There would be hardly any non-vegetarian who will say that he does not like to eat chicken. It is an interesting fact that nowadays chicken has become the most consumed form of meat in the world. These days a huge variety of dishes solely depend upon chicken as an essential ingredient. However, the original taste of chicken can be truly relished by baking it raw over the fire. The chicken breast is unanimously considered the yummiest part of a baked chicken. Its boneless white layers of meat have the mouth-watering effect on any meat lover. If baked properly, its tenderness and juicy taste make it a matchless treat that is easy to chew and swallow. Improper baking makes the chicken breast rubbery, which is difficult to eat as it turns into a dry mass inside the mouth.
There are a lot of recipes as people all over the globe have their own standard of good roasted chicken and everyone prefers his own style to bake the chicken accordingly. For a well-baked chicken it is necessary that the taste of seasoning reaches to the innermost layer of each and every piece of the meat. It should be easy to cut with a knife and convenient to chew and swallow. Every inch of it should be baked precisely, neither more nor less, ensuring uniformity of taste. A simple five step recipe to bake chicken breast is as under:
First step: Brining
It is very important to brine the chicken as it makes the chicken moist and ready for baking. The brining adds a great deal of taste to the chicken which can never be obtained otherwise. The method is very simple and easy. It just requires a bowl of water and a little amount of salt. Add a smatter of salt to the bowl containing warm water. Stir it well until the salt is completely mixed and the solution of brine is ready. Soak the chicken pieces in the bowl for at least 30 minutes however the chicken should not be left soaked for more than 5 hours. After brining, it is necessary to wash the chicken pieces in cold water and dry them afterwards.
Second step: Brushing
It is highly recommended to apply butter on the pieces before placing them in the baking dish. Instead of butter, you can use olive oil or any other cooking oil of your choice. If the pieces are of irregular thickness, pound them with the meat mallet to ensure a rough consistency. Brush the butter or oil on both sides of the pieces in such a way that it covers all the area. Care for applying enough oil that may prevent the pieces from sticking to the pan. This process turns the outer layer of chicken into delicious brown crust at the end. The crust is very tasty and everyone loves to eat it.
Third step: Rubbing
In this step, you are required to apply your favourite seasoning to the chicken pieces. The simplest of all is the combination of salt and pepper. A common flavoring includes salt, lemon pepper, garlic and cumin powder, paprika, chili powder and some other spices depending on an individual’s choice. It is advisable to rub a proportionate and balanced amount of seasoning so that it can ensure the desired taste. In some cultures, people like a little more spicy chicken than others while mostly the spices are avoided as much as possible. Therefore, the seasoning always varies from place to place and there is no specific ingredients and quantity for it.
Fourth step: Roasting
There are two ways to bake the chicken. One is the slow and low method in which the heat is kept low and it takes more time to roast. The advisable temperature and time quantity are 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The other method is fast and high one in which the chicken is baked in less time on high temperature preferably at 450 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. The choice of method depends upon the thickness and sizes of the pieces. The high temperature is mostly prefered because it is quick and forms a hard crust which is loved by everyone. Small cooking thermometers are used to confirm whether the chicken is baked properly or not. It is also suggested to make small cuts on the pieces before baking. It helps in draining out the excessive amount of water absorbed by the chicken pieces during the process of brining.
Fifth step: Resting
After the roasting concludes, there should be a span of time to let the chicken absorb back the delicious juices which can be lost if it is immediately cut into pieces right after taking it out from the oven. After the chicken is out from the oven, an aluminium foil is used to wrap up the pan to cover the chicken for a good 10 minutes. When the rest time is over, slice and shred the chicken as per your desire. You can eat these pieces for up to three days if refrigerated properly or up to 3 months if stored in a freezer.
To bake the chicken perfectly, there are some important points that should be kept in mind:
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, average boneless breast piece of chicken must be baked at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. This is required to kill the Salmonella which is a foodborne bacteria that is responsible for more than 450 deaths per year.
- Cross-contamination must be taken care of by cleaning everything before its contact with the raw poultry as bacteria can pass on from one surface to the other.
- Including chicken, everything that we buy from the market must be washed properly before cooking as we are unaware of the environment it has come from.
- Cooked chicken should be refrigerated within two hours after baking.