it a star rating and leave a comment!

Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon juice
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5 from 4 votes

Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon juice

Who ever does have sour milk or buttermilk at hand when they need it, right? It's one of those pantry items that seem to magically disappear just when you're all set to make a batch of fluffy biscuits or delicious buttermilk pancakes. But fear not, my friends, because we're about to change the game with this quick and handy kitchen hack – Homemade Sour Milk or Buttermilk with Lemon Juice
Prep Time2 minutes
Curdling time10 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk replacement, buttermilk substitute, homemade sour milk, how to make sour milk with lemon juice, sweet fix baker
Servings: 1 Cup
Author: Maria Corcuera

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice strained

Instructions

  • Take a tablespoon of lemon juice and pour it into the fresh milk. Give it a good stir and then leave it be for 5 to 10 minutes. Milk will curdle and thicken, and then it's ready to use!
    1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Notes

Expert tips: troubleshooting and solutions
  • Not thickening enough: If your homemade buttermilk doesn’t thicken as expected, it could be due to using low fat or skim milk, which has fewer proteins. Try using whole milk, which has a higher protein content, or add a bit more acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to help the curdling process.
  • Too thick or lumpy: On the flip side, if your buttermilk turns out too thick or lumpy, you may have added too much acid or let it sit for too long. Next time, try reducing the amount of acid or shortening the resting time to achieve a smoother consistency.
  • Unpleasant taste: If your homemade buttermilk has an off taste, it could be because of using expired milk or acidic ingredients. Always use fresh milk and ensure your lemon juice or vinegar is not past its expiration date.
  • Using non-dairy milk: When using plant-based milk alternatives, the results may vary based on the type and brand. Some non-dairy milks curdle better than others, so you might need to experiment with different options to find one that works best for you.

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