Investigation in my Cook’s Illustrated (Sept/Oct 2004 p.30) taught me that buttermilk does not like being heated above 90 degrees. CI recommends leaving it on the counter to reach room temperature or microwaving on 30-40 seconds at 30% power stirring once or twice. These were good tips but didn’t tell my WHY the buttermilk curdled, so I continued my research.
Despite the word “butter” in its name, buttermilk is nearly fat free (less than 1% milkfat). The name came from the fact that all of the cream used to make butter had been removed.
AND!! I was very excited this morning to find a source for REAL buttermilk. The good people at Bergey’s Breadbasket in Chesapeake get it in regularly and will set some aside for me next week! (PS – they make AWESOME baked goods – cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, pies, biscuits – as well as growing their own produce available for sale) Check them out!