Fried and sautéed foods are often coated to enhance their texture, taste, and appearance. Coating foods helps retain moisture while preventing foods from sticking to the pan. Dredging is a simple process of coating a product with flour. Seasoning is applied either directly to the food before coating or it is mixed into the flour.
A 3-stage breading process for pan-frying or deep-frying, begins by dredging the item in wheat flour, dipping in an egg mixture (known as an eggwash), and coating it with bread crumbs. Rice flour or refined starches like cornstarch can be used instead of wheat flour. Eggs are sometimes mixed with milk or water. Buttermilk or yogurt are commonly used for chicken and act as a tenderizer. Brown bread crumbs are usually the third stage but other options might include, panko (Japanese white bread crumbs), ground or chopped nuts, herbs, and spices. Always season, brine, or marinate the food before dredging or breading.
The wet hand-dry hand technique prevents the buildup of coating on your fingers. Using your left hand as the “wet” hand, pick the product up, and place it in the flour. Use your right, or “dry”, hand to dredge with flour and place in the eggwash. Pick it up again with your left, or wet, hand, and place in the breadcrumbs where it is coated and placed on a finishing rack or pan using the right, or dry, hand. If you are left-handed you can set up the breading station from right-to-left.