Buttermilk – the forgotten probiotic

Cultured buttermilk contains probiotics produced as lactic acid bacteria ferment the lactose (sugar) in milk. The result is a tangy and slightly acidic drink which can help build beneficial bacteria in our gut and a result keep bad bacteria at bay!

Buttermilk contains lower levels of lactose than milk so it can be consumed in moderation by those with lactose intolerance.

Cultured buttermilk is the most commonly found in supermarkets and it is different from traditional buttermilk which is made from the milk left after making cultured butter.

On the calorie front, buttermilk is lower in fat and therefore calories than full fat milk.

Buttermilk is used in baking as its acidity reacts with baking soda in cakes, pancakes and soda bread making them lighter and springier. Note than the probiotics are killed during cooking at high temperatures so to make the most of the good bacteria in buttermilk, try adding it to smoothies and shakes rather than baking with it.

You can make buttermilk at home by adding a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a glass of milk. In about half an hour you’ll see how the milk starts curdling as the acid reacts with the casein in the milk. Note that this buttermilk can be used in baking but, unfortunately, does not have any of the probiotics. Another option is to add some probiotic bacteria to your home-made buttermilk from a probiotic supplement or some live yogurt

Buttermilk and banana pancakes.

This pancakes are based on Nigela’’s recipe from Feast, I’ve just added a little more protein and fibre to turn them into a balanced breakfast.

Simple, delicious and nutritious…

Blend 4 organic eggs with 2 well mashed ripe bananas. Add 600ml buttermilk and mix well. In a separate bowl sift 250g brown or wholemeal flour with 2tsp baking powder and 1tsp bicarbonate of soda. Lightly mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Let sit for 15mim to help the gluten relax and the batter become smoother while you make yourself a lovely cup of tea.

Then add 2tbsp of melted butter or coconut oil into the batter and drop medium sized ladlefulls of batter on a hot and lightly greased pancake pan until bubbles appear on the surface and thepancakes have raised a little. Flip and cook for another minute or so. Serve with pure maple syrup, lots of antioxidant-packed berries and generous dollop of live yogurt to add protein.