{kitchen aids / recipe} DIY Buttermilk + Buttermilk Mac and Cheese

May 3, 2010

Photo: Six Course Dinner

I have a love-hate relationship with buttermilk. I love it. But I hate that I never have any when I want some OR I buy some for one recipe and end up with leftovers that go bad. (Shouldn’t they sell buttermilk in smaller containers?) Does this happen to you, too? If so, I have the answer: clabbered milk!

Clabbered milk is basically soured milk, which is basically buttermilk. The proper method requires that milk stand at warm room temperature for 2-3 days. But there is a quick DIY method that takes all of 10 minutes and leaves you with a thick(ish) tangy drink that can be used in place of buttermilk. Just like that and you can make recipes that call for buttermilk without any advance planning or worrying about leftovers. Fancy that!

The quick method is simple: whisk 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice into 1 cup of whole or low fat milk and let stand for about 10 minutes. Voila.

Fluffy pancakes, tangy marinades, creamy low-fat dressings… it can all be yours! Even this Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese from the archives. This stuff is delicious and, other than some extra time, it takes little more effort than the boxed stuff. So the next time you want mac and cheese, ditch the blue box (or maybe you’ve got the one with bunnies on it… either way!), make some clabbered milk and enjoy this fully homemade version.

Buttermilk Macaroni & Cheese
adapted from Six Course Dinner
(can be adapted for kids 8+ mos)

16 oz orecchiette
4 tbsp flour
2 c low fat buttermilk or clabbered milk
16 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground mustard
dash cayenne (optional, skip for little ones)
4 tbsp panko or regular bread crumbs
8 sprigs fresh marjoram
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, briefly rinse under cold water, drain again.

2. While the macaroni is cooking, make a roux: Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour until well combined. Reduce heat and gently cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture just begins to darken.

3. Add buttermilk, 12 oz. of the cheese, paprika, mustard and cayenne. Stir until the cheese is mostly melted and then turn off the heat. Add 7 sprigs of marjoram and continue stirring for five minutes. At this point the cheese should be completely melted and the marjoram should have flavored the sauce. Remove marjoram. Pour sauce over cooked pasta, add salt and pepper and mix well.

4. Put pasta in an oven proof casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil to brown the top, about another 20 minutes or so.

5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped marjoram from the remaining sprig. Serve!

9 Responses

  1. OMG, YES!!! Thank you for saying it – why isn’t buttermilk sold in smaller containers? I mostly use it either for baking (red velvet cake) or marinating chicken to fry, but wholly moly do I hate buying those enormous containers. I just figured I should make MORE fried chicken and red velvet cake. But this works better.


  2. DailyChef says:

    I feel the same way about buttermilk! Your mac and cheese looks heavenly.

  3. Rosie says:

    Hate to brag but my local Whole Foods sells buttermilk in 1 pint containers!

    But this is still a good reminder that we can always make our own at home-I always forget that I have that option. Thanks and the recipe looks delicious.

  4. kate says:

    I’ve heard that the preshredded cheese has something added to it that makes it not work/melt as well in mac&cheese. any experience having it work or not?

  5. kate, I’ve used pre-shredded cheese and it seems to melt just fine. Maybe it depends on which recipe you use? Whenever I add pre-cooked short pasta to a hot cream/milk/whatever mixture before adding it to pre-shredded cheese it all melts together just fine.

  6. One Hungry Mama says:

    hi kate, sorry i’m getting to this a little late. like meredith, i’ve never had any problem with pre-shredded cheese. it should work just fine. that said, if you have the time, you might want to take a few extra minutes to shred your own. while i mostly use pre-shredded when i make this during the week, i use block cheese whenever i have the time. i can’t point to anything definitive but, in my experience, you can get much higher quality cheese that is much tastier in block form.

  7. I really enjoy your site and i respect your work. I’ll be a frequent visitor. How do I subscribe to the RSS feed?

  8. One Hungry Mama says:

    hi geoffrey,

    thanks for the comment! did you click the “Subscribe via RSS” link (under “Follow Me” at the top of the far right column?). If not, try that. If so, can you tell me what reader you use and any other details so I can look into the problem? That would be helpful!

    Anyone else ever have problems with the RSS feed?

  9. Gale Osborn says:

    OMGoodness, I’m a southern cook and I use a lot of buttermilk!
    The best biscuits, the best cakes and pies, salad dressing,breads, pancakes and etc! I am also a cheese maker so I make my own buttermilk, real buttermilk with mesophilic culture and keep it going indiffently. I agree with the lady who posted about using quick sour milk,it’s a great way to sub.for buttermilk, but, cultured buttermilk is the best!!

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