Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 1 - Screw-Ups Revisited

I wasn't sure at first what to make for screw-ups revisited as nothing major came to mind right away. I asked A, and he quickly volunteered the mozzarella sticks that I made for a challenge last year. Yeah, that was a pretty big failure and probably worthy of a re-do.

Last time, the mozzarella sticks turned into an entire melted sheet of cheese with bread crumbs on it, where I had to actually slice it up to turn them into sticks. I searched online for other recipes for baked mozzarella sticks and came up with one on Real Food by Dad that sounded like it might work. It was also simpler than the other recipe I used the first time, as it could be done quickly and required no refrigeration after dredging.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, using Italian bread crumbs and not toasting them (although they probably would have been better toasted), omitting the salt, and only making 8 sticks. Generally, the breading and dredging was the same as last time - one bowl with flour, one with a beaten egg, and one with the bread crumbs plus some freshly grated parmesan. The sticks went into each of those bowls in order and then were put on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet.

The first few sticks turned out horribly and I realized it was because not much egg was sticking to them. I remedied that later so some of them turned out double-dipped. It didn't end up as clumpy as usual when I try to dredge things, so I guess that's an improvement. Once they were ready, they baked at 425 degrees for 3 minutes (instead of the 8 minutes I tried last time). 

After 3 minutes, the cheese was just starting to ooze out, so that was a good amount of time to cook the cheese, but because of how short the period of time was that they were in there, they hadn't really crisped up at all so you couldn't pick them up with your fingers (unlike last time when you could but they were just a block of melted cheese that hardened after cooling). The breading also didn't seem very "cooked" (which is probably why toasting it in advance would have tasted better). They were just so limp and had to be eaten with a fork.

These baked mozzarella sticks turned out better than last time but still not great. They did stay together and didn't melt all over the place. (The one on the end in that picture that looks like it did but that was because I accidentally split that stick pulling it out of the package, so it was never together to begin with.) They didn't become one sheet of cheese. They were individual sticks. But they weren't what I was hoping for. I don't quite know what I'm doing wrong, as I put on as much breading as I could, but maybe I'm just not meant to make baked mozzarella sticks (which, considering my lactose intolerance, really isn't the worst thing in the world to be bad at).

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