How to Tell Buttermilk is Bad – The Best Way

How To

When you talk of milk that is specifically used for baking, buttermilk cannot be overlooked. Buttermilk is a product that is very rich in phosphorus, calcium, probiotics, and potassium. It is gotten from churned butter, precisely the liquid that runs-off after churning. Buttermilk is most commonly used for baking and it gives the items baked a slightly tangy taste.

Most of the time, buttermilk is left for a very long time inside the refrigerator because it is most times not used for anything else apart from baking. If situations when you’ve kept your buttermilk inside the fridge for a very long time, it will be a bit difficult to know whether or not it has become bad.

You can only know if your buttermilk has become bad in a several ways; from the date of expiration, the taste, the texture, and through the smell. If you feel it’s very far away from being normal, the buttermilk could be spoilt and should not be used for whatever you want to use it for.

It could however be a bit difficult for those that are not conversant with using buttermilk to discover whether it has become bad or not because its texture is a bit different from that of milk and it tends to have a more tangy smell. Discussed below is how you can detect if your buttermilk has become bad, why it could become bad, and the process of extending its life shelf.


The Signs that Buttermilk is off

You can detect through a few ways whether or not your buttermilk has spoilt, the signs below will help you by using many of senses:

  • Smell

It has a bit of tangier small when compared to milk or some other products of its type. Buttermilk’s smell becomes sourer when it starts to get spoilt. The sour smell could be a bit difficult to discover in particular but you will know straight away if the sour smell is really bad. Remember to take into consideration when you want to smell that buttermilk covered in a carton for a long time will smell stronger because the odor is yet to be exposed. The smell should not be sour; it should be buttery and tangy.

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  • Look

By looking or observing buttermilk, you could know whether or not it has become bad. There seems to be a bit of discoloration. You could have mold on some of them that have passed its expiration date. The mold could grow directly on its surface or over the lid which resulted from an increase in bacterial growth.  You are not advised to take any buttermilk that contains mold; it is advisable to throw it away immediately to prevent any kind of illness.


  • Texture

When you check or feel the texture of buttermilk, you could discover whether or not it has gone bad. The texture becomes thick and clumpy when it starts to become bad, it will also not be easy to pour as it will have large clots.  You cannot proceed to use this type of buttermilk because the lumpy texture shows that it has become very bad. You should however please note, buttermilk naturally has some small lumps that will not in any way interfere when you pour it. The small lumps naturally break up after mixing or whisking with some other ingredients.


  • Taste

In case you have tried some other options and you couldn’t detect whether or not your buttermilk is off, the next thing you could do is to taste it. The taste is normally slightly tangy, but once you detect a sour taste, it’s good to throw it away. When your buttermilk starts to get spoilt, you will also detect that its buttery taste which should be creaminess will disappear.


  • Expiration Date

This is the surest method to get to know if the buttermilk you have has spoilt or not. In case all other signs are not clear to you, simply check the date of expiration and you could detect whether or not to proceed to use it. If you have done all the listed above i.e. the texture, taste, and smell and nothing seems off, and the expiring date is also yet to be due, then the buttermilk should be okay for use. Do not use it even if it’s just a week over the date of expiration.

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Why Buttermilk Goes Bad

Buttermilk is a dairy product, just like other of its type, it gets spoilt because it continues to undergo fermentation and become a bit more acidic. It normally contains a high amount of lactic acid that helps to prevent the growth of bacteria, but it will not last forever as it can only last for several weeks. Immediately the bacteria start growing, the fermentation process takes place, thus, the more acidic it will be. You get that right? The buttermilk gets spoilt because of the growth of the bacteria. If your buttermilk has expired, it’s advisable not to drink it at all.


How Long Does Buttermilk Last?

Buttermilk usually has an expiration date and sell-by-date. You could still use the buttermilk after a week of the sell-by-date, it is however dependent on how it was stored as well as transport. The best thing to do is to finish using a whole bottle within one or two weeks of opening it because buttermilk degrades faster once you open the container. Note that it also depends on whether the buttermilk is well stored. Contamination with another product will make it spoil quickly. Another thing to take note of is that your buttermilk should be stored in the refrigerator whether or not it is opened. A tip you could have is that in case you want buttermilk that can last for a very long time which you would not need to store in a fridge, consider the powdered buttermilk, it also works perfectly. Anything moist, i.e. that contains little or high portion of water or other liquid gets spoilt quickly because water tends to aid the growth of bacteria.


How to Extend the Shelf Life of Buttermilk 

Keep your buttermilk in the refrigerator and do not allow it to be at room temperature. It is better not to open your buttermilk at all if you will not use it straight away, an unopened buttermilk carton lasts longer than the opened one. Another thing to note is that you should not drink the buttermilk straight from the bottle and also endeavor to keep your hands and fingers from the bottle’s lid when pouring your buttermilk because it could allow bacteria and make it spoil faster; this is good hygiene. Store the buttermilk in an airtight quality container that will not expose it to air; it will last longer this way.

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Another option you have is to allow your buttermilk to become frozen, but freezing generally alters the consistency of your buttermilk in that it allows it to clump and separate. The advice, therefore, is not to use buttermilk that has frozen for uncooked recipes or drinking. It however still contains the acidity content that will still make baked items rise when used for baking.

You can keep your buttermilk in the freezer for close to two months though the quality tends to rapidly deteriorate. You could use frozen buttermilk for meat tenderization where your meat is left in buttermilk to allow it to marinate for some hours or overnight.


Related Questions

Keeping Buttermilk Fresher For Longer

Keep your buttermilk in the fridge at all times within one or two weeks that you are supposed to use it. You can keep it in a freezer if you want the shelf life to be longer.


How can I make buttermilk using milk?

Buttermilk can be made from regular milk in case you need it but do not have. Follow these steps:

You can add lemon juice or white vinegar that has been distilled to your regular milk, leave to settle for about 10 minutes. The milk will thicken and you can use it as a substitute for buttermilk.


Is buttermilk supposed to be lumpy?

One of the features of buttermilk is its small clumps and lumps which you can stir away at the point of use. If you, however, detect that you cannot pour it, it’s advisable not to consider using it.


Can I use expired buttermilk?

You can use expired buttermilk after observing it and realizing that it doesn’t have an unpleasant strong smell or probably the presence of mold or maybe too thick when you want to pour. Recipes that you need to cook including pies, pancakes, and biscuits can have expired buttermilk added to it. In case you observe that the buttermilk is still fine despite being expired, you could go-ahead to freeze it for later use but do not refreeze it after.


What is powdered buttermilk?

This is another option in case you will not like the normal buttermilk because it could get spoilt every week if you do not store it properly. Powdered buttermilk could save you because you can keep it at room temperature because of its long life shelf. You can however not use your powdered buttermilk for drinking; it is mostly used when baking. The taste is also not as great as the normal buttermilk but if you do not want to waste your buttermilk, it is not so bad.

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