Use but­ter­milk to fla­vor and ten­der­ize meats

Its acidic prop­er­ties also make it great for mari­nades.

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE - Byj.m. Hirsch

The prob­lem with but­ter­milk is there isn’t a lot of “real” but­ter­milk around.

The good news is that the new­fan­gled but­ter­milk avail­able at most gro­cers isn’t all that bad. Bet­ter yet, it’s easy to make the real stuff your­self.

But first, a but­ter­milk primer. As its name sug­gests, but­ter­milk is the tangy milk-like liq­uid left be­hind when cul­tured cream is churned to make but­ter. At least that’s how they made it in the old days. To­day, it’s usu­ally com­mer­cially pro­duced by adding cul­tures to lowor no-fat milk.

Ei­ther way, you end up with an acidic, thick, milky liq­uid. But why is this con­sid­ered an in­gre­di­ent that’s off the beaten aisle? Af­ter all, we’ve all had but­ter­milk pan­cakes and waf­fles.

It’s be­cause most peo­ple don’t re­al­ize just how ver­sa­tile an in­gre­di­ent but­ter­milk is, and that it be­longs on the break­fast and din­ner ta­ble.

Let’s start with but­ter­milk’s sig­na­ture tang. It’s tangy be­cause it’s acidic, and acidic in­gre­di­ents make for great mari­nades.

Give chicken, pork or turkey a but­ter­milk bath and you’ll get es­pe­cially ten­der, fla­vor­ful meat. Be­fore you add the meat, just whisk in what­ever sea­son­ings you want.

And that same tang turns out killer mashed pota­toes. Use it in place of reg­u­lar milk, then mash away. Ditto for sweet pota­toes.

Next time you’re mak­ing vinai­grette for your salad or roasted veg­eta­bles, add but­ter­milk for rich, lux­u­ri­ous fla­vor. Try a blend of olive oil, but­ter­milk, lemon juice, straw­berry jam, salt and black pep­per.

But­ter­milk also is de­li­cious in fruit smooth­ies. Sub­sti­tute but­ter­milk for a quar­ter to half of the liq­uid you’d nor­mally use.

When shop­ping for but­ter­milk, most of what you find is la­beled “cul­tured but­ter­milk,” which gen­er­ally refers to low-fat or skim milk that has been cul­tured.

But a num­ber of re­gional dairies now sell “real” but­ter­milk, a smart use of the liq­uid left­over from their but­ter mak­ing op­er­a­tions.

But it’s also easy enough to make your own. And the best part is that in the process, you also get some de­li­cious home­made but­ter (the very best there is). Just pur­chase a pint of the very best qual­ity heavy cream you can find. Place it in a food pro­ces­sor and process for sev­eral min­utes.

The cream will get thick and re­sem­ble whipped cream. Con­tinue pro­cess­ing un­til the whipped cream breaks and the fat solids come to­gether as but­ter. At this point there should be one or two large clumps of but­ter and a fair amount of milky liq­uid in the pro­ces­sor. Pour off the liq­uid — this is your but­ter­milk. Sea­son the but­ter with salt, then use or re­frig­er­ate. It’s that sim­ple.

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