The Real Difference Between Buttermilk and Heavy Cream
What, then, is the facts, between the difference between buttermilk vs heavy cream? Some say that buttermilk is the best substitute for heavy cream. And other people say that you cannot substitute buttermilk for heavy cream. Which is which?
In this article, we will differentiate the two of the most important ingredients in baking – buttermilk and heavy cream.
What is buttermilk most famous for – probably buttermilk pancakes or buttermilk biscuits.
To give you an overview, buttermilk has 2 grams of fat per cup, it is more acidic and tangy (a little bit like the taste of sour cream is I had to compare buttermilk to something similar).
While heavy cream has 36% to 40% content of fat per cup and is sweeter in flavor. (If I had to compare heavy cream to something perhaps Creme Fraiche)
See our black forest cake with heavy cream.
If you are one of those people who are confused about which ingredient to use and what is the best buttermilk substitute or cream substitute then this article is for you, so read on to is buttermilk and heavy cream the same?
Infographic For Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream
Quick Review of The Difference Between Buttermilk and Heavy Cream
- Flavor: tangy and acidic
- Ingredient: made of churning butter from fermented cream or low-fat milk that has an added Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Used as/in: flavoring agent, leavening agent, or a marinade
Heavy Cream Properties
- Flavor: slightly sweet
- Ingredient: separated fat solids from unhomogenized milk liquid
- Used as/in: sauces, whipping cream, ice cream, or baking
Can I Substitute Buttermilk for Heavy Cream?
Can I use buttermilk instead of heavy cream
So can you use buttermilk instead of heavy cream – yes you can in some situations and in others you can not. While I am not trying to be obtuse, lets look further to determine what you can do and what is the best buttermilk substitute first.
The details below will help you decide if you can substitute buttermilk for heavy cream. We cannot decide it for you since it depends on your dish and how you use it. Also, these two essential ingredients have their own different qualities and use. See them below.
What are the Ingredients for Heavy Cream?
Heavy cream, also known as whipping cream, is basically made of butter and whole milk. If you are wondering how to make your own heavy cream, we got you covered for that!
How to make Heavy Whipping Cream
How to make Heavy Whipping Cream – homemade heavy whipped cream.
Heavy cream is an essential part of many recipes during the holidays. If you come to a recipe that calls for it and you don’t have any, it can be frustrating. The good news is that you can make your own heavy cream from two simple ingredients in your fridge and still have whipped cream.
Surprisingly, making heavy whipping cream is easy. Whole milk, butter, and a small amount of elbow grease are all you need.
To make 1 cup of heavy cream, first, mix 2/3 cup of whole milk with 1/3 cup melted butter. It’s that simple really.
As an alternative, if you don’t have milk on hand, you can also use 1/6 cup butter and 7/8 cup half-and-half.
Always start with a chilled bowl. The colder the base milk or cream is the quicker it will whip.
Now, in just 2 easy steps you’ll have cold heavy whipping cream. With an electric mixer you will have a whipped topping in about 5 minutes.
- Place all the above ingredients in a cold mixing bowl
- Mix on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until you have stiff peaks form.
If you use a stand mixer, watch carefully because over beating will alter the heavy whipping cream from fluffy peaks into a lumpy butter in about 15 seconds of over mixing.
How do you make heavy whipping cream without the butter fat.
While it will taste a little bit different (not much) take 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1 cup of skim milk. You need to whisk quickly to get all the lumps in the cornstarch dissolved. The cornstarch is a thickening agent and will thicken up the skim milk. So now you have a recipe for heavy whipping cream without all that added fat.
This is very similar to homemade whipped cream.
How to Make Heavy Cream?
Prepare and combine 2/3 cups of whole milk and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Mix it gently all together and make sure it does not leave any bumps. Transfer it to an air-tight container and leave it refrigerated overnight to thicken. Lastly, strain to a fine-mesh sieve to remove any bumps and clumps.
That’s it! If you properly mix it, it will result in a sweeter taste, thicker and smoother texture, a perfect homemade heavy cream which is in my opinion the best heavy cream substitute, Why because commercial heavy creams have added stabilizers, thickeners, and vitamins to make them creamier and tasty.
What are the Ingredients for Buttermilk?
Do you know that most of the store-bought buttermilk is not pure buttermilk at all? Traditional buttermilk is made from pure heavy cream only. While the store-bought buttermilk is made from low-fat milk that comes from adding fermented lactic acid bacteria and is appropriately referred to as cultured buttermilk.
Unlike heavy cream, buttermilk is tangier in taste and its thickness allows it to act as a leavening agent. No wonder why we often see less buttermilk used in sweet foods. But real homemade buttermilk is sweet and thinner; this is how you distinguish a real from cultured buttermilk.
How to Make Buttermilk?
To make your own buttermilk, you only need a pure heavy cream for this. Make sure that is not ultra-pasteurized and just get the regular pasteurized cream since it has a better taste – fresher and delightful.
First, fill half of the jar with heavy cream and shake it up and down to thicken the cream and eventually turn into whipped cream. Then, pour the buttermilk into a separate jar and keep it secure until it needs to be used.
