Have you ever been confused about the difference between buttermilk and heavy cream? Well, you’re not alone. Though they are both dairy products, they are quite different, but that has not helped the decades-old debate about which one is better or whether you can use it in place of the other.
Although both ingredients are widely used in baking, as well as in sauces and marinades, some baking aficionados insist that buttermilk imparts a more subtle flavor to baked goods, while heavy cream is better for richness and body.
With many contradicting views, one wonders what the concrete difference between the two is. On the one hand, both buttermilk and heavy cream are milk products, but on the other hand, buttermilk is a product of milk fermented in lactic acid, while heavy cream is basically skimmed fat from unhomogenized milk.
So, how do these ingredients substitute? How do they taste? Read on to find out.
What is buttermilk?
“Buttermilk” is a catch-all term for the residual liquid left behind after churning butter. This “milk” was historically rich in butterfat, giving it a creamy yellow hue and slightly “buttery” flavor. This traditional buttermilk could be better preserved than fresh milk (before the onset of modern cooling techniques).
Today, buttermilk is made with skim milk, whereby pasteurized milk is converted into buttermilk using a lactic acid culture.
The most common uses of buttermilk today are in baking, where its acidity helps to tenderize baked goods like biscuits and candies and gives them a subtle tang.
Buttermilk is also popular in Southern cooking, where it’s often used to tenderize fried chicken and add taste to biscuits.
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What does buttermilk look like?
Cultured buttermilk is a type of milk that has been cultured with bacteria. This process gives it a slightly sour taste and thicker consistency than regular milk. The milk is usually white but can also be found in other colors like pink or yellow.
So next time you see a recipe that calls for buttermilk, don’t be alarmed by its unique appearance. Just grab a carton from the grocery store and get ready to enjoy some delicious food!
What is heavy cream?
Heavy cream is the highest-fat content cream available on the market, with a milk fat content that ranges from 36 to 40 percent. It is produced by spinning raw milk at a very high speed in a centrifuge until the fat part of the milk separates from the low-fat milk liquid. The cream is then skimmed off the top.
In the U.S, heavy cream must contain no less than 30 percent milk fat to be considered heavy cream.
These percentages are arrived at by recombining the fat and liquid parts of the milk to achieve the desired final product.
Heavy cream is also called heavy whipping cream or whippable cream because of its ability to combine with sugar and be whipped into stiff peaks. These stiff peaks are then used as topping or filling for desserts.
Heavy cream is also used in sauces and soups.
What does heavy cream look like?
Heavy cream is a thick, rich dairy product with a high fat content. It is pale yellow in color and has a smooth, creamy texture. When Whip cream, it doubles in volume and becomes light and airy.
Heavy cream is often used in baking and cooking to add richness and flavor to dishes. It can be used in savory dishes such as sauces and soups or sweet dishes such as desserts and pastries.
Heavy cream is also a popular ingredient in coffee and cocktails. When added to coffee, it creates a rich, creamy drink called a latte.
When mixed with alcohol, it makes a delicious adult beverage known as Irish coffee. Whether you’re using it in the kitchen or the bar, heavy cream is sure to add some extra richness to your dish or drink!
Buttermilk vs. heavy cream
Buttermilk and heavy cream are both dairy products, although there are some significant differences between them.
Buttermilk is made by fermenting cow’s milk in lactic acid, whereas heavy cream is simply skimmed fat from unhomogenized milk.
The milk fat content of heavy cream varies from 36 to 40 percent, whereas that of buttermilk ranges from 2 to 4 percent.
Because of its capacity to mix with sugar and form stiff peaks, whipping cream (or whippable cream) is also known as heavy cream or whipping creamer.
Buttermilk can be used in baking recipes as a leavening agent (just like baking soda), or you can enjoy the cream for buttermilk as a beverage, while heavy cream is often used in baking recipes or can be whipped into whipped cream.
Difference between buttermilk and heavy cream
There are a few differences between buttermilk and heavy cream. For one, the milk fat content of heavy cream is higher than that of buttermilk, ranging from 36 to 40 percent compared to 2 to 4 percent.
Another difference is the way the two ingredients are manufactured. While heavy cream is essentially skimmed the cream from unhomogenized milk, buttermilk is made by fermenting cow’s milk in a lactic acid culture. These different production methods result in different textures and consistencies for the two products.
Buttermilk is thinner than heavy cream and has a slightly sour taste thanks to the fermentation process. The sour taste makes it ideal for baking recipes that call for buttermilk, as it helps to balance out the sweetness of other ingredients.
Heavy cream, however, is thicker and has a richer flavor. It’s often used in baking recipes or whipped into whipped cream to top desserts.
