Practically every cook I know has a “kitchen kryptonite,” the one thing that they just can’t make come out right (or at least not consistently, which is equally stressful). For me, for a very long time, it was breading food. To be honest, it still eludes me from time to time, in part it’s because I don’t do it very often; I am generally not a fan of fried foods, and breading is most often a technique related to frying (as I discuss here).
Recently I went on a convection-baking/air-frying binge to try to figure out how to cook nicely browned, breaded food without dunking them in hot oil. And mostly it was a failure; it turns out the secret to getting breaded foods to brown up nicely in an air fryer is to generously slather them in oil first, because it much more efficiently conveys heat into the food.
All that said, more recently I have been defeating my nemesis on a more regular basis. Most of the time now my breading stays stuck on, mainly because I’m much more consistent about making sure I fully dry the outside of my food before I bread it. I’m still not a fan of fried foods, but I’m trying harder to find the middle ground by using healthier oils and getting as much oils as possible off the food quickly when it’s done cooking.
It’s a good reminder to me that the only way to overcome your kitchen kryptonite is to face it head-on. Read, learn, understand, and then try to make it over and over again until you figure it out. Do it in privacy when no one else is home. Assume up-front that you’re going to fail some of the time, and make your kitchen a shame-free zone. Just hang in there and keep trying. You will, with time, emerge victorious.
Peace, love, and biscuits,