Set up a station with three medium-sized bowls. Add one portion of the flour to the first bowl. Add the remaining flour to the second bowl, adding in half the salt and cornstarch to the second bowl. Mix well, then add in the water and whisk until smooth – the consistency should be similar to an egg wash in thickness. In the third bowl, combine the panko, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion granules and fresh cracked pepper.
To bread the cheese, work in small batches of 2 or 3 pieces at a time. Dust the cheese slices in the first bowl, tapping off any excess. Dunk the cheese into the wet mixture, then transfer to the panko mixture, pressing the breading evenly over the cheese. Transfer the breaded cheese to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining cheese.
Critical step. Place the plate of cheese sticks into the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes before frying. By chilling the sticks they will fry much better and keep the breading intact during the process.
To fry the cheese, bring several inches of oil to 350 or 375 over medium heat. Test the oil with a crumb of the breading. Once the oil is ready, gently drop the cheese into the oil, working in small batches, and fry until golden brown all over. Transfer to a cooling rack gently placed over a baking sheet to catch excess oil and repeat the process with the remaining cheese.
Serve immediately with Nana’s marinara sauce.