It's nearly impossible to find fresh buttermilk here in Tokyo, so when Peter and I tossed around the idea of making homemade butter, I was more excited by the residual by-product than the butter itself. We decided to make the butter the old-fashioned way, with a butter churn. I found a vintage Dazey churn I liked on eBay, had it shipped to my aunt in California, and on my visit to the US, hand-carried it home; yes, I did get stopped by airport security who looked at the contraption on the X-ray monitor with puzzled looks--What is that thing? The glass churn made it home safe and sound and put to work soon after. I thought it would take awhile to churn 2 liters worth of cream, but it took 30 minutes from start to finish, and we ended up with just under 1 liter of buttermilk and lots of butter! We didn't culture the cream this time and the ensuing butter was very fresh tasting and light, and accordingly the buttermilk was not tangy. But how would it do in recipes that called for buttermilk? It did very well.
The buttermilk pancakes were the lightest and fluffiest I've ever made. Not sure if it was due to the recipe (I tried a new one from Allrecipes.com) or due to the fresh buttermilk, but even Peter, who is not a big fan of pancakes, loved them.
The biscuits turned out pretty good too. Buttermilk bliss!
Note: The buttermilk biscuit recipe is from Fine Cooking, and the recipe can be found online on their website, at www.finecooking.com.
Adapted from www.allrecipes.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted (42g)
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large bowl. Whisk to mix everything together. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in the buttermilk, egg and butter. Whisk everything together and mix until the batter is smooth. Heat a frying pan (I use my seasoned cast iron pan) on medium or medium low heat and add in some oil, then wipe it out with a paper towel. Pour the batter in the pan and flip the pancake when the sides start to dry out and bubbles begin to appear on top, about 2-3 minutes. The bottom of the pancake should be golden brown. Flip and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until the underside is golden brown. Remove the pancake to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter, wiping the bottom of the frying pan with the oil-soaked paper towel before pouring the batter.
Serve with butter and maple syrup.