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I've recently gotten a fried chicken recipe that I really enjoy. However, the coating (seasoned flour) is held on with egg and cream (mix 1 egg and 1/4 cup heavy cream, dip the chicken in the flour and then in the flour, fry). One of my family members is allergic to milk so cream is not an option for a family meal.

What can I use instead of cream to ensure a nice thick coating? I have tried soy milk instead, which tasted fine, but the breading was thin...

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Buttermilk would be extremely common in breading fried chicken. To get a better answer, please provide the recipe you are asking about, and what reasons or restrictions you have on substituting for the cream. See meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1584/… –  SAJ14SAJ May 26 '13 at 13:13
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One of my family members is allergic to milk is the reason? –  Erica May 26 '13 at 13:14
    
And I tagged it dairy-free :\ –  Erica May 26 '13 at 13:24
    
I'm sorry, I tend not to notice the tags... its always better to have full information in the question. With context, I could provide one hopefully helpful answer; perhaps other folks will as well. –  SAJ14SAJ May 26 '13 at 13:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the case of the breading recipe that you have mentioned, I believe that you can continue to use soy milk (or almond milk, or even water) mixed with the egg in your breading. Instead, a small change to technique should give you a thicker and crunchier coating.

You may need to increase the amount of egg/soy milk mixture you create.

Try adapting the breading method as follows:

  1. Dip the chicken in the egg/soy milk mixture.
  2. Sprinkle your flour mixture with droplets of the egg mixture, and mix so that begins to form small clumps, as if you had already been using it for many chicken pieces.
  3. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture again, creating a second layer with bits and clumps sticking to the chicken pieces.

This should provide a crunchier, more satisfying crust than a simple single dredge in pristine flour due to the lumps and clumps which will fry up and be crunchy and toothsome.

This advise is based on a the method described by Cooks Illustrated and Kenji Alt of Serious Eats Food lab among others. This picture is from the Food Lab article on replicating Chic-Fil-A chicken sandwiches at home:

Sprinkled flour

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My grandma in Louisiana used to use mayonnaise & beaten egg to "double dredge" the fried chicken.

She also insisted on 'unsweetened' mayonnaise, like Duke's Mayo (a regional southern brand).

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This is an interesting alternative (and I imagine the mayo would lend a nice tang to the result!)... thank you for the idea! –  Erica Jun 25 '13 at 17:57

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