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In the old days, nothing went to waste in an Irish household and this included the liquid left over after churning the butter. Combined with natural airborne bacteria, the liquid thickened and soured, taking on a pleasingly tangy flavor. The resulting buttermilk made an excellent drink, especially in warm weather (although Michaleen O'Flynn in the Quiet Man would definitely disagree - "The Borgia's would do better!").
Lower in fat than sweet milk, the flavor of buttermilk is reminiscent of yogurt and most people prefer it well-chilled. Irish folklore claims a glass of buttermilk will cure a hangover, and when heated with a clove of garlic, it was sure to cure any variety of ailments!
While the days of churning butter at home may be long gone, the following recipe will make it easy for you to enjoy having fresh buttermilk on hand almost whenever you like.
1 oz yeast
1 oz sugar
4 pts water
1 pt milk
1. Cream sugar and yeast
2. Warm the water slightly and mix with milk
3. Gradually stir milk and water until the milk smells like buttermilk - slightly sour but not unpleasant
4. Strain through muslin and use for bread and scone recipes calling for buttermilk, including:
Jane FitzGerald's Blue Ribbon Soda Bread
St. Brigid's Oatcakes
Irish Soda Biscuits
Recipe reprinted with the kind permission of Cailin Ni Meara
Image: Co. Wicklow Note Card from All-Posters
Wed, Feb 26, 2014
"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb
The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson
Margaret Johnsons love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.
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