Yes, at $5.99 per quart, it’s twice as expensive as other brands of buttermilk.
Let’s face it: Modern buttermilk is a paltry thing, pale and without body. Pour it into a glass and it barely makes streaks on the side, which is an image forever associated with buttermilk of the last century.
But what is buttermilk, anyway? Traditionally, it was the liquid left after the butter was churned from cream, so it should maybe be callled “un-buttermilk.” But the original product often had flecks of butter floating in it, and hence the name.
Modern buttermilk is made by adding bacteria cultures to skim milk, from which nearly all the fat has been removed. This may be good for dairymen (they can sell all the butterfat they remove) and the diet-conscious, but it makes the product suck for baking, dressing making, and most other culinary uses. Try to make buttermilk pancakes with this stuff, and they turn out thin and badly risen.
Enter Sky Top Dairies, an organic outfit anomalously located in the Bronx. (Presumably, the cows are not pastured there.) Their quart of buttermilk is still classified as skim milk, but all the butterfat has been left on top and the product is not homogenized. The fat content thus tops out at 8 percent, rather than the 1.25 percent or 1.5 percent of most product on the shelves.
There’s a thick pad of cultured cream on the top. If you thoroughly mix the contents of the bottle, you’ve got the richest, most flavorful buttermilk imaginable. Suitable for making a chive-buttermilk dressing with little added mayo, and baking the best biscuits or waffles you’ve ever tasted.
Find it at:
1240 Sixth Avenue
There’s a thick plug of cultured cream at the top.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 18, 2012