Infuse Dairy With Tea To Elevate The Flavor Of Creamy Dishes

The next time a dish calls for a splash of cream or extra cups of milk, consider sprucing up the dairy addition with an infusion of herbs, spices, or florals. Introducing the creamy liquids to looseleaf tea and straining before using the ingredients in your recipes can turn up the flavor dials of your favorite meals and side dishes. 

As simple as this culinary hack might sound, creating flavorful infusions with dairy and dairy alternatives can expand your horizons in the kitchen. Whether you have spicy chia tea tucked away in your cupboards or have prepared soothing mixtures of lavender and fennel, tea can offer an aromatic element to your cooking and deliver a subtle earthy taste that can complement the other species in your dishes. Chamomile-infused cream can add a pleasant sweetness to desserts, cinnamon-infused dairy products can take mashed potatoes to new heights, and lemongrass can flavor milk that can be mixed into sauces meant for plates of protein and rice. 

Getting creative in the kitchen

When setting out to cook with tea, be mindful of time. The longer tea is left in pots of simmering milk and cream, the more intense the flavor of your dairy products will become. Taste as you go to perfect your recipes and consider the types of tea you're working with. Milder flavored herbal teas are less likely to result in a bitter taste if left in a saucepan of warm milk, while black and green teas can lead to more astringent flavors if forgotten. 

As the tea rests in its creamy bath, feel free to add other herbs and seasonings to bring out the flavors you'd like to experience in your meal. Ginger can be added to milk that has been flavored with soaking green tea bags, or bay leaves can be plopped into cream that is infused with chai. While you can use either tea bags or loose-leaf teas to infuse your milk, cream, and dairy substitutes, be sure to strain the liquid before incorporating it into recipes. Once you start experimenting with tea-infused dairy products, your go-to dishes may never be the same.