What are the benefits of cultured buttermilk
What is the benefit of using buttermilk in baking?
In the past, milk would build up in the jug until there was enough to make butter. The milk would ferment naturally. Both the butter and the watery buttermilk took on the sour, fermented taste.
Modern buttermilk is different. It is low-fat milk that has been cultured and fermented. It's thicker and creamier, but has a similar sour taste. (I was told I had never tried historically fermented buttermilk.)
Therefore, historical recipes will not be the same as modern recipes that require buttermilk.
The "buttermilk" left in your homemade butter would not be fermented and would not be similar to ancient or modern buttermilk. It has a good amount of sugar and protein and of course water that would affect your recipe.
In modern recipes, buttermilk is used to lower the pH, add a tangy flavor, and a creamier texture than milk. The fat added is usually not a factor. Creamy buttermilk can be made with skimmed milk.
As dlb pointed out in a comment, the creaminess and acidity allow chemically risen baked goods with the same liquid and fat content as regular milk to become fluffier.
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