TASTE for hundreds of years and this technique still remains one of the best and easiest ways to infuse it with flavor. Cuisines such as those from Iran, India, Lebanon, Turkey and Italy are rife with dishes in which meats such as chicken, lamb or pork are soaked in yogurt or cooked in milk.
What’s in a marinade?
Photo credit: Little Broken Juicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs – Little Broken
Marinating chicken in dairy: a complete guide
The picture of raw chicken floating away in your fridge for hours in a container filled with yogurt, milk or buttermilk may be sight difficult to imagine for the uninitiated. Some may even find it a bit gross. However, we promise that once you learn a little bit more about this technique and give its tender, juicy results a go, you will too become a full convert who will never grill a dry chicken breast ever again.
Marinating meat in dairy is not a novelty. Humans have been using yogurt and milk to tenderize meat Yogurt Your Meats: It’s Part Science, Part SpiritualTHE LEAF NUTRISYSTEM BLOG
The acidity level in dairy is a bit lower than the one found on vinegar or fruit juices like orange or lemon. This means that when you use dairy as your source of acid, the process of breaking down the proteins in the meat won’t be as aggressive and yield meat that is mushy on the outside and stringy in the center. The texture of dairy products helps too: they tend to be thicker than vegetable oils and therefore better at holding seasonings.
The best part of using dairy for marinating meat is, of course, the end result. The sugars in the yogurt, milk or buttermilk will caramelize during the cooking process and create a slightly crispy and tangy coat on the meat.
Yogurt vs. Buttermilk vs. Milk
Yogurt, buttermilk and milk are all very different in texture and fat and acidity levels and so each one will work better than the others for certain purposes:
- Yogurt- Has the highest fat content of all three products and is more acid than both buttermilk and milk. The high acidity and fat content make it the best option for using in marinades. It’s sometimes used in baking but some people believe it adds too much moisture to baked goods.
- Buttermilk – Is the second most acidic of these products but has the lowest fat content of all three. It’s commonly used to brine chicken for frying and also widely used in baking as it adds just enough moisture to baked goods without causing them to become too soggy. Buttermilk is also what makes buttermilk pancakesButtermilk Pancake Recipe -ExpertiseCocina.com moist and fluffy.
- Milk – Has the lowest acidity of all three products and has a higher fat content than buttermilk but no more than yogurt. Milk is great for slow cooking as meats such as chicken or pork will braise beautifully in it.
All of these products come in a variety of fat levels such as reduced-fat butter milk or skim yogurt or skim milk. We recommend sticking to the full-fat versions of all of these products as they will produce better marinades and richer flavors.
How long should you marinate meats for?
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