Unsweetened soy milk combined with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar is a common vegan substitute for buttermilk.
This mixture can be used in baking and cooking as a dairy-free, lactose-free alternative.
To create the substitute, add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk. Stir the mixture and let it stand for a few minutes. The acid will cause the soy milk to curdle slightly, giving it a texture and tartness closer to that of buttermilk.
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice or vinegar
- 220 mL Soy Milk
- Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup. Add soy milk to the 1-cup line (240 mL).
- This recipe makes 1 cup (240 mL) of buttermilk substitute
Alternately, you can use 1 3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) of cream of tartar for the acid.
The acidic mixture will perform a similar chemical reaction as buttermilk when mixed with baking soda, helping to leaven and add volume to pancakes, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
The natural acidity helps to break down gluten, resulting in a tender crumb.
The fat content in soy milk is typically lower than that in buttermilk, which could affect the richness and mouthfeel of your recipe.
However, soy milk has a protein content similar to cow’s milk, which can help in maintaining the structure of baked items.
Since soy milk lacks the distinct buttery flavor of buttermilk, there might be a subtle difference in taste, which is generally negligible in most recipes.
Additionally, when using this substitute in savory recipes, the soy flavor is usually mild enough not to overpower other ingredients.
This substitute works best in recipes where buttermilk’s role is for acidification rather than for its flavor profile. Remember to use unsweetened soy milk to avoid adding any unwanted sweetness to your dish.