The secret to breading meats and veggies for baking or frying is all in the process. It’s quick and easy if you know how to bread.
Before you begin, make sure everything is cut to uniform thickness for even cooking and that everything is as dry as possible. If you start with wet food your coating is going to fall right off and that is not what we are going for!
How to Bread Chicken Recipe
- dry ingredients
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup cornstarch, (usually flour or cornstarch)
- wet ingredients
- 1 cup buttermilk, (egg wash, buttermilk, milk)
- 2 cups cornstarch, (breadcrumbs, crumbled crackers, finely-crumbled corn tortillas, more flour, more cornstarch, combinations of these—use your imagination!)
- Choose three containers that will hold the food you are going to dredge comfortably. The food will need to lie flat in the container. Bowls or pie pans work nicely.
- Put the flour or cornstarch into the first container, the wet ingredient into the second container, and the final coating into the third container.
- Prepare the food you are dredging to a uniform thickness. Slice the zucchini evenly, pound the chicken breasts thinly, and so on. The food will then cook evenly.
- Make sure that whatever you are dredging is DRY. If you start with wet food this entire process will slide right off the food before you get it cooked. So just before starting, blot everything with a paper towel. Seasonings, especially salt, tend to draw out moisture from foods so put all seasonings in with the ‘wet ingredient and give it a quick whisk. For a finished product with a bit more color, try some paprika or chili powder in the final ‘dry coating.’
- Now that you are all set up this process goes very quickly. You are going to have a dry hand (your left when working left to right) that will only touch the uncoated food and the first ‘dry’ ingredient and a wet hand that will dig the food out of the ‘wet’ ingredient and transfer it to the final coating. Your dry hand will stay fairly clean (but NOT sanitary) and your wet hand will get all messed up!
- So here we go! With your dry hand take one piece of food and lay it flat in the first ‘dry’ ingredient, flip it over to coat all sides, and shake off all excess. Transfer it to the middle ‘wet’ ingredient container and don’t get your hand wet. With your wet hand flip it over to coat both sides and hold it up to let the excess drip off. Transfer to the final ‘dry coating’ container and cover completely pressing this coating onto the food. That’s it. Super easy. Just repeat with every piece of food you have prepared.
- If you started with cornstarch, it is best to fry or bake as quickly as possible. When starch gets wet, it will turn slippery and your coating will slide off. If you started with flour, put the food on a rack over a sheet pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the coating. Happy dredging!