Dairy Products

Buttermilk Review with Martha Stewart

Watch this video interview and learn more about Buttermilk

What’s buttermilk’s backstory?

  • Buttermilk has been around for thousands of years and was once considered a cure for all ills.
  • Traditional buttermilk comes from the thin, acidic liquid left over after churning butter from cream.
  • Cultured buttermilk is what we find in supermarkets today. It’s typically made from adding active cultures to pasteurized nonfat or low-fat milk. We make ours from whole milk.

Country-specific notes:

  • In Poland, buttermilk is a very popular and refreshing drink.
  • In Ireland, buttermilk is sold in every village shop because it’s an essential ingredient for making soda bread.
  • In the 19th century, Irish farmers considered buttermilk the best drink for energy, to quench a thirst and to cure a hangover. Young girls washed their faces in it to improve their complexions, and their mothers and grandmothers used it to make bread.
  • Bulgarian buttermilk is a version of cultured buttermilk in which the cream cultures are supplemented or replaced by yogurt cultures and fermented at higher temperatures for higher acidity. It can be more tart and thicker than cultured buttermilk.

How do you make your buttermilk?

  • We start with fresh and creamy local whole milk, distinctive for its 3-4% butterfat content.
  • We then add four live, active cultures.
  • Once the cultures are added, it’s heated for a number of hours to reach the right pH level.
  • The active cultures break down the lactose sugars in the milk to produce lactic acid; this makes the milk more acidic and gives the buttermilk its characteristic thick consistency and tart flavor.
  • After the buttermilk is bottled, it needs to sit for another 24 hours so it doesn’t “break,” meaning separate and lose its thickness.  

Further background on our process:

  • We can’t use our buttermilk or yogurts as “mother” cultures to create other buttermilk or yogurts from milk because that’s not permitted in our Grade A dairy plant. 
  • All of our cultures come from certified culture suppliers.

What makes good buttermilk?

  • To me, the best buttermilk is rich, light and tart, drinkable but tangy with a smooth texture.
  • The whole milk we use to make our buttermilk, with a higher fat content than standard milk, adds complexity and gives it a hint of sweetness in the background that keeps it from tasting too sour.

How does buttermilk affect a recipe when baking? What are the characteristics of buttermilk that make it great for baking? How does buttermilk enhance a baking recipe? 

Can you always replace milk with buttermilk? How does the replacement ratio work?

  • Buttermilk is an excellent partner for baking soda and baking powder because its acid boosts the action of these leavening agents.
  • Buttermilk makes fluffy pancakes, scones, and biscuits. It makes more tender cakes because it softens the gluten in the flour.
  • It’s also a great emulsifier and thickener.
  • We don’t recommend substituting regular milk for buttermilk because it throws off the alkali-acid balance. The acidity of buttermilk, which regular milk lacks, is a requirement for the leavening process important to these recipes.
  • To make your own buttermilk at home, add 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice to 8 fl. oz. fresh whole milk and stir. The milk will thicken within minutes. 

How did you become an expert on buttermilk? 

  • I’ve spent many years thinking about milk, what makes the best milk and what goes into making great tasting cultured dairy products.
  • We’ve tasted a lot of different buttermilks created using different ingredients and techniques.
  • As we set out to develop our buttermilk, we had a clear idea about what buttermilk should taste like, what it should feel like in your mouth and what people would like.
  • We’re fortunate to work with a processing partner with expertise on cultures, and together we did extensive recipe testing.

What is the most important thing to know when it comes to buttermilk? 

  • For baking, buttermilk is a great worker bee and plays well with other ingredients.
  • It’s not usually the star of the show – unless you drink it straight!

Other Things to Know:

  • Buttermilk is naturally loaded with calcium, riboflavin, potassium and vitamin B12.
  • Making butter at home from fresh cream (either by shaking the cream in a jar by hand or by using a mixer with a whisk attachment until a ball of butter is formed) will give you a traditional supply of buttermilk. Keep buttermilk up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or freeze it up to 3 months.

30-Second Tips:

Glass of buttermilk with:

  • Pinch of raw sugar
  • Drizzle of maple syrup on top
  • Pinch of Maldon Salt with fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Recipes:

SWEEET… HONEY KEFIR WINS GOLD!

