Whether you like it baked or on the stovetop, the best macaroni and cheese arguably tops the list of most-loved comfort foods. There’s just something about pasta drowned in gooey cheese sauce and perhaps sprinkled with crunchy breadcrumbs that feels like a warm hug in a bowl. There are many ways to make homemade mac and cheese even more exceptional, from using a blend of different cheeses to adding ham or lobster. If you’re giving your cheese sauce an extra tangy, tangy flavor, consider this: Try swapping the milk in the recipe for a little buttermilk.
Buttermilk is just regular milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria, but traditionally it was the liquid left after churning cream into butter. It’s tangy from fermentation and brings depth, complexity and acidity to recipes ranging from cookies and pancakes to fried chicken, so why not mac and cheese? The tangy flavor will bring out the tanginess of the cheeses in your casserole and also give a tangy kick that will dissipate any heaviness caused by all the fats and carbs. You don’t even need a recipe, just trust your taste buds. You don’t even need store-bought buttermilk, as you can easily make your own.
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How much buttermilk?
It’s easy to use buttermilk in place of all or part of the regular milk or cream in your macaroni and cheese. You can add your buttermilk in two ways: either to make a béchamel sauce like you would with milk and roux, or mix all your mac and cheese ingredients together and use the same amount of buttermilk as the milk called for in the recipe ( or in the instructions). , if you use a boxed mix).
If you want to make macaroni and cheese with a creamy béchamel sauce, keep in mind that buttermilk contains less fat than whole milk or heavy cream. For this method, consider replacing half the milk or cream with buttermilk to get the same benefits of full-fat dairy plus the tangy flavor of buttermilk. Prepare your roux as you normally do, but whisk in a mixture of milk and buttermilk, then add your grated cheese before mixing everything with the pasta.
If you’re not using a roux-based sauce in your homemade macaroni and cheese, all you have to do is substitute equal amounts of buttermilk for regular milk and mix together all your pasta, cheese, and liquid in a bowl before cooking. or in a pan for stovetop mac and cheese.
Make your own buttermilk
Buttermilk is widely available in most grocery stores. If you don’t see it near regular, low-fat, and fat-free milk, look for it near the refrigerated coffee creamer. If you can’t find buttermilk at your local store, don’t worry, because it’s easy to make at home. To make homemade buttermilk, simply add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The milk and acid mixture will slightly curdle and thicken, imitating the clabber of buttermilk; You will know the mixture is ready when you lightly shake the bowl and the milk seems to break up and the center seems thick.
The great thing about homemade buttermilk is that you don’t have to choose between using milk or buttermilk in your macaroni and cheese. Simply acidulate the volume of milk in your favorite recipe and you’ll have the best of both worlds. You can even use homemade buttermilk to liven up a box of store-bought macaroni and cheese; simply add a drop or two of lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk for the sauce and mix everything together. Once you taste the tangy bite of buttermilk in your favorite type of mac and cheese, you’ll probably never go back to using plain old milk.