Oh the agony of it all.
I recently received my first delivery from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative system and now I have to think about how to use my food! In my mind the first thing I knew I had to investigate was the Buttermilk from Wagon Creek Creamery. I wanted to know if I could bake with it, and how the product would act in a recipe. My solution? Have a Buttermilk Biscuit Throwdown and ask my family to judge the results.
Here is the description from their listing on the Coop website:
Our buttermilk is the direct byproduct of our buttermaking process. This buttermilk is not cultured (so it isn’t as thick nor as sour as what you purchase at the supermarket.) We freeze it to keep it fresh. Just thaw and use in your favorite biscuit, pancake, fried chicken, etc. recipes! Packaged in a sealed 8 oz. container. Because it is a by product of the butter making process, it may contain a little salt. Ingredients: buttermilk, salt.
Although I have always been fine using Braum’s Buttermilk, a small voice inside my head said, “Do it. Order the buttermilk and see what it’s like.” So I did. I comes frozen in a plastic pouch. I set it in my refrigerator on ordering day and noticed the defrosting time was about 48 hours. This product sells for $1.99, so it’s clearly more expensive than the Braum’s counterpart.
Let’s look at the Braum’s product. Here is the description of their half-gallon from their website:
Braum’s Grade A Pasteurized Buttermilk is real old fashioned buttermilk! Made with low fat milk fresh from our dairy herd on the Braum Family Farm…you can’t get any fresher than that! Great by the glass or use it as an ingredient in your favorite recipe!
Now for the ingredients: Cultured Grade ‘A’ low fat milk, stabilizer blend (modified tapioca starch, carrageenan, locust bean gum), gelatin, salt. I’ll refrain from my commentary fighting to erupt out of my fingers right now. Braum’s Buttermilk sells for $1.49 per half-gallon. There are 64oz in a half-gallon. What the price differential means is that if Wagon Creek Creamery were selling its Buttermilk by the half-gallon, it would cost $16.00 for the same size container. Now it’s time for YOU to refrain from commentary that might be erupting from your head at this point. Lets both refrain, and see how this biscuit bake-off goes, shall we?
I chose the most reviewed and heralded Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe on the internet. The ingredients sounded a great deal like the biscuits I had when served tea in England, so I didn’t look further. I figured 331 reviewers couldn’t go wrong. Then I waited on a night until I had four judges in the house – Mick, Rylee, Tyler and me. I received zero complaints when I asked them to participate. The next few photos are just a glimpse into some of the bake-off process:
Okay, let’s talk for a moment. I assembled our judges into the room and they immediately began assessing with their eyes, reaching for the Braum’s biscuits first. Why? Because they were taller and baked out about 10% wider. The Wagon Creek biscuits were a little flatter, and stayed a bit more uniform. After I stopped the judges from diving in, we cut up choice A & B while they were still hot and steamy and they began to eat. Then they tried a bit more. Then they went back and forth and began to articulate their conclusions:
1) The Braum’s biscuits were a little softer and slightly more fluffy. Rylee and Mick liked them best.
2) The Wagon Creek biscuits were a little mealier with a slight crispy crust on the top. Tyler and I liked them best. Oh no – the results were a tie….
3) The REASON the biscuits baked off like they did was because the Braum’s product was much thicker and may have reacted with the baking power and salt a bit differently. The Wagon Creek buttermilk was almost the same consistency as regular milk, so it created a different, more battery product all-together.
In the end, the group couldn’t differentiate anything between the “tastes,” but agreed that the texture was definitely different. They also agreed they would eat and would enjoy either biscuit. I decided that my next batch, if made with Wagon Creek buttermilk, would include about 15% less liquid. I hate that there was no winner, but I’m just giving you the facts – that’s what I’m here for I suppose.
The summary is, you can access an organic product with no weird stuff and make good biscuits that are still affordable, OR you can use Braum’s buttermilk with some weird stuff in it and make good biscuits that are a little less expensive in the long run. It’s up to you.
Now, these photos have been sort of – well, brown. So I thought I would leave you with a bit more color before I signed off for this week’s post. My first set of photos come with a confession. I haven’t been raising cauliflower. I’ve been raising cabbage. I found this out when I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to see what my head of cauliflower looked like so I cut it and began to peel. And peel. And peel.
Then I began to smell cabbage. My first thought was, “Wow, cauliflower smells so much like cabbage!” Then my second thought was, “Oh….”
Evidently I purchased cabbage seedlings instead of cauliflower seedlings in February. I must admit, they ARE quite beautiful cabbages. Well, the remaining five are beautiful. The one I practically destroyed is now in my refrigerator. Tonight, I think I’ll steam it and throw a few bacon crumbles in there. Maybe a touch of vinegar, maybe not. I’m getting hungry just thinking about steamed cabbage. And I’m not really sad that it wasn’t cauliflower. Just a little embarrassed.
The next photos are the last of my broccoli, and then the finishing touches on our garden extension. I may throw in a few updates of how things are growing too. I can’t wait to plant my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant this week!
What’s in YOUR garden?