The first time I made buttermilk was when I made burro fatto in casa. That was "true" buttermilk, so to speak, the byproduct of butter-making. The buttermilk available in the stores is labeled "cultured," because it is made by culturing milk.
The second time, I made buttermilk with some ready-to-use (a.k.a., direct set) buttermilk culture. I let the cultured milk rest for the specified amount of time, after which, to my dismay, I noticed no difference in its consistency. Perso per perso (having nothing to lose — perso means lost), I decided to let the milk sit for a while longer and, to my surprise, about an hour later, I found my cultured buttermilk ready. I divided it into two two-cup containers, and stored one in the fridge (to be used it within a few days) and one in the freezer.
For my third try, I followed a recipe in The Home Creamery, by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley, which uses six tablespoons of store-bought cultured buttermilk added to two cups of warmed up non-fat milk (latte scremato) to make a batch of buttermilk. Once again, the specified amount of waiting time (12 hours) was not enough to bring the anticipated changes. Based on my previous experience, I decided to wait a little longer and, once again, my patience was rewarded. I tried to take a photo, but I was not really inspired by the immaculate whiteness of my buttermilk, so I gave up.
The Home Creamery book has a couple of recipes for cheese that uses buttermilk as main ingredient. I am planning to try them both, but in the meantime, I decided to use my fresh homemade latticello to make Blueberry and Buttermilk Sherbet, a delicious recipe from Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir. This purple sherbet has been a favorite of my husband and of our friends for years. One thing I do differently from the original recipe is that I use less sugar syrup than called for: I bring to boiling temperature half a cup of water and add to it half a cup plus two tablespoons of white granulated sugar (or 125 g of unrefined sugar), mixing it until dissolved. I use all of the resulting syrup to make one batch of sherbet. Once again, the sherbet was a hit with both adult and younger guests.
Since wine is outside my field of expertise, I am soliciting suggestions for a wine that would go well with my sherbet: blueberries (mirtilli) are preeminent in providing flavor to it, sugar (zucchero) supplies sweetness and buttermilk brings tang.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the latticello fatto in casa audio file [mp3].