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Coating an ingredient with crumbs and either oven-, pan-, or deep-frying locks in moisture and adds satisfying crunch. The trick? Making sure breading doesn't flake off after cooking. Follow the three-step standard breading procedure for great results.
Once you've mastered the art of breading (keep clicking for our no-fail breading tips), apply your skills to our Panko-Coconut Shrimp recipe. Chopped coconut blended with whole-wheat panko create a sweet coating. Toasting the mixture before applying it to shrimp enhances the color, deepens the flavor, and amps up the crunch factor. We use cornstarch for our first dry layer. When dredged in egg whites, it forms a pastelike consistency that allows the coarse-textured breading to adhere to the shrimp. The cornstarch-egg mixture cooks and dries to form a strong bond between the crumbs and shrimp so the breading won't fall off.
Step 1: Coat food with flour.
Coat food with flour, cornstarch, or brown rice flour. The light dusting helps the wet layer adhere.
Step 2: Dip into a liquid.
Dip next into a liquid, such as egg whites. The dry and wet ingredients combine to make a sticky coating.
Step 3: Dredge in breadcrumbs.
Dredge the food in breadcrumbs, coating all over for an exterior that's crunchy once cooked.
Batter and Breading Basics for Frying | The Food Lab
Have you ever dropped a naked, skinless chicken breast into the deep fryer? I strongly advise against it. The moment it enters a vat full of 400°F oil, a couple of things start happening. First, the water content will rapidly convert to steam, bubbling out like a geyser, and the chicken's outer tissues become drier and drier. At the same time, the soft network of folded proteins in its musculature will begin to denature and tighten, firming its flesh and squeezing out juices. Pull it out a minute or two later, and you'll discover that it's become quite stiff, with a layer of desiccated meat a good quarter inch thick surrounding it. This is when you'll quite rightfully say to yourself, "Ah, I wish I had battered that first."
Batters are made by combining some sort of flour—usually wheat flour, though cornstarch and rice flour are not uncommon—with a liquid and optional leavening or binding ingredients, like eggs and baking powder. They coat foods in a thick, goopy layer. Breadings consist of multiple layers. Generally, a single layer of flour is applied directly to the food to ensure that its surface is dry and rough, so that the second layer—the liquid binder—will adhere properly. That layer generally consists of beaten eggs or a dairy product of some kind. The last layer gives the food texture. It can consist of a plain ground grain (like the flour or cornmeal in a traditional fried chicken breading), ground nuts, or any number of dry ground bread or bread-like products, such as bread crumbs, crackers, or breakfast cereals.
No matter how your breading or batter is constructed, it serves the same function: Adding a layer of "stuff" around the item being fried means the oil has a tough time coming in direct contact with it, and thus has a hard time transferring energy to it. All the energy being transferred to the food has to go through the medium of a thick, air-pocket-filled coating. Just as the air-filled insulation in your house helps mitigate the effects of harsh external conditions on the air temperature inside, so do batters and breadings help the food underneath cook more gently and evenly, rather than burning or becoming desiccated by the fiercely energetic oil.
Of course, while the food inside is gently cooking, the precise opposite is happening to the batter or breading: It's drying out, and its structure is getting firmer and firmer. Frying is essentially a drying process. Batters and breadings are formulated to dry out in a particularly graceful way. Rather than burning or turning leathery, a nice airy batter forms a delicately crisp, air-filled web of teeny-tiny bubbles—a solid foam that provides substance and crunch.
Breadings work similarly, though, rather than foamy in structure, they're craggy. The nooks and crannies in a good bread-crumb coating vastly increase the surface area of the food being fried, giving you more crunch in each bite. In the ideal world, a batter or breading becomes perfectly crisp just as the food inside—say, a slice of onion or a delicate piece of fish—approaches the ideal level of doneness. Achieving this balance is the mark of a good fry cook.
Pork Rind Battered Keto Chicken Nuggets
It was a dark, rainy Saturday night and I was craving Chick-fil-A. As we all know, those delicious golden nuggets are not keto-compliant, but I was bound and determined.
That evening, I spent a couple of hours concocting the perfect chicken nugget using some pork rinds that I had on hand.
The result? I think you'll like these. They are crunchy in all the right places. Even better, you can bake them instead of having to waste a bunch of oil. With some light substitutions, these can even be strict keto or paleo!
