I’ve never cared for the taste of buttermilk straight up from the bottle, but in a recipe it is an entirely different story. When I first started baking with buttermilk, I didn’t really know what buttermilk was. Buttermilk is essentially the liquid that remains after churning butter…the milk from the butter. It has a yogurt-y flavor and is thicker than regular milk, but not as thick as heavy cream. Most commercially made buttermilk is made by adding a lactic acid bacteria culture to pasteurized skim or non-fat milk (and may or may not have added butter flecks).
These buttermilk brownies call for a small amount of buttermilk, so if you don’t have buttermilk in stock and don’t want to purchase an entire bottle, then you have a few homemade options before you:
- Substitute for buttermilk: Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Then pour enough milk in the measuring cup to bring the liquid up to the 1 cup mark. Let stand for 5 minutes, then use as buttermilk replacement in your recipe.
- Make buttermilk at home: Pour 1 cup of heavy cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized) in a medium mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until you have butter. Pour off the clear buttermilk liquid to use in your recipe. [If you want to use the butter, knead it under cold water for a couple of minutes to remove any residual buttermilk. Then store in your refrigerator until ready to use.]
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking pan with butter or shortening.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter and cocoa powder. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the cocoa mixture to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.
Spread the buttermilk brownies batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows to make 24 brownies.