My Recipe Box
Test Kitchen

Got buttermilk?

By Melissa Pellegrino, contributing editor

June 4th, 2009

Yesterday we worked on a recipe for salad dressing which called for Bulgarian buttermilk.  None of us had heard of it before, so we sent out our test kitchen assistant in hopes that she’d return with a pint or two. No such luck.  This piqued my curiosity even more, and after a few moments on Google, I found  the California milk advisory board, where I found a rundown of the differences between regular buttermilk and Bulgarian.  Apparently, Bulgarian-style is thicker and tangier. Bulgarian buttermilk is to regular buttermilk as Greek yogurt is to regular yogurt.

It was actually not so surprising that this info came from California: the recipe's author also hails from California. So I'm curious—is this something that all you Californians see on a daily basis? Can you pick it up in your supermarket? And, more importantly, has anyone outside of California heard of, tasted or bought Bulgarian buttermilk, and if so, can you recommend where to get it in our neck of the woods (Connecticut)?

posted in: Blogs, buttermilk, Bulgarian buttermilk
Comments (16)

JudyMaloney writes: I have lived in Fort Worth, Texas for 8 years and am from Louisiana. I've drank buttermilk all my life. Specifically buttermilk poured over crumbled cornbread in a bowl. It's one of my favorite foods and I eat it too often. I discovered Bulgarian Buttermilk probably 10-15 years ago and now it's all I drink. Brookshires Grocery carries a Low Fat Buttermilk that is usually as good as any Bulgarian, but half the calories. This is important when you have as much as I do. Recently my Bulgarian and Brookshires brand low fat milk are watery instead of thick. I don't know why and am really upset about it. I'm trying to figure out how to thicken these when I buy them and find that they are watery. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate the info. Posted: 4:51 pm on November 4th

Mayordave07 writes: I live 65 miles from Portland Oregon and Darigold makes Bulgarian Buttermilk, and it is sold in the local Thriftway store. It is much creamier than the low-fat buttermilk and just a bit more tart. It uses a yogurt inoculation to create the culture and that is what makes it thicker. Bulgarian buttermilk is to low fat butter milk as Greek yogurt is to regular yogurt in my mind. If you want to make your own: You need live culture either from Bulgarian buttermilk or from plain yogurt. 8oz culture or starter put it in a one quart mason jar, fill with whole milk, put in warm place for 24 hours or so. When you put it in a glass it should coat the sides, and it should be clambered--chunky. It's great to drink also. Posted: 6:26 pm on January 10th

veronica_bug writes: I live in CA. One company in particular, Berkeley Farms, LLC, a dairy product company sold at my local market, (SAVEMART) as well as Smart & Final offers both styles of buttermilk.

I have fibromyalgia and suffer bouts of thrush and yeast infections. The difference as far as a probiotic aspect between the 2 styles of buttermilk cultures is bulgarian style has a better and higher amount of good bacteria. Bulgarian style is also a higher fat or a full fat buttermilk (around 3%) vs. cultured style (1 1/2% fat). Pancakes or any other recipe with buttermilk will be creamier and thicker with the bulgarian style due to the yogurt that is added to the watery style (cultured) during the culture process.

If you want your final product to be thick and you can't find the real bulgarian style, try to find powder buttermilk

Saco is not the only type of dry available. Posted: 2:00 pm on December 1st

tshores writes: Bulgarian buttermilk is all I buy because it tastes better. I don't like the regular watery sour-tasting lowfat buttermilk with no substance. Bulgarian is thicker and richer-tasting; made from cultured whole milk. Try it, you'll like it better, too. I'm in Arkansas and we can buy it at WalMart or Brookshires or just about any food store in 2 or 3 different brands. The brand may be Coleman and it says Bulgarian Style on it. I use it in anything calling for buttermilk in cooking and baking, including salad dressings. Posted: 4:11 pm on June 17th

jahr4sps writes: I live in the state of Washington and you can get the bulgarian buttermilk at "Winco" foods. You can buy it off the shelf they also have regular buttermilk. I did try it and used it only in pancakes and the batter was a bit thicker but it didn't change the taste of the pancakes. Posted: 11:44 am on June 11th

Audrey writes: I live in Southern California and have never seen it on any of my dairy shelves. In fact, all the chains here ie Safeway, Kroger, Albertson, and several small chains only carry Knudsen. Posted: 8:59 pm on June 10th

rodyl writes: I live in Miami and have never seen Bulgarian buttermilk. We do have nata and various types of Latin style cultured cream. But then I look at cooking shows based in California and our local farmers' markets and organic stores never ever have the variety of produce I see on TV. Posted: 5:50 pm on June 10th

Lazs_Wench writes: BTW, I live in Arkansas, the culinary armpit of the universe--and even WE can buy Bulgarian buttermilk!!! Sure would like the opportunity to have a cushy job like yours, Melissa-rotfl (hugs) Posted: 4:59 pm on June 10th

Lazs_Wench writes: OMG, ROTFL--a food editor who is not familiar with Bulgarian buttermilk???? Should be available in any chain grocery store/supermarket--even WalMart carries it!!! I am STILL laughing!!!! Posted: 4:39 pm on June 10th

jennifers writes: I live in northern California. Bulgarian buttermilk has always been on the store shelves in my area - for at least the last 20 years. I always wondered what it was and if we had a big Bulgarian community that bought it! Posted: 4:38 pm on June 10th

PdxPam writes: It's available in Portland, OR -- I'm thinking DariGold brand?? I was surprised when I saw the label and wondered what makes it qualify as "Bulgarian"?? I didn't notice anything surprising, taste-wise or in terms of thickness... Posted: 4:02 pm on June 10th

monelle writes: go to


Bulgarian buttermilk is not made in Bulgaria according to what I read on google sites. Posted: 9:51 pm on June 8th

monelle writes: go to


Bulgarian buttermilk is not made in Bulgaria according to what I read on google sites. Posted: 9:50 pm on June 8th

CookBev writes: Never heard of it Posted: 12:53 pm on June 8th

paupostre writes: If heard about it in Mexico. There is known as ''nata'.
To do it they boil some milk, in a sauce pan, and they wait until some like yellow cream appers (it seems as butter). They separeate this cream from the milk, and put it on a different dish, and refrigerete.
I really don't know how it tastes, and how they eat it, but there is famous because they say is delicious.

Posted: 7:31 pm on June 7th

Jolka writes: Never ever heard or bought it. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada but I also never heard of it living in Poland years ago. I wonder now if you can thicken regular buttermilk like you can plain yogurt by straining? Is it made with different strain of bacteria? It probably is since you said it's tangier. I make homemade yogurts and I know that different bacterial culture produce different density and tanginess of yogurt. What if you thickened regular buttermilk with Bulgarian yogurt? How come Californians have it and we've never heard of it? Now you got me really curious? Posted: 3:32 pm on June 5th

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.
Make it Tonight

Cookbooks, DVDs & More