Glass of milk on a wooden table
Food - Drink
The 17th Century Milk-Braising Technique That Still Holds Up Today
Braising is the process of searing an ingredient — usually meat — until browned, then simmering it in a liquid such as water, wine, or broth. However, some liquids besides these standbys also work great for braising, and if you want to infuse a cut of meat with a different flavor, try using milk, as many cooks have for centuries.
The first record of braising meat in milk comes from the 17th century, and if you think this sounds odd, our ancestors had great reasons for doing it. The lactic acid in milk helps to tenderize meat and keep it moist, and the milk's sugars come out as it reduces, lending sweetness and complexity of flavor to the dish.
Milk braising is often performed in Italian cuisine, and perhaps their most famous milk-braised dish is maiale al latte, or milk-braised pork shoulder. Milk also brings its A-game to beef brisket, lamb shoulder, whole chicken, and more — just make sure to use whole milk, which has the right amount of fat to add richness to your food.