If you need a larger quantity, you can pour the heavy cream into the mixer and beat it at a high speed. With that, it will result in whipping cream and will eventually separate out into buttermilk and butter.
Refrigerate it to prevent spoiling. It has a short shelf life so, use it immediately or within a few days.
When to Use a Heavy Cream?
Usually, you can use a heavy cream when making desserts, main courses, or appetizers. This food can be used in a lot of ways since it has a sweeter taste compared to other creams.
It is mixed in different dishes to hold the shape of the pastries and kinds of pasta where it is commonly used as an ingredient. Moreover, it is also found as an ingredient in chowder wherein it is mixed to make it creamier and thicker giving it a distinct texture from the buttermilk.
Heavy cream is also common in pasta sauce, especially for alfredo pasta that needs a heavy cream for the sauce to set and become thicker yet retain a smooth texture.
Homemade heavy cream is perfected in mashed potato – as is double cream, clotted cream.
Additionally, heavy cream is also a common ingredient in baked products or pastries because of its properties that help to create fluffy crusts, which everybody loves. It can also be whipped and transformed into ice cream. It can also be a substitute for a leavening agent since it does not react with baking soda and is not acidic.
When to Use a Buttermilk?
If you are a baker, professional or not, you know that buttermilk is better used in bread to make it softer and fluffier. It is also similar to sour greek yogurt which perfectly produces cheese-like flavors for your dishes. Unlike heavy cream, buttermilk has a tangy taste that would complement many dishes that need a bit of acidity yet flexible enough to be used in several ways. (It is nowhere near as acidic as white wine vinegar)
Also, churned buttermilk is often used in fried chicken because it tenderizes through its acidity and it is able to give crispy chicken skin. If you want to use it for a healthier purpose, make it as a dressing for your caesar salad. Another way to use it is to mix it in the mashed potatoes to give creamy, foolproof spuds.
When making cheese with buttermilk, make it curdle under intense heat to produce a perfect cheese along with other ingredients such as milk and salt. If you want the cheese to get firmer, stir it occasionally while under heat, just enough to prevent scorching from the bottom. If you want to have a spreadable cheese, stir constantly under heat. Then strain it to remove the curdles from the cheese.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Buttermilk?
Just so you know, heavy cream can be substituted by buttermilk since its taste is more neutral. However, buttermilk cannot be substituted so easily for heavy cream. For this reason, buttermilk is tangier in flavor and can completely alter the flavor of your dishes, as well as the texture.
For baking heavy cream cannot be mixed into any baking recipe where buttermilk is commonly used for.
However, there are other options that buttermilk can be substituted for. You can choose lemon juice rather than heavy cream since its acidity can have a similar reaction with buttermilk when combined with milk.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Heavy cream?
Many products can act as a substitute for heavy cream but if you only have buttermilk then you could but the taste is likely to be different.
Substitutions for Heavy Cream
Aside from buttermilk, options like evaporated milk, cream cheese, greek yogurt, soy milk, olive oil, coconut milk, soured cream, whey, cottage cheese, whole milk & cornstarch, and can be considered.
If you opt for buttermilk, you can substitute this by pouring 2/3 cups of buttermilk and 1/3 cup of oil instead of a 1 cup heavy cream. You can also have 1/3 cup of margarine or homemade butter instead of using 1 cup of heavy cream.
Can I use heavy cream instead of buttermilk for fried chicken?
Buttermilk is high in carbohydrates so, if you plan to skip it, you can substitute it with heavy whipping cream or heavy cream to help brine the chicken and give a juicier result. I have even search for people using sweetened condensed milk and getting. good result – with a little lemon juice.
What happens if you use milk instead of buttermilk?
If you are cooking or baking and lack buttermilk in your pantry, milk is not a good substitute since it is completely different in flavor. In the absence of acid from the buttermilk, milk cannot produce the same acidic flavor. But using an acidic ingredient such as lemon can be a perfect replacement for buttermilk when combined with plain milk.
Is heavy cream and heavy whipping cream the same thing?
Fat content aside, they are similar. Both can whip well and have a delicious flavor. They have a slight difference in quality; heavy whip cream can give your recipe a softer and lighter texture while a heavy cream holds its shape longer. Also, the fat content of heavy cream is higher than the of heavy whipping cream.
Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream – Difference
Summary Of The Battle Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream
Buttermilk – Traditionally made from churning butter from fermented cream. However commercially it is now produced by putting Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus into low-fat milk and then produced by separating the fat solids from the liquid in unhomogenized milk.
Buttermilk Taste: Tangy and acidic Slightly sweet
Main Uses Of Buttermilk
Used as a flavoring ingredient, leavening agent, or a marinade for meats like chicken or even fish. It is also used as a component in ice cream, sauces soups, and baking;
However, both traditional and cultured buttermilk does contain lactic acid which makes it thicker than regular milk.
Cultured buttermilk is more viscous again.
Why is Buttermilk sour?
It is sour or has a tangy flavor because of the naturally occurring bacteria that ferment lactose.
What Makes Heavy Cream Good For Baking Compared To Buttermilk?
Heavy cream can have up to 40% fat and delivers a flavor-rich, soft, and moist baked product. Another reason heavy cream is widely used in baking is that it creates light and fluffy crusts.