Nothing seems more wholesome than a stack of buttermilk pancakes dripping with real maple syrup. The purpose of buttermilk is to add an airiness to baked goods, which is why you adore your fluffy stack of flapjacks so much. The acidity in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda and just like your middle school volcano science experiment, that fizziness leaves your recipes moist, tender, and light.
Not to ruin your morning, but a cup of buttermilk adds 152 calories, 4.7 grams of saturated fat, and 27 milligrams of cholesterol for each cup you use. Save on calories and fat by making a healthier alternative with two things you probably already have in your kitchen: milk and good ol' apple cider vinegar. For every one cup of buttermilk, use just under one cup of milk — soy and almond work really well — and one tablespoon of ACV. Whisk the two together in a bowl and let stand five or so minutes to thicken slightly and form small curdles (note that it won't be as thick as buttermilk but will still do the job). Don't worry. The sourness of the vinegar gets canceled out during the reaction with the baking soda.
If you use unsweetened soy milk, you're looking at a total of 87 calories, .5 grams of saturated fat, and 0 milligrams of choleserol. So this is a great way to cut calories in your pancakes and baked goods and also makes a great alternative if you're avoiding dairy. This recipe for Starbucks-inspired vegan iced lemon pound cake uses this little buttermilk hack, and you can see from the photo that it looks amazing — just wait till you taste it!