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#foodbeast Culture Features FOODBEAST Hacks

How To CRUSH Making Fried Chicken At Home

Experiencing fried chicken, when done properly, is like scoring the winning basket against a rival team in an ’80s coming-of-age film without your teen wolf powers. As Amy Holland put it: You’re shooting for the moon and finally make it.

I’ve tried making fried chicken several times at home, and each time it was just enough to fill my cravings. Never once, however, did it blow me away. So what had I been doing wrong?

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Because I firmly believe making proper fried chicken is something I’ll need to know before I can venture into my 30’s, I sought out every juicy nugget of wisdom I could find.

This includes as many tips and tidbits from friends, professionals, and the Internet, that I possibly get my hands on.

If you’re ever looking to fry up a batch of chicken at home, perhaps you’ll want to stick to these fried chicken tips.


Fry in small batches

The number one thing to know about cooking fried chicken, according to chef Josh Elkin, is to fry in small batches.

“The more crowded the pot or fryer, the less even the chicken will fry and the longer it will take,” Elkin told Foodbeast.

“Making fried chicken is a bitch,” he adds, “But it’s fried chicken, so that’s the payoff.”

It’s all about the temperature

Never deep-fry cold chicken. When you’re about to cook, let your raw chicken sit out for a least 30 minutes until it gets to room temperature. The reason is that cold chicken will affect the cooking oil and dramatically lower the temperature once the pieces are thrown in.

This also causes the oil to soak into the skin — creating soggy, greasy chicken. Chef Linh Nguyen of Fleenor’s on 4th recommends a temperature around 335F.

Chicken skin is essential

According to simplifried, frying chicken pieces at a high temperature lets you know that there is no more fat sitting between the meat and the skin once it’s golden brown.

Because the fat works to fry the skin, removing the skin directs the fat towards the meat when cooking in high temperatures. This results in greasy chicken. Keeping the skin on acts as a barrier.

If you choose not to eat the skin, that’s up to you. If you’re doing fried chicken, though, it’s at least half the joy behind it.

Cooking oil is also essential

Put those fancy-flavored oils away. You’re going to need a fat with a high smoke point and a neutral taste. Canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, or even lard are all ideal. Avoid extra-virgin olive oil at all costs.

Don’t be afraid to brine

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A well-seasoned buttermilk brine makes a world of difference for fried chicken. While salt and pepper are essential you can also add some paprika, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to give that chicken some heat.

Letting your meat brine overnight, or at least 8 hours, yields some fantastic results.

Take a fork and… what??

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay once shared with Foodbeast that you need to puncture the chicken to the bone with a fork before brining it. This way, the buttermilk seeps all the way into chicken and tenderizes the meat.

Season the flour

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You’ve seasoned your brine, but don’t forget to also season your flour.

Again, you’ll need at least salt and pepper. After that you can be creative with the spices you use.

“Buttermilk brine and cornstarch mixed with the batter to make it super crunchy,” says Chef Aron Habiger of Cooking on the Lam.

It’s OK to double dip

Once you have your chicken coated in seasoned flour, you’re good to go right? Sure, but if you want that extra crispy skin, you can also let that chicken sit for a few minutes on a wire rack so that any excess liquid absorbs. Then, dip it into your seasoned flour a second time before frying.

The result: crispy, crunchy chicken.

Wire rack > Paper towels

We’ve often heard that laying down some paper towels will absorb the excess oils of the chicken. However, the steam created from the moist paper towels will then lead to soggy fried chicken. Instead, lay your fried chicken pieces on a wire rack so the excess oil falls off.

The Spyrou Finisher

Former recipe blogger and gatekeeper of dad jokes, Constantine Spyrou, had this little technique to share if you’re ever worried about burning your chicken.

“The longer the chicken sits in the frying oil, the more can get inside,” he said. “I like to get it to the right color on each side and then finish it off in the oven.”

He says he runs the oven to 350-degrees for both the oil and oven, so the chicken spends about 5 minutes in the oil and the rest of the cooking time in the oven —10 or so minutes.

