Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Batter Up

potato fries with fried meat and red sauce on round white ceramic plate
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

The What

When we were pan-frying, we typically used breading…

But now that we are deepfrying, we’re most likely to be using a batter instead.

Batters will give youf food a lighter, thinner style coating…instead of  the thicker, heavier coating associarted with breading.

Batters also consist of the same ingredients as breading—flour, egg, and milk or water—but are mixed together instead of being dipped onto the food…and may also include salt, baking powder or baking soda, and sugar.

Baking soda, baking powder, beer, or any other type of carbonated liquid are often used to make the batter more  fluffy as it cooks.

Also herbs, spices, fruits, and even vegetables can be added to your batter to give it more flavor.

 

 

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The Why

 

Using batter when deep-frying serves many functions, including…

  • forming a protective, crispy shell around the food
  • giving your foods that expecteed crispy crunch
  • keeping the food from absorbing excessive amounts of fat
  • preventing your food from scorching
  • retaining the flavor and juices of the food
  • simply having a pleasing texture

 

 


The How

Find the right consistency for what you are  cooking…Batters range in consistency from the “very heavy” batters that will adhere to an upturned spoon…to “very thin” batters that will quickly pour or drop from that same spoon.

The ideal batter for fried foods is thick enough to adhere to the food, but not so thick as to become heavy.

 

Slow down the thickening process…Your batter will thicken very quickly after you finish making it. You can slow down this process the the following three methods…

  • using beer instead of baking powder or baking soda
  • using ice water when mixing
  • making it at the last possible moment before use

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The Which

In the next series of posts, we will looking at some of the different batters—such as baking powder batter, beer batter, egg white batter, flour and water batter, and yeast batter—and which batters are best for which foods…(more recipes, yeah)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chicken Parm Here at the Farm

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Please Don’t Feed the Ducks

 

 

 

 

The Bread…You can use almost anything dry and crunchy to make your dry breadcrumbs—including hot dog buns, baguettes, croissants, sliced sandwich bread, Italian loaves, white, wheat, sourdough, rye, crackers, bagels, Goldfish, potato chips, or any combination of these.

Both sweet,and savory breads will make perfect breadcrumbs as long as your bread is nice and dry before crumbling.

Actually combining several different types of bread will add more flavor.

However, do not use stale bread. Stale bread makes stale-tasting breadcrumbs…go figure?!

Collect various odds and ends of breads in a large, re-sealable bag in your freezer until you have a need for using breadcrumbs.  One loaf of typical bread will yield about 4C crumbs. Then when a recipe calls for breadcrumbs, use this as an opportunity to make crumbs out of whatever bread you have collected.

But your bread needs to be dry.

Toasting the Bread…If  you’re using fresh bread to make your breadcrumbs, place the slices on a baking sheet and bake at 225 for 15min. Halfway through the baking time, turn the bread over so that the bread dries evenly.

Your goal in baking the bread in the oven like this is to evaporate all the moisture out of the bread, completely…

Toasting the bread  at such a low temperature will obviously take longer, but this temperature will heat the bread just the right amount to sufficiently vaporize moisture without darkening the bread’s surface or changing its flavor.

The Prep Work…Once your bread is totally dry and crispy, crumbling it into smaller pieces honestly won’t be that big of a deal.

Ar rhis poinr, you xould use one of three methods to finish making your breadcrumbs.

  1. The Blender or Food Processor
  2. The Box Grater
  3. Your Hands

The Blender of Food Processor…Perhaps the easiest and most common way to make breadcrumbs is in a blender or food processor, I honestly don’t have a food processor…still debating whether or not I would actually use one since I have a nice blender already…(more on that later).

Place chunks of the torn dried bread into a blender or the bowl of a food processor.

Add the chunks of bread in small batches.

Be careful not to overcrowd the bread so that grinding wjill be easier.

The Box Grater…A box grater, like the one that I understand is used to grate cheese at home…(honestly I can’t remember the last time I bought cheese that wasn’t already grated)…is another option.

To use a box grater to make breadcrumbs, place the grater in the center of a large bowl. Swipe your bread down its sides like you would a block of cheese.

The “DIY” Method…Finally you can simply make your breadcrumbs by hand. Place the dry bread in a Ziploc bag. Smash with a rolling pin until you have the desired size of breadcrumbs.

The Grand Finale…Regardless which method you are using, you need to end up with crumbs that range in size from crumbs that are the size of oatmeal flakes or rice and larger pieces about the size of small peas.

Now you are ready to toast your crumbs.

To toast your breadcrumbs on the stovetop, pour about 3Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the crumbs, stirring or tossing frequently, for about five minutes…until they are crunchy and golden brown.

Finally season your breadcrumbs with kosher salt. Let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.

Storing Breadcrumbs…How long your breadcrumbs can be used will depend on whether you store them in your fridge or freezer or at room temperature.

Fridge…Your breradcumbs will stay “fresh” in your fridge for up to one month.

Freezer…Your breadcrumbs will stay “fresh” in your freezer for up to three months, as long as they are kept in a resealable bag,

Room Temperature…Your breadcrumbs will stay “fresh”  at room temperature for up to three days, as long as they are kept in an airtight container.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dreading the Breading

So we’ll start our discussion on frying foods with breading.

Breading is a basic process that involves coating your food—such as fried chicken and onion rings—before frying it.  

This coating can consist of many different types of crumbs—such as rushed corn flakes, fine dried breadcrumbs, crushed cracker meal, and even potato chips…(more on this later)…

Breading differs from using a batter to prep your food.

 

Breading involves using basically dry ingredients whereas Battering your food involves combining flour of some sort with a liquid and perhaps other ingredients—such as eggs and baking powder.

Battering your food coat them in a thicker and more goopy layer.

Your goal whenever you are frying food is to create delicious food that has a crunchy and delicious exterior with a moist and flavorful interior.

Batters and breadings are important in this process because they both serve the same basic purpose—to help seal in moisture.

You do not want the oil to immediately come into direct contact with the food because you are more likely to end up with food that is either burned or leathery.

Instead you want to create a barrier between the hot oil and the raw food that will help the food cook more gently and evenly, instead of burning.or turning leathery.

Breading not only serves these purposes, but also helps reduce spatter, adds a very subtle crunch, and aids with browning.