Award winning kefir - Sofi Award

We’re thrilled that our Local Honey Kefir has been awarded the 2017 SPECIALTY FOOD ASSOCIATION GOLD SOFI AWARD, an honor recognizing its taste and quality. To make our kefir, we work closely with our partners at SUNRISE FAMILY FARMS, who share our focus on turning out great-tasting dairy products by using pure ingredients and keeping it simple. We start with the best local whole milk from cows cared for by outstanding local farmers and add 12 carefully selected live cultures. We then create this kefir’s delicate flavor by adding just the right amount of local honey from bees kept seven miles from the dairy, which pollinate orchards on the neighboring farms. Our kefir is pasteurized and homogenized, and we never use any artificial sweeteners, additives, thickeners, gums or stabilizers.

Like all FIVE ACRE FARMS products, our Local Kefir is sourced and produced within 275 miles and sold in retail locations and top restaurants throughout New York City and the Tri-State Region. We sell Milk, Buttermilk, Half & Half, Heavy Cream, Greek and Regular Yogurts, Cage Free Eggs, and seasonal Apple Cider. Each package specifies the farm where that batch of the product was made.

FIVE ACRE FARMS brings the best-tasting local food to grocery stores, restaurants and food shops. We find outstanding farmers using sustainable practices, pay them fairly and tell their stories. Our business helps to create new jobs, promote the local economy, expand access to local food, safeguard the environment, preserve farmland, protect groundwater, and foster proper animal treatment. We call this being “Positively Local®”. To us, that means knowing exactly where our food comes from. It means growing the region’s economy and actively participating in the community. It means restoring the connection between farmer and customer.

Five Acre Farms Map

Ag IN YOUR BAG: LOCAL LOVES THE RESILIENT HONEYBEE

Ag IN YOUR BAG

LOCAL LOVES THE RESILIENT HONEYBEE

Honeybee pollenating flower
Honeybees are heroes. They’re the only insects that produce food for humans. Honeybees—distinct from bees native to the U.S.—came from Europe in the early 1600s. Prized initially for their sweet honey, in time, they became known for pollinating crops. With their social structure, honeybees are easy for farmers to manage, moving colonies around from field to field to support their agricultural needs.

Many Central California farmers rely heavily on honeybees to pollinate crops because there are few remaining habitats for native bees. In the Northeast, however, fields and orchards are often surrounded by plants, so native bees have plenty to eat and pollinate crops as they buzz from hedgerow to hedgerow. In a 2009 study of 11 apple farms in New York State, researchers counted 81 species of native bees.

Still, many larger farms rely on honeybees. So it was alarming when, about a decade ago, beekeepers began reporting disappearing honeybee hives. Previous plagues had left dead bees, but this time the worker bees abandoned the queen and her brood. Even when a colony is left with reserves of honey, it quickly dies off without worker bees. This phenomenon became known as colony collapse disorder or CCD.

In 2008, two years after CCD was discovered, the number of honeybee colonies hit its lowest point at 2.4 million. Happily, a queen bee lays 1500 to 2000 eggs a day, making honeybees one of the most resilient species on earth. With about 2.7 million colonies in the U.S. today, honey bees are making a slow comeback, though the causes of CCD remain unclear. Scientists continue to study a variety of factors including the interplay of pesticides, mites, and other pests.

So exactly how much effort goes into making honey? Worker bees must fly 55,000 miles and visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey, and the average colony makes 60 to 100 pounds a year. No wonder they’re called worker bees.

This small but mighty creature plays such a crucial role in our food system…and in making our Local Honey Yogurt and Local Honey Kefir so delicious.

From the KITCHEN: SUMMER VEGETABLE SALAD WITH LENTILS AND FIVE ACRE FARMS HONEY KEFIR

From the KITCHEN:

SUMMER VEGETABLE SALAD WITH LENTILS AND FIVE ACRE FARMS HONEY KEFIR

Vegetable Salad with Lentils and Honey

This recipe is more about the idea and less about which specific vegetables, lettuces or edible flowers you decide to use. It combines varying textures from the vegetables; smooth, refined and delicate sweet richness from the kefir; a wonderful balance of subtle heat from the jalapeno pepper; flavorful greens and strong meatiness from the lentils. I add a wonderful extra virgin olive oil and enough acid and salt to properly season all of this. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 pint of summer tomatoes, assorted sizes and colors
• 1 pint of summer tomatoes, assorted sizes and colors
• ¼ cup beluga lentils, raw
• ½ cup Five Acre Farms Local Honey Kefir
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
• ½ tsp kosher salt or fleur de sel
• 1 cup sliced cucumber

