The classic fried-chicken I remember was fried to perfection in an electric frypan using vegetable shortening. It was prepared by dipping the chicken pieces in vinegar-soured milk, then to dredge the pieces in flour, and season them with salt and pepper before cooking.
The other option was to prepare the chicken by shaking it in a flavored breadcrumb-style coating before baking the coated meat in the oven to mimic the texture on the outside of the fried version. And, who could forget the brand, its name, and slogan when the enthusiastic children featured in the commercials, pictured helping their grandmothers making dinner, exclaimed: “It’s Shake-N-Bake. And, I helped!”
MY CHALLENGE IN REPLICATING THE CLASSIC HOME FIXED VERSIONS OF THOSE SUNDAY FAVORITES WAS TO RE-CREATE WHAT I LIKED MOST ABOUT THE TEXTURE, FLAVOR, AND TASTE OF EACH RECIPE INTO ONE NEW GLUTEN-FREE VERSION.
Through the trials, I did discover the secret ingredients that increased my success with each method. [read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]
Because I’m always experimenting with healthier options, I decided to focus my efforts on creating a version that is oven-baked, not fried, made without all the grease and the messy cleanup!
After several trials, my spin on the classic that I remember turned out fantastic!
Baking it renders the fat in the skin, cooking the coating as it bakes making it crispy. To up the crispiness, I additionally discovered a couple of little secrets, so read on to learn about these unlikely ingredients!
In the final version both the wet and dry ingredients to make it are also updated. My additions in spices, dijon mustard, and hot sauce make it a tiny bit zesty which keeps my dear hubby happy (he loves spicy food).
The tough part was tweaking the dry ingredient amounts to get the right coating consistency to stick to the chicken with having it evenly covered.
You’ll start by soaking the chicken to marinate it. You can marinate the mixture in the refrigerator for as little as 30-minutes up to several hours. Doing this will tenderize the meat and will allow the spices and crumb-coating mixture to stick better to the chicken pieces.
So, after reading nearly every recipe that I could find in my cookbook collection and online, I set to work experimenting with various techniques in making the perfect oven-baked gluten-free chicken. I tried many methods including a popular technique done in traditional frying by double-dredging. When you do double-dredging, you first shake the marinated chicken in seasoned flour then dip it in egg before the final dredging of it in a crumb or batter mixture.
What I found out was that double-dredging made the breading way too thick for baking. The coating turned crunchy on the outside, but it fell off the chicken easily in serving and eating it. I tried the same method in deep-frying. When I did that, it worked fine, and the taste was incredible, but deep-frying did not provide the healthier version I was seeking.
My first secret ingredient is baking powder. Baking powder is a leavening agent that increases the crunch factor by causing the wet and dry ingredients of the marinade and the crumb-coating to work together and rise in tiny bubbles as it bakes. Then, to add super crunch in the recipe, the next secret ingredient ideas I came up with was to use 1/4-Cup each of gluten-free Corn Chex cereal (finely crushed) and toasted gluten-free bread crumbs (I make my toasted crumbs) to add the desired texture to the coating.
This version turned out to be better than I ever dreamed. The spice-flavored crumb-style coating is not too heavy, its lightly crunchy and the chicken bakes up flavorful and juicy on the inside for that classically fried chicken crunch, texture, and taste.