Are you looking for a dairy-free alternative to buttermilk for your fried chicken recipe?
Almond milk has become a popular choice for those who are lactose intolerant or simply prefer plant-based options.
But does almond milk have the same tenderizing properties as buttermilk?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind tenderizing chicken and whether almond milk can be used as a substitute.
Get ready to learn some new tips and tricks for making the perfect fried chicken with almond milk!
Does Almond Milk Tenderize Chicken?
When it comes to tenderizing chicken, the key ingredient in buttermilk is lactic acid. This acid helps to break down the proteins in the chicken, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.
Almond milk, on the other hand, is not acidic like buttermilk. However, it does contain calcium which can also help to tenderize the chicken.
Some people have reported success using almond milk as a substitute for buttermilk in their fried chicken recipes. However, it’s important to note that the results may not be exactly the same as using buttermilk.
If you do decide to use almond milk, it’s best to marinate the chicken overnight to allow the flavors to fully infuse into the meat. You can also add other seasonings and spices to enhance the flavor profile of your dish.
The Science Of Tenderizing Chicken
Tenderizing chicken is all about breaking down the muscle fibers in the meat. This process is achieved by using acidic ingredients like buttermilk or yogurt. These ingredients contain lactic acid, which helps to break down the proteins and collagen in the chicken.
As the meat marinates, the lactic acid penetrates the chicken and works its magic from the inside out. This results in a more tender and juicy meat that is packed with flavor.
It’s important to note that larger cuts of meat may not absorb the marinade as well as smaller cuts. In these cases, it may be necessary to inject the marinade or use a vacuum tumbler to ensure even distribution.
What Makes Buttermilk A Great Tenderizer?
Buttermilk is a popular ingredient in fried chicken recipes because of its ability to tenderize the meat. This is due to the lactic acid found in buttermilk, which helps to break down the proteins in the chicken. The enzymes present in buttermilk also aid in this process, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.
When marinating the chicken in buttermilk, it’s recommended to leave it for at least an hour, ideally 2-3 hours, or even overnight for the best results. The longer the chicken is left to marinate, the more tender it will become on the inside while developing a crispy crust on the outside.
Buttermilk is not only effective in tenderizing chicken breasts, but it can also be used for bone-in chicken pieces as well. Soaking boneless skinless chicken breasts in buttermilk for at least a day before cooking them can produce juicy and tasty results.
Almond Milk As A Buttermilk Substitute
For those who are lactose intolerant or prefer a dairy-free option, almond milk can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in fried chicken recipes. To make the substitution, use the same amount of unsweetened almond milk as the recipe calls for buttermilk.
However, it’s important to note that almond milk is not acidic like buttermilk, so it may not have the same tenderizing effect on the chicken. To replicate the acidity of buttermilk, add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk and let it sit for a few minutes until it slightly curdles. This will help to mimic the tangy flavor and tenderizing properties of buttermilk.
Another option is to use a non-dairy milk that is naturally thicker, like unsweetened soy milk, to achieve a better consistency for your vegan buttermilk substitute. Adding apple cider vinegar or other acidic components can also help to create a tangy flavor and tenderize the chicken.
How To Use Almond Milk To Tenderize Chicken
Using almond milk to tenderize chicken is a simple process that can yield delicious results. Here’s how to do it:
1. In a large bowl, combine almond milk and a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice. The acid in the vinegar or lemon juice will help to further tenderize the chicken.
2. Add any desired seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, all-spice, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Whisk everything together until well combined.
3. Add the chicken to the bowl and make sure it is fully submerged in the almond milk mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
4. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard any leftover marinade.
5. Coat the chicken in flour or breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.
By using almond milk as a marinade for your chicken, you can achieve a tender and flavorful dish without the use of traditional buttermilk. Experiment with different seasonings and spices to create your own unique flavor profile.
Tips For Making Perfect Fried Chicken With Almond Milk
If you’re planning to use almond milk to make fried chicken, here are some tips to ensure that you end up with perfectly tender and flavorful chicken:
1. Use full-fat, unsweetened almond milk for best results. This will give your chicken a creamy texture and help to mellow out any strong flavors from the marinade.
2. Soak the chicken in the almond milk mixture for at least 1 hour, or overnight if possible. This will allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat and help to tenderize it.
3. Add spices and seasonings to the almond milk mixture for extra flavor. You can use the spice mix mentioned in the raw text above, or experiment with your own favorite seasonings.
4. Double coat the chicken for extra crunch. Dip each piece of chicken in flour, then back in the almond milk mixture, and then back in the flour again before frying.
5. Fry the chicken in small batches to ensure that it cooks evenly and stays crispy. Don’t overcrowd the pot, as this can cause the temperature of the oil to drop and result in soggy chicken.
By following these tips, you can create delicious fried chicken using almond milk as a substitute for buttermilk. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or simply looking for a healthier alternative, almond milk can be a great option for tenderizing your chicken and adding flavor to your dish.
Other Dairy-Free Tenderizing Alternatives To Try.
While almond milk can be used to tenderize chicken, there are also other dairy-free alternatives to consider. One option is pineapple juice, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that can break down proteins and tenderize meat. Simply marinate the chicken in pineapple juice for a few hours before cooking to achieve a more tender result.
Another alternative is to use a meat mallet to physically tenderize the chicken. This involves pounding the meat with a spiked tool to break down the fibers and make it more tender. While this method doesn’t involve any marinades or special ingredients, it does require some physical effort.
Finally, you can also try using a dry rub or seasoning mix to add flavor and tenderness to your chicken. A mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika can work wonders in tenderizing the meat while also enhancing its flavor.