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Countless times I've tried to prepared a recipe that calls for dredging chicken tenders in flour, dipping them in beaten egg (or a mixture of egg and water), and then coating them with a bread crumb mixture.

It just doesn't work for me. In the process of dipping the chicken in egg, much of the flour gets wiped off and ends up in the egg; the flour that remains sticks to the chicken in gooey clumps, and those clumps tend to resist coating with bread crumbs. After the third or fourth chicken tender has been treated, the egg has become a mess because of all the flour that's been washed off.

I've finally given up on that method and I simply do the egg and bread crumb part of the recipe, which seems to work just fine.

So why would I put flour on first - what's the advantage? And what am I doing wrong that makes it work so badly?

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    Are you drying your chicken off before you put it in the flour? – Catija Jan 23 '18 at 0:12
  • Is your chicken cold or room temperature? – GdD Jan 23 '18 at 9:15
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    And how much flour are you trying to get on a piece of chicken? It sounds like you may be trying for a very thick coating of flour, when only a light dusting is needed. – senschen Jan 23 '18 at 12:26
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The reason for the flour being part of the breading process is to create a barrier between the meat and the breading, which will during the frying step allow for the formation of small steam pockets and a crisper crust. In a Wiener schnitzel this leads to the characteristic wrinkled surface. On the other hand, it’s the flour-egg mix that acts as „glue“ for the breadcrumbs or whatever you are using.

The amount of flour that is needed to achieve this is minimal. If you end up with flour in the egg, then I suspect you aren’t shaking off the excess flour.

The proper procedure starts with dry meat. This ensures that only little flour actually sticks to the meat when you then shake your meat to make sure all extra flour falls off. In this way you prevent the formation of what you describe as “glutinous mess”.

Then you proceed with the egg (again, let the extra drip off) and breadcrumbs.

Shallow-fry and serve immediately to ensure the crust is still crisp.

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