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Why flour before breading food?

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How come in recipes for things such as chicken fingers or eggplant parmesan you first put flour on the item then egg then the breading. What purpose does the flour serve? I plan to make some baked rather than fried chicken fingers, so would I still need the flour or is that specifically for frying? Thanks!

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  1. It gives the egg something to cling to. Otherwise, your breading is more likely to just slide off. I'd keep it in the recipe for baked chicken fingers.

    1. I think flour helps the egg to adhere to the item being breaded.

      1. Flour is always part of the equation for breaded or battered foods. It's just a matter of when you use the flour. You can coat things with flour and fry directly, such as pork chops or fish, or you can flour before dipping in an egg batter and then into bread crumbs before frying. Or you can make a batter with flour, such as the classic Japanese tempura, in which case you dip whatever you'll be frying directly into the batter, then slip it into hot oil. The method depends on the desired end results, but in all cases the flour either helps things adhere or promotes browning, which is the case when you use flour alone..

        1. I put a thin layer of cornstarch rather than flour before I dredge and fry something. It helps the batter cling to the food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Paul Weller

            I do oven baked chicken fingers fairly often because everyone in my family loves them. Dip in flour, then egg, then Panko breadcrumbs and bake. Just as good as fried to me and much better for you. Not to mention soooo much better than those nasty frozen "chicken nuggets" supermarkets sell!

          2. I make sauteed fish filets without flour dredging. Just pat dry excess moisture from filets, and press into seasoned polenta. It sticks well and doesn't come off in cooking.