Use Buttermilk Instead Of Egg Wash To Avoid Loose Breading

A perfectly fried chicken cutlet, pork chop, fish filet, or other protein can be among the tastiest centerpieces of a hearty meal. Unfortunately, many home cooks find out too late that creating that ideal breading isn't as simple as it may look. If you have problems with a loose coating, one easy swap can do wonders to resolve it.

Instead of the traditional flour and egg breading, use buttermilk as the liquid to stop the breading from falling off during frying. Beaten eggs and buttermilk work just as well in helping the outer coating of flour or breadcrumbs adhere to the meat. However, eggs tend to react when they hit the hot frying oil and expand, which can cause the breading to pull away.

This occurs as the moisture in the beaten eggs evaporates, followed by the proteins in the egg hardening and setting into a thick crust. Buttermilk proteins don't react the same way, helping the breadcrumbs or flour stay closer to the meat.

Buttermilk is more than a better coating

Using buttermilk as the second stage of your breading process comes with other benefits beyond fixing loose breading. Many enjoy the subtle tang that buttermilk can provide due to the mild acidity of the liquid. This acidic nature also helps lightly tenderize the meat, creating an even juicier, more succulent texture. Even a few minutes of soaking in buttermilk (or resting after breading) can make a big difference.

Despite these benefits, cooks should remember that buttermilk breading may not be suitable for dairy-free diners. Buying buttermilk for this specific purpose will also add to your grocery bill. However, you can make buttermilk from your regular milk: Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. 

While this simple switch can fix many breading issues, you can refine your frying technique even further with tips for creating a crispier coating.