• 2 tbsp fresh marigold flower petals
• 1 jalapeno pepper (12 thin (1/16”) slices of jalapeno pepper, seeds included)
• 1 radish
• 6 asparagus stalks
• 8 green beans
• 1 cup of assorted local greens, whichever you desire (pea shoots, spinach, small basil leaves and celery leaves)

1. To cook lentils, simmer them in 2 cups of water with 1 tbsp salt until just cooked through and drain and cool. Set aside.

1. To cook lentils, simmer them in 2 cups of water with 1 tbsp salt until just cooked through and drain and cool. Set aside.

2. Wash all vegetables and cut them into desired shapes. Not all things should or need to be cut equally. Both larger and smaller chunks of tomatoes are nice to have.

3. Shave the radishes and jalapeno peppers thin enough (1/16”).

4. Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water for 15 seconds. Allow to cool before cutting into two-inch pieces.

5. Wash and dry greens with absorbent towels.

6. Drizzle a copious amount of honey kefir on your individual plates or serving platter. Separately, in a mixing bowl, add all of your greens, veggies, salt, half of the vinegar and half of the olive oil and carefully mix to incorporate and taste. Adjust the seasoning if you think it needs more of anything. In a separate bowl, add additional seasoning of oil, salt and vinegar to the lentils.

7. Carefully (or less carefully) assemble your dish to your desired effect.

8. Add on the marigold flowers last because they are incredibly delicate.

John Karangis, Chef
JOHN KARANGIS — Executive Chef, Union Square Events

Early in his career while studying Fine Dining Management, John recognized his passion for cooking and was accepted as a culinary student under Chef Andre Daguin and Chef Yves Pinard in Paris. Upon returning to the United States, John landed a job in the kitchen at UNION SQUARE CAFE under Chef Michael Romano, where he cooked for three years. From there, he worked in some of the most acclaimed kitchens on the West Coast and in New York, including GRAMERCY TAVERN and SQUARE ONE in San Francisco. He then accepted the role of Executive Chef at RESTAURANT ASSOCIATES, and later at GOLDMAN SACHS, delivering world class dining and hospitality to an elite clientele. Returning to the culinary roots where his career began, today John brings his passion for excellence and hospitality to the UNION SQUARE EVENTS team.

KEFIR GOES LOCAL!

Five Acre Farms

KEFIR GOES LOCAL!

Local Maple KefirKEFIR, first created more than 2,000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains of Eastern Europe, is a cultured milk drink that tastes like yogurt and has the consistency of a smoothie.

Our smooth, creamy LOCAL KEFIR is packed with healthy probiotics and comes in plain, maple and honey flavors. To make it, we start with the best local whole milk from cows cared for by outstanding local farmers and add 12 carefully selected live cultures. For our LOCAL MAPLE KEFIR, a 2016 SOFI AWARD FINALIST, we mix in just the right amount of pure local maple syrup, tapped from our farmers’ old stand trees, for a delicate maple flavor. Our kefir is pasteurized and homogenized, and we never use any artificial sweeteners, additives, thickeners, gums or stabilizers.

Like all FIVE ACRE FARMS products, our LOCAL KEFIR is sourced and produced within 275 miles and sold in retail locations and top restaurants throughout New York City and the Tri-State Region. We sell Milk, Half & Half, Heavy Cream, Buttermilk, Greek and Regular Yogurts, Cage Free Eggs, and seasonal Apple Cider. Each package specifies the farm where that batch of the product was made.

FIVE ACRE FARMS brings the best-tasting local food to grocery stores, restaurants and food shops. We find outstanding farmers using sustainable practices, pay them fairly and tell their stories. Our business helps to create new jobs, promote the local economy, expand access to local food, safeguard the environment, preserve farmland, protect groundwater, and foster proper animal treatment. We call this being “Positively Local®”. To us, that means knowing exactly where our food comes from. It means growing the region’s economy and actively participating in the community. It means restoring the connection between farmer and customer.

