The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

buttermilk or yogurt to bring a tang to bread

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

buttermilk or yogurt to bring a tang to bread

just looking for peoples opinion. I recently made an oat and wheat bread - using instant yeast - but would like to add a sharpness to it. I am currently fermenting rolled oats so that should bring a sour complex note to the bread but i was going to do a bit of tinkering with the liquid. The recipe calls for equal parts water and milk but i was thinking of:

1. replacing the water with whey (which i have leftover from making yogurt)

2. replacing the milk with buttermilk

3. replacing half the water with yogurt

however im not sure what any of these changes will do....

Im basically in two minds.

As an Irishman i thought it would be fun to use buttermilk as a nod to our famous soda bread but i also make yogurt so im tempted to use that....however im not sure how the fermented oats will react to the addition of more yogurt as ive used whey as a starter to get them fermenting .....  

theres also honey and a little butter in this recipe so i have a sweet counterpoint to the twang im looking for and i have the butter to give the bead a lovely soft tender crumb. I dont want to use my starter to make this bread as im looking to develop different techniques so any help or advice would be much appreciated

pmccool's picture
pmccool

All of them will contribute additional protein to the bread, compared to the water that they replace. 

The whey and the buttermilk (assuming that it is the residual liquid from making butter instead of the cultured milk sold here in the States) can replace the water one-for-one, usually.  The yogurt will not add quite as much liquid as either the whey or buttermilk, so you'll need to adjust the amount of liquid used.  I suppose you could state it as 1/2 water + 1/2 yogurt + some additional water = desired hydration.

As to flavor, well, you'll just have to experiment.  Buttermilk from cultured butter will taste different than buttermilk from sweet cream butter.  Yogurt whey and yogurt flavors will also vary, depending on which bacteria cultures were used for the yogurt.  My tastebuds would be happy with any of them but that's just me.

My impression is that some of the flavor compounds either change or evaporate during the baking process, leaving the flavors in the finished bread flavor more mellow than the constituent flavors would suggest.  I really do not enjoy blue cheese, for instance, but the blue cheese flavor is much less intense after baking in bread; to the extent that I like it. 

Paul

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

thanks Paul-  here in Ireland the buttermilk in the shops is pretty much like the states - its cultured - although alot of people are starting to make their own butter and so buttermilk, from butter, is now available in certain shops - as for the yogurt I make  - the culture I used to make it comes from a local yogurt maker and is delicious. I know i need to experiment and realise that everything is down to personal choices - I love blue cheese - but i guess im looking for someone to make up my mind for me...they all seem relatively similar when it comes to bread. 

Having said that the recipe calls for an equal amount of milk/water and im always of the view that using fewer ingredients is always better in cooking or baking as the palate can only discern a small number at any given time and too many ingredients end up muddying the flavours unless they are carefully used in the same way bricks are in a house - from the foundations up. I suppose what im saying is theres no point in using all four ingredients in one bread but all 4 are tempting...i hate being indecisive. However i think ill play on the buttermilk - especially as i live in Cork (on the south coast of ireland) where the first butter exchange was built. It worked like a stock market except it was used to trade butter in barrels called firkins. There was alot of money to be made in butter in those days. beef, butter and linen was taken from cork to the americas by the British and traded for sugar which sold for a fortune on the market here and in europe. And we all know how that turned out.     

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Otherwise, as you note, it will be difficult to know how each one tastes or what other effects it might have on the dough.  I forgot to mention that some sugars also come with each of those ingredients, which will lead to more browning of the crust than if the bread is made with water as the liquid. 

Buttermilk, since you have it available, is good starting point.  On your mark, get set, go!

Paul

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

buttermilk it is. Thanks Paul and have a good day

fupjack's picture
fupjack

Buttermilk will be more acidic than milk + water, too, so that may also have an effect on the bread taste and texture.  If you introduce any other ingredients like walnuts or olives or whatever, you will get even more changes.

I have always had pleasant surprises when adding buttermilk, so it's definitely worth doing.(most recently: buttermilk ice cream.  Excellent texture!)

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

buttermilk icecream sounds good...im looking for that bit of acid so thanks...think itll be a good counterpoint to honey and oats...