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Breadcrumbs can add the perfect golden brown and crispy coating
A fresh coating of breadcrumbs on the classic schnitzel is difficult to beat. Find out more here about just how versatile a breadcrumb coating is, and how easy it is to make at home.
This simple yet delicious coating gives meat, fish and vegetables a golden crisp. Two popular breaded dishes are the Wiener schnitzel made from veal, and the Viennese-style schnitzel made from pork. Breaded poultry is also quite common, and for vegetarians, breaded kohlrabi is a delicious treat. For a vegan alternative, simply replace the egg with soya, almond or coconut milk.
A breadcrumb coating usually requires flour, egg and breadcrumbs. The crunchy shell lends a delicious texture to fish, meat and vegetables when frying, deep frying or baking.
For the perfect golden crust, follow these steps:
1. Coat the item in flour and pat off the excess
2. Dip it into a whisked egg with salt and pepper
3. Fully coat the item in breadcrumbs and pat it down firmly
4. Fry it immediately so that the coating does not become soggy
The breaded item should be fried in a decent amount of fat on a medium heat so that it does not burn. For best results, choose a fat that does not burn so quickly. Peanut oil or a mix of oil and clarified butter are also common choices. When frying a breaded schnitzel, rapeseed oil or clarified butter are best. After frying, lay the breaded food on a piece of kitchen towel to soak up some of the excess fat.
If there are no eggs in the house, or if you simply don’t want to use eggs, there are a number of possible alternatives. Milk, cream, yoghurt or condensed milk can all be used instead. You can also try making a thin paste with flour, salt, pepper and water. The purpose of the egg is not only to add moisture, but also to bind the item with the breadcrumbs. Grated parmesan mixed with flour can achieve a similar effect.
For a breadcrumb coating with a kick, try replacing the egg with mustard. If breading meat, spread some mustard on the meat before coating it – this way, the mustard will stick well to the meat and can replace both the egg and the flour.
Whether or not you tenderise the meat before coating is up to you. There are various methods of doing this. Some prefer the classic meat mallet with rows of pyramid-shaped tenderisers – this method can soften the fibres in the meat and allows the meat to become dried out when fried. In order to make the meat thinner, you can simply use a pan or a pot to press it down. Secret tip: Cover the meat with cling film and roll it out with a rolling pin until it reaches the desired thickness.
If schnitzel is on the thicker side, the breaded coating will burn before the meat cooks. A thinner schnitzel requires a short cooking time – too long a cooking time will make the meat dry and tough.
For a twist on a breadcrumb coating, perhaps try crushing oats, unsweetened cornflakes, pretzel sticks or a variety of nuts instead. Many of these alternatives tend to burn fast, so pay attention to the cooking temperature. If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, try out the intense flavour of a sesame coating.
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