Heavy cream replacement
In case you ran out of heavy cream, you can use any of the following substitutes, depending on the recipe you are making:
1. Half-and-half and butter
Half-and-half and butter can be used as a replacement for heavy cream in many recipes. The ratio of half-and-half to butter should be 1:1, and you should simmer the mixture until it is thickened.
2. Milk and butter
Milk and butter can also be used as a replacement for heavy cream, although the milk will need to be simmered first to reduce the water content. The ratio of milk to butter should be 2:1.
3. Evaporated milk
You can also use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream, although you will end up with a slightly thinner dish.
4. Coconut cream
You can also try coconut cream as a 1:1 replacement for heavy cream. The catch here is that the coconut cream will add sweetness to savory dishes.
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese can also be used as a replacement for heavy cream, although it will make the dish richer and more dense. Use a 1:1 ratio of cream cheese to heavy cream for the best results.
6. Greek yogurt and milk
Greek yogurt and milk can substitute heavy cream in various recipes. The Greek yogurt adds richness and body to the dish, while the milk helps to thin it out. The ratio of Greek yogurt to milk should be 2:1.
7. Soy milk and olive oil
Finally, if you only have soy milk and olive oil, you can use them in place of heavy cream. The soy milk adds creaminess and body to the dish, while the olive oil helps to thin it out. The ratio of soy milk to olive oil should be 1:1.
Buttermilk is a key ingredient in many recipes, from pancakes to cakes. Its tangy flavor and thick consistency help to give baked goods a light and fluffy texture. But what do you do if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand? Never fear – several easy buttermilk substitutes will work just as well.
1. Milk + vinegar
This is perhaps the simplest replacement for buttermilk. Simply combine one cup of whole milk with a tablespoon of vinegar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using. The acid in the vinegar will curdle the milk, giving it a thicker consistency.
2. Milk + lemon juice
This combination can be used similarly, although the flavor will be slightly different. A tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of milk will do the trick.
3. Milk + cream of tartar
This is another option for replacing buttermilk. Simply combine one cup of milk and 5 grams of tartar. The cream of tartar helps to thicken the milk and gives it a slightly acidic flavor.
To prevent the cream of tartar from clumping up, mix it with two tablespoons of milk and format thick cream, then add to the rest of the milk.
4. Milk + sour cream
Milk and sour cream can also be used as a replacement, although the finished product will be richer and more decadent. Mix 3/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup milk or water and stir to make a cup of buttermilk.
5. Milk + Kefir
This is another option if you have trouble finding buttermilk. Kefir is a fermented dairy product that contains live bacteria. Combined with milk, it gives the milk a thick, creamy texture and slightly sour flavor. You can still use plain Kefir in place of buttermilk.
6. Plain yogurt + water
Yogurt and water or milk can also be used as a buttermilk replacement. Simply thin out 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup water or milk or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Buttermilk nutrition facts
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product made by adding bacteria to milk. This process gives it a slightly sour flavor and thick, creamy texture. One cup of cultured 1% buttermilk is a good source of the following nutrients:
Heavy cream nutrition facts
Heavy cream is a dairy product made from the high-fat portion of milk. It has a rich, creamy texture and is often used in baking or as a dessert topping. One half-cup of heavy cream contains the following nutrients:
What is buttermilk good for?
Buttermilk has several health benefits due to its high content of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is often used as a home remedy for digestive problems or as a beauty treatment for skin and hair. Some of the benefits of buttermilk include:
- Aiding in digestion
- Preventing constipation
- Reducing inflammation
- Treating sunburns
- Moisturizing dry skin
- Combating dandruff
- Adding shine to hair
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you substitute for heavy cream in a recipe?
Several substitutes can be used in place of heavy cream, depending on what you are making. For savory dishes, milk and olive oil or milk and butter can be used. For sweet dishes, evaporated milk or a mixture of milk and sour cream can be used.
What can I use instead of buttermilk?
You can use several ingredient combinations to replace buttermilk, including milk and vinegar, milk and lemon juice, or milk and cream of tartar
What is low-fat buttermilk?
Low-fat buttermilk is made by adding bacteria to skim milk. It has a slightly sour flavor and a thick, creamy texture.
How long is heavy cream good for after the expiration date?
Heavy cream will generally last for about a week after the expiration date. However, it is always best to check the date on the package before using it. Consuming it weeks after expiry will most likely lead to food poisoning.
Buttermilk and heavy cream are two dairy products with similar textures and appearances. However, they have some major differences. Buttermilk is made by adding bacteria to milk, while heavy cream is made from the high-fat portion of milk.
Buttermilk is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, while heavy cream is a good source of fat and vitamins A, D, and E. Buttermilk can be used as a home remedy for digestive problems or as a beauty treatment for skin and hair.
Heavy cream can be used in savory or sweet dishes and as a topping for desserts. Both buttermilk and heavy cream will last about a week after their expiration dates. However, always be careful with any expired food product.