What do our favorite vintage comfort foods—tender biscuits, moist chocolate cake, and juicy fried chicken—have in common? Why, buttermilk, of course.
Traditional buttermilk is the liquid leftover from churning cultured cream into butter. It’s thinner and less acidic than the cultured buttermilk readily available in grocery stores today. The modern supermarket variety is made by adding bacteria to milk to simulate the fermenting process that occurs naturally in the traditional method. The result is a thick, creamy, and tart liquid that works magic on meats, baked goods, and anything needing an extra zing.
In these old-fashioned recipes, buttermilk gives extra oomph and tenderness to sweet potato biscuits, makes an ultra-moist chocolate cake with a tangy punch of flavor, and helps perfectly seasoned fried chicken stay juicy to the last bite. And if you have any buttermilk leftover, don’t be afraid to put a splash in smoothies or make a creamy salad dressing. Buttermilk makes everything better.