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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > Best Of Hobby Farms 2019 > RIPE with CULTURE

RIPE with CULTURE

When life gives you lemons, add milk for delicious, refreshing farm-based breads, marinades and more.
STEPHANIE STATON

Dreaming of crispy waffles and rich, dark coffee as I slowly stir from a restful sleep can only mean one thing: It’s going to be a buttermilk morning! Just the word “buttermilk” brings back memories of home on the farm, warm cozy afternoons with buttermilk scones and tea in front of the fire, crispy fried chicken for Sunday supper, luscious cakes made for neighbors dropping in to chat over coffee, or a relaxing soak in a buttermilk-and-honey bath.

Buttermilk’s roots can be traced to when people started domesticating dairy animals. It’s been a staple of farm life as long as butter. At the beginning of the 20th century, drinking buttermilk became a health craze after a Russian biologist, Elie Metchnikoff, claimed people in the Balkans were living longer from drinking buttermilk. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg even served “Bulgarian buttermilk” in his health clinic in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The mechanization of the milking process and spread of refrigeration technologies all but eliminated the need to make butter at home. As a result, traditional buttermilk became scarce, and the dairy industry started making cultured buttermilk to supply the demand for the healthy beverage. It was the thing to drink for health, longevity and dieting from the 1920s through the ‘60s, when it hit its peak production. Soon thereafter, it lost its star status, being upstaged by yogurt, another fermented milk product.

BUTTERMILK NO-KNEAD WHEAT BREAD

AMY RENEA

YIELD: 1 small loaf

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup whole-wheat flour

• 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 t. for dusting dough

• 1 t. honey

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1⁄2 tsp. dry yeast

• 3⁄4 to 1 cup buttermilk

PREPARATION

In a bowl, mix together flours, honey, salt and yeast. add enough buttermilk to make dough soft. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Let sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

Wet your hands to prevent sticking, and turn dough into itself to form ball, gently lifting edges and pushing into center until tight “skin” forms on surface of smooth ball. Dust ball heavily with flour, and place back in bowl to rest for 1 to 2 hours.

Place 3⁄2- to 2-quart, heavy-lidded pot in oven and heat at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. (Cast iron or soapstone work great.) Remove pot and lid from oven; place dough gently in bottom, cover with hot lid, and return to oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove lid and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until toasty brown. Remove bread from pot and cool completely on rack before cutting.

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