One last thing! You can really create some interesting flavors depending on the pork rinds that you choose. My suggestion starting out is to keep it simple and then venture out from there (Chili Cheese Chicken Nuggets, anyone?).
Some recipes call for dipping the chicken in egg before coating with flour while others call for milk (or butter milk). Egg provides a lot more protein and will produce a thicker, more stable crust. Milk is obviously much thinner, contains much more water, and won’t cling to the meat as much.
Milk. Milk has the moisture, fat and consistency to help your flour or breading stick. Regular milk works just fine, but buttermilk will add more moisture and texture. If cow’s milk isn’t an option for you, soy, almond and rice milk add enough fat and have the right consistency for your breading to stick.
There's no need to fry the chicken in grease once it's coated, just pop it in the oven! I much prefer oven-fried chicken for a few reasons. Fried chicken is usually such a nuisance! The grease splatters, the wasted oil, the extra calories, getting the oil to the right temp to thoroughly cook the chicken without burning the coating. I've done it, but the hassle-to-taste ratio doesn't make a lot of sense to me when I can achieve the same level of crispy right in the oven.
The key to crispy oven-fried chicken is using a wire rack to bake on. This tray ensures that all sides of the chicken are exposed to the heat. Just set up a baking pan with a wire cooling rack over the top. Space your breaded chicken apart on the rack and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fried Chicken vs. Baked Chicken
We’ve tried this low carb breading every which way and we usually opt for baking. We do this for a couple reasons. Cleanup is way easier and it’s easier to track nutrition on baked keto chicken tenders.
If you go for the fried chicken it can be a bit of a guessing game on the calorie count. Also, this breading bakes up to be the perfect consistency of a diner chicken tender. No need to add on a bunch of extra calories by frying them. If you’re that eager to stack on some extra calories, load these keto chicken tenders up with blue cheese dressing!
We’ve played around with a buffalo sauce recipe a few different times. We actually made a really good one that we tossed chicken wings in when we catered a birthday party a few months back. If you are truly about that homemade sauce life, I would definitely encourage you to work out a buffalo sauce recipe of your own.
For these keto chicken tenders, we’re going with a store-bought sauce! We’ve tried a few different brands and varieties of store-bought buffalo sauces and they are all good. Better yet, just about all of them are low-carb and no added sugar. Check the nutrition label to be certain, but every sauce at our local grocery store is zero added sugar. We do have a phenomenal homemade asian wing sauce recipe that would also go great on these keto chicken tenders, but when you’re in the mood for chicken doused in buffalo sauce, nothing else will compare!
Make Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs with Breadsticks
You don’t have any bread available? Of any kind? Well know that breadsticks may be enough to make bread crumbs for your recipes. They are ideal for breading veal slices for example. Maybe to make Italian cutlets.
So, get some breadsticks. Chop them coarsely with your hands and put them in a chopper. Chop at maximum speed for 1 or 2 minutes. The time depends on how coarse or fine you want the grain of your bread crumbs.
Try breading a cutlet with coarsely chopped breadsticks and you will notice the difference!
How to Keep the Breading from Falling Off Chicken
The best way to bread chicken&mdashor pork, or steak, or anything!
We&aposll be the first to admit it—the breading is the best part of baked or fried chicken (or pork, steak, or fish, or anything, really). So when the breading separates from the cooked chicken and falls off, it&aposs a major bummer.
If this happens to you, try our foolproof method for breading chicken. It may look like any traditional breading method, but there are a few small steps in there that will create a crisp, crunchy coating that stays put.
27 Ways to Use Old Bay Seasoning
If you’ve had good seafood, then you’ve probably had Old Bay — we don’t make the rules, that’s just how things are. Although the spice blend hails from Maryland, Old Bay is beloved in the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and throughout parts of New England and the Gulf Coast. It’s still kicking after 80 years in business, and its potential goes way beyond seasoning boiled shrimp.
Need some inspiration to add a little more Old Bay to your life? Here are a few ides:
Sprinkle it on top of dinner rolls before sticking them in the oven.
Toss it into fresh popcorn.
Sprinkle it on freshly baked crinkle fries.
Add some pep to your potatoes - roasted, mashed, baked, you name it.
Stir it into cream cheese and make spiced-up cucumber sandwiches.
Use it anywhere you𠆝 use plain pakrika, like deviled eggs.
