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Question: When recipes call for small amounts of buttermilk in baking, what can I use if I don’t have any on hand?

Answer: It’s easy to make a substitution for buttermilk, so don’t let that hold you back. Just stir together 1/2 cup whole milk with either 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon cream of tartar. If you use low-fat milk, vinegar or lemon juice are the best choices. Let stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes, until it thickens and curdles. Whisk before using.

The other choice is to buy powdered buttermilk (usually stocked in the baking aisle, with powdered and evaporated milks). According to the directions on the can, mix the powder with the dry ingredients in the recipe, then add water where the recipe says to add buttermilk.

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