“It keeps the chicken moist, keeps it from overcoloring, and prevents too much oil from breaking into the meat and making it greasy.”

The leftover cooking oil?

Your fried chicken is cooked, you’ve eaten your fill, and now it’s time to clean up. After finishing those dishes, your oil has now probably cooled a bit. I can’t stress this enough: NEVER dump your used cooking oil into the sink.

If you’re looking for ways to dispose of the oil, here are some options.

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Health Hit-Or-Miss News

Bakery Fires Head Baker After He Refused To Use Bug-Infested Flour

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An artisan bakery in Queens fired their head baker for doing what universally anyone else would deem noble. The employee refused to make dough from flour that he discovered had contained bugs, according to a lawsuit.

Stefan Fischer, a baker with 30 years experience, was immediately terminated after he spoke up about the insects found in the Bakery of New York’s flour silo.

Fischer had sent his employer a photograph showing insects in the flour with the intent of throwing the 3000-pounds of infested flour out, along with suggesting that the Long Island City-based silo be professionally cleaned.

The baker was told to use the tainted ingredient, even with the bugs apparent, for “multigrain” dough since the insects could be concealed in crunchy bread. When Fischer refused, he was let go from his duties at the bakery.

Fischer’s suit also says he witnessed other health violations during his time working for the bakery including dirt on the floors, uncovered trash containers, and open dairy containers.

The NY Post reached out to Fischer’s lawyer who declined to comment on whether the tainted flour was ever used.

Think we’re gonna steer clear of the bakery anyways, just to be safe. We don’t need the extra protein THAT badly.

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Packaged Food

Your Blueberry Pancake Mix Could Have E. Coli

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You can now add pancake mix to the growing list of food the FDA is warning customers about. Continental Mills said that there could be E.coli linked to the flour they use in their Krusteaz Light & Fluffy Blueberry mix. The result? A mass recall of 30 million pounds of the mix nationwide.

That’s enough to make about 800 million pancakes.

While there have been no reported illnesses tied to the pancake mix so far, the recall is part of a much larger recall of products containing General Mills flour. So far the flour has left 42 people in 21 states sick.

The recall affects two sizes, both of which were produced between April and June of this year. The first is 28-ounce cartons with best-by dates that run between March 30, 2018, and June 16, 2018.  Three-and-a-half-pound bags with a best-by date of either April 27 or April 28, 2018 are also part of the recall.

This comes after the FDA announced that eating raw cookie dough, and other foods with raw flour could be potentially harmful and leave people at risk of E.coli and other harmful bacteria.

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News

General Mills Recalled 10 Million Pounds Of Flour Due To An E. coli Scare

Flour is as essential to a cooking as fire is to a stove. So, when General Mills voluntarily recalls 10 million pounds of one of the most popular flour due to a possible E. coli contamination, it’s something we all worry about.

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General Mills is now working with health officials to investigate the source of what caused 38 cases of possible E. coli contamination across, “20 states between Dec. 21, 2015 – May 3, 2016,” according to a press release issued by General Mills on May 31.

General Mills characterized the recall as, “precautionary,” but warned consumers that the cause could potentially be linked to SEVERAL BRANDS of General Mills specific flour including, “Gold Medal flourWondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour,”

However, General Mills remains confident that “E. coli O121″ has yet to be detected in any General Mills flour-making facility.

“To date, E. coli O121 has not been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility, and the company has not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these products,” according to the General Mills press release.

The Center for Disease Control reported that E. coli O121 can cause serious illness, and provided a list of some consumer precautions:

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The CDC also reported that although 10 people have been hospitalized, there haven’t been any deaths, nor cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure that’s often a worst-case scenario with E. Coli.

In order to protect consumers against this outbreak, General Mills listed each of the recalled selections of flour packages, with weight, package UPC and the “recalled better if used by dates” on their website.

Gold Medal Wondra All Purpose Flour

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Gold Medal All Purpose Flour

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Gold Medal All Purpose Flour — Unbleached

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Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour — Enriched

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Gold Medal Self Rising Flour

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If you have one of these packages inside your pantry at home, toss it quick, before it becomes a vulgar display of flour.

