Why You Should Try Adding Buttermilk Powder To Vinaigrettes

Buttermilk is a great staple to keep in the kitchen. It adds tanginess and a tender crumb to classics like pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread. Like regular milk, buttermilk does have a limited life span once you open it, and we hate to pour half the bottle down the drain. The solution? Buttermilk powder. It's a dry, shelf-stable version of buttermilk that, according to The Kitchn, is made the same way as powdered milk: By removing all of the water until a fine, concentrated powder is left. Keep a can or pouch of buttermilk powder in the pantry and you'll never have to deal with the pressure of using up a whole bottle of the liquid stuff.

Besides using it in place of regular buttermilk in baked goods, buttermilk powder can be used in marinades, dressings, and dips, most commonly ranch flavored ones. But Lifehacker recently suggested another way we should be using this versatile and underused ingredient, and that's whisking it into vinaigrettes for our salads. 

Add creaminess without any cream

A vinaigrette is the simplest of salad dressings, but it can be flavored in hundreds of ways. This classic blend of oil and vinegar can involve different types of vinegar like apple cider or balsamic, chopped herbs, minced garlic, shallots, berries, citrus zest, mustard, and so much more. Vinaigrettes are easy to put together, and taste far better than store-bought versions. And according to Lifehacker, whisking in a little buttermilk powder transforms it into something new. 

Buttermilk powder rehydrates after being added to a vinaigrette, which makes the dressing creamier and more full-bodied. Epicurious says creamy dressings are normally created using ingredients like sour cream, mayonnaise, or eggs, but using just buttermilk powder will create that creamy texture without these extra ingredients. Buttermilk has a characteristic sourness that we love in baked goods, and this also comes through in vinaigrettes, providing a complex and different kind of tang than that of vinegar. 

Lifehacker says to make your vinaigrette as you normally would, then add the buttermilk powder a teaspoon at a time. Shake or whisk it in after each addition, then taste the dressing to see if it needs more. They particularly like it added to maple Dijon dressing. Buttermilk powder may not work with every dressing flavor, but herby blends are a good choice based on how well it works in ranch dressing. The Kitchn says buttermilk also pairs well with fruits like peaches and berries, which often find their way into salads.