Five Acre Farms Map

INSIDE THE DAIRY CASE: Butterfat & Whole Milk

Five Acre Farms
Five Acre Farms Milk on the shelf
Is your whole milk really whole milk?
Milk composition, including fat, varies by breed
Butterfat greatly impacts how dairy tastes

Are you ever confused by all of the different types of milk in the dairy case? Whole, 2%, 1%, 0%, reduced, skim, fat free. What does it all mean?

Milk is one of our most nutrient-dense foods—with calcium, protein, vitamins A & D, to name a few of its superpowers. The amount of butterfat (cream) in cow’s milk varies by breed. The iconic black and white Holstein produces milk with up to 4% fat while Jerseys—the ones with brown coats—produce richer-tasting milk with about 5% fat. Brown Swiss and Guernsey cows make milk that’s somewhere in between.

But here’s the big milk curveball: Federal guidelines dictate the percentage of butterfat for each milk category. Since butterfat is very valuable, large milk processors want the federal “whole” percentage to be as low as possible. What you need to know, as a shopper, is that milk can still be labeled as “whole” even if some of the fat has been removed. That doesn’t sound like “whole” milk to us.

At FIVE ACRE FARMS, we look for cows whose milk is naturally high in butterfat. We don’t adjust the fat content in our whole milk (a process called “standardization”), and we think that’s something you can taste. No wonder our whole milk—simply what comes out of the cow—is so popular. Taste the difference it makes in our yogurt, kefir and buttermilk—all made using our whole milk.

Drop us a line and tell us your favorite variety and where you buy our milk, and we’ll send you FIVE ACRE FARMS swag to show our thanks.

WHAT IS FIVE ACRE FARMS?

Five Acre Farms Map

FIVE ACRE FARMS brings the best-tasting local food to grocery stores, restaurants and food shops. We find outstanding farmers using sustainable practices, pay them fairly and tell their stories. Our business helps to create new jobs and promote the local economy, expand access to local food, safeguard the environment, preserve farmland, protect groundwater and foster proper animal treatment. We call this being Positively Local®.

Our Products

Sourced and produced within 275 miles, our products are sold in retail locations and top restaurants throughout New York City and the Tri-State Region. We sell Milk, Half & Half, Heavy Cream, Buttermilk, Kefir, Greek and Regular Yogurts, Cage Free Eggs, Apple Juice and seasonal Apple Cider. Each package specifies the farm where that batch of the product was made.

To Be Positively Local, we:

KEEP FARMERS FARMING
We pay our farmers fairly—and directly —a price that’s above the market rate and reflects what it costs them to make high-quality food, hire and treat people properly, take care of their animals and protect the environment.

IMPROVE ACCESS TO LOCAL
We bring the best local food to grocery stores and price our products so as many people as possible can buy fresh, quality local products.

CONNECT YOU AND YOUR FARMER
At FIVE ACRE FARMS, we tag all of our products, so you know exactly where your food comes from and can be sure that the farmers who made it adhere to sustainable practices. We vet them so you don’t have to.

PROMOTE LOCAL ECONOMIES
We create jobs across the region by partnering with local farmers and processors and doing business with local vendors.

IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Our farmers have higher standards when it comes to our founding principles of protecting groundwater, replenishing soils and conserving energy.

PRESERVE FARMLAND
Through our work with farmers, we are supporting more than 5,000 acres of farmland in New York, Massachusetts. Connecticut, and Vermont.

What’s With The Name?

It’s been more than 20 years since Dan first had the idea that became FIVE ACRE FARMS. At the time, he was running WALDINGFIELD FARM, the organic produce farm he founded in Washington, Connecticut in 1990. Back then, Dan envisioned a company that would own or franchise a number of five-acre farms along the East Coast, working closely with farmers to market the food they produced. (Why Five? You can produce a huge amount of food and operate a viable business on just five acres of land.) Dan’s original business plan became part of his application to business school, but that was not the end of it. Over the years, while getting an MBA and then working in the grocery business and restaurant management in New York City, Dan continued to refine his concept. He ultimately concluded that FIVE ACRE FARMS could make local food available to more American consumers, and in doing so support a greater number of responsible farmers, by partnering with, rather than owning, farms.