Originally Posted by French Fries
So I decided to try my hand at fried chicken!!
I flavored the flour with smoked paprika, a bit of cumin, onion, garlic and oregano.
I made two baths: 1) Eggwash & 2) Seasoned flour, and double-breaded.
Result: you could tell that was my first time!!!!
The breading didn't stick to the chicken skin (I am supposed to keep the skin there, right?) and instead formed an omelette-like enveloppe for my chicken. Almost like chicken en papillote - ok now I'm exaggerating. But still, breading detached from chicken skin.
The breading also over-Maillard-reacted in certain spots, and ended up on the dark side of GBD.
So my first guess is that my oil temp wasn't right, which isn't really surprising since I don't have a thermometer and am not good at judging the temp of my oil.
As for the breading detaching... I have to work on that. I guess I'll try without eggwash next time, just a simple bath of seasoned flour?
A single breading is a little easier to handle than double dipping.
It's alright to use an egg wash, buttermilk, milk, water or even beer -- if you happen to have one handy. Just don't double-dip -- at least not yet.
Your breading detached probably because you didn't give it a chance to rest.
It helps to use a fairly soft flour for the coating. If you're using AP flour, cut it in half with cake flour; or cut it with some corn starch. About four parts flour to one part corn starch. You'll find that you get a better texture if you use a little baking soda in the flour as well.
Your oil was too hot.
The right kind of thermometer is a candy/frying thermometer. They're cheap. Quit being charming and helpless, just buy one.
In addition to the won-ton method, you can check for the right temperature by using a piece of bread. It's how they do it in Europe. The oil should bubble around the bread as soon as the bread is in the pan, the bread should begin to brown immediately, you should be able to fry it without burning it for at least a little while. If the oil does not bubble, it is too cool. If it makes big bubbles and burns the bread within fifteen seconds, it is too hot.
Adding the chicken to the pan will decrease the oil temperature. Be aware that the temp will come back up and might scorch the bottom. Don't wander off. Maintain your focus and check the chicken frequently.
If you put the chicken in the pan and the bubbles come out fast and strong, indicating the oil is too hot, it's not too late to lower the flame a little. You can also raise the flame if the oil is a little too cold, but starting in a too-cold pan will make the chicken greasy.
The right temperature range for frying chicken is 325F to 375F. You want to watch out for 375F, it will cook the skin and coating before the center of the chicken is fully cooked. Which brings us to a sort of sneaky and fail-safe method... Begin by frying in hot oil (around 375F) until the chicken is the right color, then place in a slow oven to finish cooking. The downside is that finishing the chicken in the oven will steal some of the crispness.
I sometimes use a reverse process. That is, I start the chicken in a smoker, and after it's absorbed some smoke at around 225F, I remove it from the fryer, dip it in seasoned flour and finish in the fryer.
There's another thread going on concerning "Southern Fried Chicken." You may want to take a look at that too.