Showing posts with label Karnemelksepap (Dutch Buttermilk Porridge). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karnemelksepap (Dutch Buttermilk Porridge). Show all posts


It is probably not surprising to read that the Dutch dairy industry is in the top five of the world's largest exporters, generating close to 7.5 billion euros a year. Up to sixty five percent of its dairy is sent outside of the country borders, with cheese and powdered milk being the main product. And the 35% that stays in the country is divided up in cheese, milk, butter, vla, yogurt, and buttermilk. Our most famous product is cheese, of course, and our most unique one our vlas. And it's still not uncommon to see people drinking a glass of karnemelk, buttermilk, with their bread lunch, or as a refreshing and rehydrating choice on a hot summer day. 

But buttermilk is not to everyone's liking, with its sour taste and thick consistency. Whereas milk, vla, and yoghurt have advanced and are now available in many flavors and with added benefits such as extra calcium, vitamin D, or probiotics, karnemelk has pretty much stayed the same - and is slowly losing market share to all the new fancy flavors. Which is unfortunate, really, because buttermilk doesn't need any additions: it contains all the essential amino acids for the body, as well as calcium, vitamin B6 and B12, and generally contains less lactose than regular milk. Karnemelk also contains less fat than milk, and is beneficial for your intestinal system. 

Besides a beverage, karnemelk is also used for various desserts, like this delicious karnemelkpudding. It is also the main ingredient for this old-fashioned but very versatile dish: karnemelksepap, or buttermilk porridge. A slightly sour porridge, thickened with flour, and sweetened with a little bit of sugar, honey or syrup, the porridge is a blank enough canvas to adjust it to your own liking. It can be eaten hot for breakfast or lunch, and hot or cold as dessert. One combination that is popular with the farming community in the North is the so-called "zoepenbrij", where buttermilk is often mixed with whole grains, like cooked barley, or oats. In that case, omit the flour, as the grains will thicken the porridge. 

The key to making this dish is to keep a close eye on the buttermilk and not let it boil too high, as the buttermilk will curdle. Constant stirring will help. 

4 cups (1 liter) buttermilk
1/2 cup (75 grams) regular flour
Pinch of salt
Sweetener to taste (brown sugar, honey....)
Nuts, berries.....

In a small bowl, mix the flour with enough buttermilk to make a pourable, thick batter. Heat the rest of the buttermilk in a thick bottomed pan at medium low heat, stirring frequently. Don't let the milk come to a high boil, just an occasional bubble that breaks the surface. Stir in the flour mix and keep stirring until it's absorbed. Add the pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium high, and continue to stir until the porridge thickens, and more bubbles come to the surface, for a few minutes. Any time you see a light yellow, watery streak in the porridge, it may mean that it's about to curdle, so pull the pan from the heat and continue to stir. 

When the porridge has thickened, pour into bowls. Top with sugar or honey, and add a handful of nuts and frozen berries, or seeds.