Sprinkle it over fried shrimp, or mix it into mayonnaise or aioli for an all-purpose seafood-friendly dip.
If you’re baking chicken wings, sprinkle some on before putting them in the oven.
Serve it with grilled corn cobs.
Stir it into melted butter and brush over… anything.
Give hash or scrambled eggs a little more complexity.
Combine it with oil and lemon juice for a marinade.
Mix it into ground beef for burgers, tacos, or lasagna.
Substitute it for garlic powder in homemade cheesy bread.
Take roasted veggies to another level with a dash.
Rub it all over acorn squash before roasting.
Shake a few dashes into a bag of plain chips for knockoff Utz Crab Chips.
15 Ways Breadcrumbs Can Improve a Dish
Whether fresh or store-bought, breadcrumbs are good for so much more than just making meatloaf. Here are some of the many ways you can use them:
A final shower of grated cheese on pasta is standard, but a dusting of pangrattato (grated bread) is a pro move. Add fresh breadcrumbs to a vegetable-heavy orecchiette, or use panko crumbs to add body to linguine with a briny sauce of green olives and capers.
Linguine with Green Olive Sauce and Zesty Breadcrumbs
Fried, garlicky breadcrumbs are phenomenal on top of clam pastas, and traditional seafood dishes like clams casino and oysters Rockefeller aren't complete without a crunchy breadcrumb topping. Instead of coating fish in a heavy, fried breading, try pan-roasting fillets and finishing with a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs seasoned with fresh herbs.
Cod with Chorizo and Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs can add body to any hearty soup. They dissolve almost instantly, so stir them in little by little until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
Use breadcrumbs to add a crispy layer to fish, chicken, or even pork cutlets. Season the crumbs with Parmesan, garlic, or herbs before coating to add an extra layer of flavor.
Parmesan Chicken Cutlets
The role breadcrumbs play in meatballs may not be the ingredient's sexiest application, but it's one of its most important. Without breadcrumbs, meatballs would just be. meat.
Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana
As in meatballs, breadcrumbs act as a binder for rich, lumpy crab meat. Too often, this delicious shellfish dish has more “cake” than “crab,” so use a light hand when adding crumbs to the filling. (P.S. Breadcrumbs are just as good in salmon cakes).
Mini Crab Cakes
To come up with our recipe for the ultimate mac and cheese, we tried lots of different cheeses, add-ins, and sauces. But there was never a question about the topping: breadcrumbs won by a landslide. For a more complex flavor, cook the crumbs in garlic and butter and combine with Parmesan cheese before spooning on top of the pasta.
Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese
Take some cues from your Neopolitan nonna and add breadcrumbs to pizza topping, as in the breadcrumb, ricotta, and cauliflower mixture that covers a corner of this Grandma pie.
Turn even the most ho-hum vegetable casserole into a holiday table–worthy side dish by adding a layer of breadcrumbs. To play up the fall flavors, try rye breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs combined with savory herbs.
Fennel Gratin with Walnut-Thyme Breadcrumbs
A sprinkling of breadcrumbs adds much needed texture to puréed butternut squash, cauliflower, or pumpkin soup.
Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs
Roasted vegetables are like watercooler conversations: they need to exist in your life, but they’re often a bit mundane. But with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs, roasted vegetables are enlivened with a contrasting, toasty crunch. Note: we do not endorse sprinkling breadcrumbs on co-workers.
The deeply flavored, cold-weather French classic is made with long-simmering beans, sausage, and chicken confit. But why stop there? Sprinkle a thick layer of chicken fat–enriched breadcrumbs on the casserole during the last 20-25 minutes of baking for a dramatic presentation.
Confit Chicken Thigh and Andouille Sausage Cassoulet
To make baked beans like you've never had them before, turn to breadcrumbs. For the best texture, keep the crumbs coarse and mix with olive oil and garlic to bring out the toasty elements.
Baked Beans with Slab Bacon and Breadcrumbs
An easy way to make roasted chicken even more flavorful? Before roasting, spread an aromatic mixture of fresh herbs, butter, and breadcrumbs under the skin. (Some extra butter on the outside of the skin never hurt either.)
Buttery Roast Chicken
This layered pastry is fun to fold and even better to eat. For an easy imitation version of the classic Austrian pastry, sprinkle toasted white breadcrumbs onto rolled-out phyllo dough before spooning on a sweet fruit filling of sautéed apples or whatever's in season.
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