zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Does Soaking Beef in Milk Make It Tender?

by
author image Brynne Chandler
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.
Does Soaking Beef in Milk Make It Tender?
The calcium and lactic acid in milk softens tough muscle fibers. Photo Credit olgakr/iStock/Getty Images

Marinating tough beef in acid makes it more tender, but there are alternatives to acid that work just as well. Harsh acids like those in lemon juice and vinegar can actually dry out the meat and leach flavor from it. Milk and buttermilk are traditional marinades in Southern cuisine, and Indian cooking often starts with a yogurt marinade. Milk-soaked beef softens and becomes tender without drying out or getting mushy. Making milk marinades is not difficult once you understand the basics.

Beef Facts

Beef is basically muscle fibers held together with protein webs called collagen. The more the muscle is used by the animal, the leaner the muscle tissue is, stronger the muscle fibers are and the tougher the meat is. Breaking down the muscle fibers and softening the collagen into gelatin adds moisture to the meat as well as tenderizing it.

Tenderizing Facts

There are several methods to tenderize meat. Breaking the muscle fibers by scoring or pounding the meat is excellent for thick cuts of meat. Powdered marinades contain papain and bromelain – extracts from the papaya and pineapple, respectively – and will soften the surface of the meat but they don’t penetrate. This can leave you with a mushy outside and tough inside. Marinating meat also breaks down tough muscle fiber.

Milk Facts

Milk contains calcium, which, according to Shirley Comer at “Fine Cooking,” may have an effect on an enzyme in the meat itself that breaks down the proteins. This process is similar to the way that aging tenderizes meat. Milk also contains lactic acid, which helps to break down the proteins and soften the collagen.

Procedure

An effective marinade contains seasonings for flavor, an acid to break down the muscle fibers and collagen in the meat and an oil to moisturize the meat and act as an emulsifier. Milk is not a harsh acid, so you can season milk or buttermilk and leave out the oil. It doesn’t matter whether you use a plastic zipper bag, a plastic container with an airtight lid or a baking dish covered in aluminum foil or plastic cling wrap to soak the meat. The main point is to cover the meat in milk and seal it in a closed container.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.