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Video

This Street Food Vendor Has A Hypnotizing Sales Technique [WATCH]

Some of the best foods you’ll every try can sometimes come from vendors on the street. A recent video shows a young Chinese street food maker showing off some flashy moves by tossing what appears to be buns into the air in crazy geometric patterns.

It seems what he’s doing is actually removing the excess flour from the buns. However, the way he does it adds a ridiculous amount of flair to his sales.

Kind of almost looks like CGI. Almost.

Check out the video.

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Hit-Or-Miss

This Flour With Caffeine In It Could Be A Game Changer

Non-fans of coffee, rejoice! There’s finally a way to wake yourself up in the morning without having to force the bitter taste of coffee down your gullet.

Professor Daniel Perlman of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, has come up with a way to use flour as the vessel for everyday caffeine intake. According to Perlman’s interview with Eater, he explained that the, “flour contains 2.5 percent caffeine by weight, so if you were to put 4 grams of this into, say, a breakfast muffin, it would be the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee.”

The one thing that separates Perlman’s coffee flour from the vast majority of his competitors is the nature of the ingredients. While most caffeine-infused food products are made from coffee byproducts or synthetic caffeine (because who doesn’t love synthetic anything?), Perlman’s flour is made directly from the green coffee bean.

“It’s more of an enhancing nutritional ingredient to provide the antioxidants as well as the natural caffeine boost.”

After baking the beans for only a few minutes and on a low temperature setting, they aren’t used for brewing, but rather, are ground up into a soft, thin powder and used as flour. Baking them this way helps retain much more “chlorogenic acid (CGA), an antioxidant that appears to modulate how rapidly the body breaks down glucose.”

While the ingenuity behind it is refreshing, Perlman goes on to explain that it’s not a stand-alone product, but “it’s more of an enhancing nutritional ingredient to provide the antioxidants as well as the natural caffeine boost.”

If all goes well for Perlman, it won’t be long before Starbucks begins selling Starbaked caffeinated goods.

Photo Cred: Best Dietary Supplements

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Fast Food

Chipotle Is Testing Tortillas That Feature ONLY 4 Ingredients

Chipotle-Delivery

It seems everyone’s trying to go healthier these days. In an effort to make the menu a little more wholesome, Chipotle is aiming to reduce the number of ingredients in its tortillas down to four, reports the New York Times.

While most homemade tortillas usually consist of these many ingredients, the quick-service-restaurant offers ones that have a few extra. This includes fumaric acid, sodium metabisulfite, sorbic acid and many others.

The problem is, Chipotle goes through about 800,000 tortillas a day. This number is sure to grow as the chain is growing every year. So producing that massive number of tortillas could be a pretty big concern.

Working with the crew at Bread Lab, they developed a tortilla that only requires four: flour, water, oil and salt. However, the dough requires a fermentation process that’s a bit time-consuming. Can’t have that at a QSR.

Nonetheless, the plan is to test the tortillas at small restaurants in select regions. If successful, they’ll begin to test them at more restaurants.

Chipotle’s current tortillas boast about 11 different ingredients.

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Products

This Machine is the K-Cup of Tortillas, Comes with Flour and Corn Tortilla Pods

KCup Tortillas

Fresh tortillas made with masa can be one of the tastiest things ever. Probably because one has to also appreciate the difficulty and time put into each piece. So when Flatev introduced their new instant tortilla making machine, naturally our heads turned.

Similar to the K-cup machines that make instant coffee, Flavtev incorporates a tortilla pod (which you could probably buy in bulk). Flavtev’s website says that they offer three different types of dough made with natural ingredients: flour, corn and blue corn. The machine opens up the pod, presses the dough and cooks it. Less than a minute later, instant tortilla.

Unfortunately, it looks like the Flatev machine won’t be available until sometime in 2015, but if you want to pre-order ahead of time they’re taking names. So until we see and taste them for ourselves, we’ll stick to homemade. We don’t mind waiting a few extra minutes.