The three step breading process is something every home cook should know. It is a classic technique that is taught very early on in culinary school and it couldn’t be simpler. Let’s go through the components of three step breading (aka, dry, wet, dry) and then we will go over the steps to execute.
Flour may be the most important component of three step breading. Using flour first helps the egg adhere to the product you are breading. If the egg adheres well, then your outer layer will as well.
Use all-purpose flour but season it! This is a step many people skip. Don’t. It’s important. I usually season mine with at least salt and pepper. If you have added seasoning to your bread crumbs, it does not hurt to add those same seasonings to your flour as well. This ensures that each bite has great flavor. Otherwise, just the outer coating will have the flavor.
Depending on how much you are breading, adjust the amount of eggs. In general, one egg will coat up to four servings of a protein.
Beat the egg so it is one homogenous mixture. Sound complicated? It’s not. Beat the egg as you would for scrambled eggs. You want the yolk and the white to become one.
Depending on what you’re making, this outer coating may be bread crumbs, cornmeal, chopped nuts, coconut, crushed crackers, cereal etc.
Since this is the outer layer, you want to make sure any seasonings you have added are evenly distributed throughout. Also, the outer coating tends to adhere better when you let the breaded product rest for a few hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.
If you are baking instead of frying, but still want a “fried, crunchy” outer layer, spray the outside with some non-fat cooking oil spray just before putting into the oven. The oil on the outer surface will heat up and crisp your breading similar to a deep fat fryer, only without all the added calories and fat!
Now that you have the basics of what goes into three-step breading, let’s get into how to execute it. Let’s say you’re breading a chicken breast. Follow these steps:
- Place your three components in separate bowls or on plates.
- Dredge the chicken breast in the flour, making sure the entire breast is coated in flour.
- Shake off any excess
- Place the chicken breast in the egg mixture, making sure the entire surface gets covered with egg.
- Shake off any excess.
- Finally, place the chicken breast into the outer coating mixture. Again, make sure the entire chicken breast gets an evening coating.
- Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- You can “double bread” the chicken breast if you want a thicker coating.
- If possible, cover the chicken breasts with foil and let “rest” in the refrigerator for a few hours, up to overnight before cooking.
That’s it! Now get into the kitchen and start practicing!