I am sure that many of you like to eat chicken and culinary dishes made from chicken – and there are a lot of them. But, at the same time, I am even more sure that none of you likes your favorite chicken dry and hard.
There are many important tips on how to freeze chicken, how to defrost chicken, how to marinate it, etc. But this is definitely one of the most interesting articles when it comes to chicken.
And that interesting topic is about soaking chicken in milk. This method is the best way to avoid dry and tough chicken. Are you wondering how a dairy product such as milk works to help in this situation? If you are, the best way to find the answer is to continue reading this article.
Why Are We Soaking Chicken In Milk?
To make it more delicious, of course! But, what exactly does soaking chicken in milk do to this white meat? Soaking your favorite meat in milk will make it less dry and more tender. The best way to achieve this when preparing chicken or poultry is to use a milk marinade.
Marinating your raw chicken in milk will make it very delicious and super tender and it will melt in your mouth so beautifully that you won’t be able to resist it. But the question is why this happens. The answer is in the lactic acid.
All dairy milk contains lactic acid, which breaks down muscle fibers in the meat. There is also a theory that calcium from the milk helps to break down those fibers because it activates the natural enzyme in chicken that makes it more tender.
By breaking down those meat fibers, it tenderizes it at the same time very well. It works like a kind of meat tenderizer.
After it is in that state, you can use any chicken recipe to cook chicken or to make any other delicious chicken dish. The cooking process can be sauteing, frying chicken, or deep frying.
By deep-frying, you will get delicious juicy and soft meat with a crispy and golden brown outside texture that your palate won’t be able to resist. Below, you will learn how to soak chicken in milk, so stay tuned!
How To Soak Chicken In Milk?
Considering that raw chicken is one of the riskiest foods when it comes to food poisoning, I have provided some details that will reveal to you how to properly and in the safest way go through the process of soaking chicken.
First, I am going to give you a few tips about the safest way to handle this task.
First, it is best to use clean utensils, bowls, and chopping board for your raw chicken, and immediately wash them after use because hygiene is most important due to harmful bacteria.
It is recommended to keep your raw chicken covered all the time.
And, before you cook chicken, it is essential to know that you shouldn’t leave it out at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
Before you start marinating your chicken, you will have to remove its skin first and then slice it into pieces. You can then place those skinless chicken pieces in the bowl or container and spice it with some pepper and salt.
You can also add some lemon juice, lime juice, and some other spices like perhaps paprika, olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, or some other Italian seasoning of your choice. But that is up to you to choose your best marinade recipe.
Now you can freely pour the milk over your chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or any other chicken piece that you have prepared and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The maximum time is 24 hours.
After that time, you can grill or roast chicken after you have drained the excess chicken marinade. And of course, you can enjoy your delicious marinated chicken dish.
Using Fermented Dairy Products To Tenderize Chicken
Probably the best way to tenderize your chicken is to make the marinade from fermented dairy products. Among those products is best to use buttermilk or yogurt. You must note that regular milk isn’t fermented.
They both possess lactic acid and enzymes that are essential in breaking down meat proteins by eliminating collagen.
By breaking down those proteins, these two products will make your meat more tender and that is the exact goal that all of you who are home cooking want to achieve. I also have to mention that this method is a favorite among many top chefs and cooks.
Most of the top chefs tend to leave their marinated chicken overnight and cook it the day after. This will result in succulent, tender meat that is very desirable. You can then pursue cooking in the oven, deep-frying, or barbecuing. But that is up to you.
And, as I already mentioned, using yogurt or buttermilk is your best bet. However, if you are heading for yogurt, it is best to use plain yogurt.
Flavored yogurt may give you a different result. Whether you use a full or low-fat version is up to you and your preferences. They will give the same result.
On the other hand, the usage of buttermilk won’t affect the natural taste of chicken, unlike yogurt. That is because it possesses a milder taste when compared with yogurt.
If you can’t find buttermilk in the grocery store, it is best to make your own by adding one cup of milk (low fat or whole milk) and one tablespoon of white vinegar and letting it stand for about 10 minutes. Then you can use it instead of store bought.
2 Other Ways To Tenderize Chicken
The ultimate goal of using milk and milk products to prepare your chicken is to make it more tender. There are 2 more ways to do that and I am going to elaborate on them here.
1. Using Acidic Products
Aside from using dairy products, you can use some more acidic products to marinate your chicken. Some of those acidic products include lemon juice, alcohol, or vinegar.
But you need to be really careful when using these highly acidic products. The reason that I am saying this is the fact that the marinades that are made from these products have a higher acid content. That can easily toughen the meat.
The time in which you leave your meat to marinate is also important because to marinate in an acid doesn’t work the same as to marinate in milk
It is stronger, so you will have to leave the meat in the acidic marinade for a total time of 6 hours to make sure that the high acidic content doesn’t break down all the surface texture.
2. Pounding The Meat
This is an old method that has been used for tendering meat for a long time. This method is quite different from the two previously mentioned. As the name suggests, when using this method, you have to use physical force to make meat more tender.
When doing this, it is best to use a meat mallet. This method best works on boneless chicken like when you are preparing chicken breasts, for example.
Before you head off and start pounding the chicken, you have to ensure that it is covered with plastic wrap to keep it together as you pound it.
If you are planning to grill the meat, it is not the best idea to use this method because the meat loses its consistency when it is tenderized by physical force.
All in all, this is a somewhat acceptable method when you need to saute or fry the chicken for a quick meal.
What are the benefits of soaking chicken in milk?
The most important benefit of soaking chicken in milk is that the milk makes it more tender. The calcium in the milk tends to activate the natural enzyme in chicken that helps it to tenderize.
Milk also breaks up the acidity and heat, and it creates a creamy sauce that makes a roast chicken juicier. In addition, regular milk will not change the taste of the chicken just like buttermilk.
Only if you use yogurt will the taste change a bit, but this will not be significant.
Does It Matter What Kind Of Milk You Use?
Yes, it does matter what kind of milk you use. The reason for this is that there are specific enzymes and acids in dairy products that break the meat proteins.
The two most common types of dairy products that you can use are buttermilk and plain yogurt because they possess those specific enzymes and acids.
You can also use regular milk because it possesses lactic acid and calcium, and they both tend to break down meat protein, resulting in tender meat.
One Amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
• 1 lb. chicken (cut into pieces)
• 2 cups vegetable oil
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 3/4 cup purpose flour
1. Make a marinade with 2 cups of buttermilk, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
2. Mix that marinade with the chicken in a bowl, cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge for 8 hours.
3. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour and set it aside.
4. Heat oil in a pan and then separate the chicken from the remaining buttermilk while it’s heating. Also, dredge every chicken piece (every cut of chicken) in flour blend and shake-off excess flour.
5. Once the oil temperature is 350F (high heat), set the internal temperature to 165F and fry the chicken for about 9 minutes. When one side of the chicken piece is fried, fry the other side for about 8 minutes until it’s done.
6. When you are done, you can remove the fried chicken from the pan and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel.
7. Finally, you can serve your chicken with chicken gravy and enjoy your delicious dish.
So now that you know all the most important facts about soaking chicken in milk, it is up to you to make the best marinade for your delicious juicy chicken dish and surprise your palate with the extraordinary flavor and texture.