A mixture of eggs and a liquid, usually milk or water. More eggs give greater binding power but increase the cost. A small quantity of oil is occasionally added to the egg wash.
Combine with the egg wash to create a crisp, golden coating when fried. Fine, dry bread crumbs are most often used and give good results. Also popular are Japanese-style dry bread crumbs called panko (Japanese for “bread crumbs”). These coarser crumbs give a pleasing texture to fried items. Other products used are fresh bread crumbs, crushed corn flakes or other cereal, cracker meal, and cornmeal.
For small items like scallops and oysters, breading may be done with the aid of a series of wire baskets placed in the flour, egg wash, and crumbs, instead of by hand. The procedure is the same except the baskets are used to lift and shake small quantities of the product and to transfer them to the next basket.
To keep one hand dry during breading, use your right hand (if you are right-handed; if left-handed, reverse the procedure) only for handling the flour and crumbs. Use your other hand for handling the product when it is wet. In order to keep your dry hand dry, never handle a wet product with that hand. For example, to complete the breading of an item that has been dipped in egg wash, place it in the pan of crumbs and push more crumbs over the top of the item, as shown in Figure 7.27, and then pat them down, so all sides of the item are covered in dry crumbs before you pick it up.