We all enjoy the occasional deep-fried and pan-fried foods. Those crispy, crunchy layers of bread and batter. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into making those crispy, crunchy layers, well you’re not alone. Food coatings may seem to be simple but it is an organized procedure. One wrong ingredient and it can leave your food being either too wet or too dry. Before getting into the basics, we must first understand the different types of coatings.
Dry coatings which often but not necessarily include bread crumbs are called “Breading”.
Wet coatings that are not necessarily water-based are called “Batters”.
Battering your food adds to its flavor and texture. Take fried-chicken for example. First, the ingredients in your batter provide rich aromatic flavors. Second, the coating provides a textural element. Crunchy outside with juicy and moist inside (think how tasteless a crust-less fried chicken would be). Lastly, the batter acts as a heat barrier between your food and the heated oil. This allows the food to heat evenly without being overcooked.
A point to note here, breaded foods can be pan-fried or deep-fried, your choice. But in the case of batters, they should only be deep-fried. Because the wet coating completely set off is your food is not completely submerged in hot oil. For the batter to stick to your food it should be deep-fired, also do not settle your food once it’s battered. Battered food should go straight into the fryer. If you find yourself running out of kitchen space when breading and battering. Invest in a Henny Penny Breading Table to get your breading and battering organized.
As established, batters are intended to be applied to food directly before cooking. They are usually a mixture of fluids and starch. Some common examples of fluids include water, milk, buttermilk, and carbonated water, etc. Fizzy fluids induce an airiness to the batter. The starchy part can be served by all kinds of flours and well of course starch itself. Eggs being the most famous one, other common examples include cheese, grated cheese, seasonings, sour cream, baking soda, or baking powder. Tempura is one of the most classic batters. It is made with a mixture of water, eggs, and flour.
To get the perfect combination of batter applied to your food, a certain procedure must be followed.
- Designate a Wet and a Dry hand. Your dry hand will be used for dry and wet hand for wet ingredients.
- Ensure both the wet and the dry ingredients are thoroughly yet separately mixed. If the recipe requires you to put eggs, beat them well before adding in other ingredients.
- Also make sure your dry ingredients like flours, starches, salt, and spices are mixed well to evenly distribute taste and texture.
- When applying the batter remember to apply your coatings in a combination of dry, wet, dry. Do not coat your food with two wet or two dry layers simultaneously.
- Once you’ve completely mixed your batter, do not let it stay.
- Dip your food in it and proceed to fry.
Almost any ingredient you choose can be used in a batter mix once you follow the above steps.