Often, it’s a bit of a feat to squeeze a sufficient answer into the space allotted for A la Carte’s Since You Asked column. And when the column receives reader feedback, I always wonder how to handle it. Over the years, I’ve determined that this blog is one of the most immediate ways that readers can weigh in on a favorite topic.
This past week it was buttermilk. The original question solicited uses for buttermilk left over from baking or batches of pancakes. I have to confess this is a quandary I periodically encounter. Readers jumped in with more suggestions, the top two themes being to avoid the issue altogether by buying powdered buttermilk or exponentially extending the shelf life of buttermilk, so there’s no rush to use it.
Diane emailed to remind bakers that dry buttermilk purchased on the baking aisles of supermarkets can be kept in the refrigerator for use any time. Ratios for reconstituting it are on the package. She says she chooses liquid to add to the dry ingredients based on the type of recipe, using either a dairy product or juice.
Alberta from Ashland swears that she keeps buttermilk “sweet and fresh” for several months by transferring buttermilk from its cardboard carton to a glass container as soon as she opens it. She puts a sheet a plastic wrap between the bottle and the lid, ensuring that no metal comes in contact with the buttermilk. Then she stirs it with a plastic spoon each time she uses it.
Whichever product you select, this savory buttermilk bread would be delicious on these cold days with cream-of-tomato soup. It’s courtesy of Newsday.
Buttermilk Bread With Parmesan, Olive and Thyme
2 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1 1⁄2 cups grated Parmesan
1⁄2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped, fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dry mustard in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, oil and buttermilk in a large, glass measuring cup.
Pour egg mixture into flour mixture. Add the cheese, olives and thyme. Use a rubber spatula to mix until just moistened. Do not overmix.
Scrape into prepared pan and bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Let stand in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning over, reinverting and letting cool completely. Makes 6 to 8 servings.