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Fries / Chips / Frites -- eG Cook-Off 45


Pam R
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Up thread Dougkas Baldwin mentions pre-cooking them sous vide at 185F/85C for 40 minutes. If you do not unseal or puncture  the bag, the contents are effectively sterile, like canning and will keep for a week or two in a cold dark place.

While they are certainly pasteurized, they are not shelf-stable or sterilized. Since many spore forming microorganisms are found in dirt, we cannot assume that the potatoes will be essentially sterile (as we often do with the interior of intact muscles meat). Indeed, a dozen or more academic journal articles mention B. cereus and Clostridium spp. spores in potatoes prepared sous vide. Thus, I would recommend rapidly chilling the potatoes (in the vacuum pouch) and storing below 39F/4C to prevent the outgrowth and multiplication of B. cereus.

Edit: Fixed typo.

Edited by DouglasBaldwin (log)

My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."

My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK

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I decided to try the Robuchon method linked above first, since it's fairly straightforward.

Set-up:

gallery_41378_5233_2272.jpg

I started with one potato of undetermined breed. It was big, yellow, and waxy inside - I suspect a kita akari potato. I cut fairly thin fries, since the Robuchon topic suggests smaller fries are more successful. I put them into room temp oil and brought the temperature up to 175 degrees (I had a bit of a turn waiting for the temp to rise until I realized my thermometer was in Celcius), when they started to get quite dark. I pulled them, drained them, and tossed in salt. They were limp, creamy inside, and darkly brown on the outside. Exactly how I like them, but I suspect they'd be considered a failure by most people here.

With a squidge of kewpie mayonnaise:

gallery_41378_5233_163136.jpg

I have a bowl of sliced sweet potatoes soaking, and a plate of pre-cooked potatoes cooling in the fridge for a triple cook process later. I will have my husband judge these methods later, when he returns home.

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I guess I don't understand the "low fat" baked "fries" where one coats a few potatoes worth of fries with oil and then bakes them to doneness.  This way, you are for sure getting the whole 2 tablespoons of oil.  Meanwhile, it's not at all clear to me that two potatoes worth of fries that are fried in oil will absorb two tablespoons of oil.

I agree with you Sam.

Many studies have shown that oil does not penetrate the fries during frying, but during the cooling period after the fry is removed from the oil. In general, the final oil content is proportional to amount of moisture lost during frying; so, decreasing the thickness, increasing the frying time, and/or increasing the temperature will all increase the final oil content.

My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."

My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK

My YouTube channel — a new work in progress.

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I decided to try the Robuchon method linked above first, since it's fairly straightforward.

Set-up:

gallery_41378_5233_2272.jpg

I started with one potato of undetermined breed. It was big, yellow, and waxy inside - I suspect a kita akari potato. I cut fairly thin fries, since the Robuchon topic suggests smaller fries are more successful. I put them into room temp oil and brought the temperature up to 175 degrees (I had a bit of a turn waiting for the temp to rise until I realized my thermometer was in Celcius), when they started to get quite dark. I pulled them, drained them, and tossed in salt. They were limp, creamy inside, and darkly brown on the outside. Exactly how I like them, but I suspect they'd be considered a failure by most people here.

With a squidge of kewpie mayonnaise:

gallery_41378_5233_163136.jpg

I have a bowl of sliced sweet potatoes soaking, and a plate of pre-cooked potatoes cooling in the fridge for a triple cook process later. I will have my husband judge these methods later, when he returns home.

Judging from my experience frying Kita Akari potatoes, I doubt they were those. Maybe they were May Queens?

Are your sweet potatoes satsumaimo, or did you manage to find some North American sweet potatoes? I'm always on the look out for those! I wonder how satsumaimo fries will turn out. For some reason, I thought sweet potatoes didn't need to be soaked for fries because the starch content is different than regular potatoes. Or something about them is different. Satsumaimo are so different from NA sweet potatoes, too, so definitely let us know how those turn out!

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I used satsuma imo. And they were crisp on a single fry. So crisp, in fact that the ones I'd sliced especially thinly were hard all the way through. I soaked them in a little vinegar water just to keep them from going brown, not to rid them of any starch.

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I used satsuma imo. And they were crisp on a single fry. So crisp, in fact that the ones I'd sliced especially thinly were hard all the way through. I soaked them in a little vinegar water just to keep them from going brown, not to rid them of any starch.

Were the ones that weren't too hard good enough for you to want to make them again? I've never had fried satsumaimo, unless you count daigaku imo (but those aren't really comparable to a french fry kind of potato). I never buy satsumaimo, though, but if they're good fried, I'd try it!

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And, Pam, what's this I see about red potatoes? Can you get them big enough for nice long spears? And does the interior turn into that mealy texture you get from the russets?

Yes, reds are large enough to get nice long spears. Last time I bought potatoes from the local wholesale (2 weeks ago), 50# bags of small/medium reds were running at $15.88 and the large were going for $18.75. So you're paying more for them, but they're more uniform and will give you nice long fries. I personally don't mind some random, shorter fries, so I went with the mediums.

And no, you don't get a mealy texture from the reds that you would from the russet . . and that's why I like them. I think russet fries are too dry. I prefer a creamier interior.

The double fry: why is the oil lower in temperature the first time around? As highlighted in some responses, this will increase fat absorption, which is not necessarily a desirable outcome.

I think the lower temp. first fry is to ensure that the potato is actually cooking through rather than browning too quickly and ending up with a dark exterior and raw interior.

I've always done the two-fry method. At times I've soaked the cut chips in water, at times not. For a small batch at home, I cut, soak, drain and dry then double fry.

When to freeze? My thinking is that you could do the initial preparation by boiling, cooling them in the fridge, then doing the first fry. The oil coating on frozen chips suggests that commercial producers do something like this (without the initial boiling and cooling). At this stage, they could be frozen, stored and later added frozen to hot oil for the final deep fry.

When I had a restaurant, we would peel, cut, fry once, spread out on a baking sheet and freeze. Then bag them up and keep in the freezer until we needed them. They would then be fried to order right out of the freezer.

These were done a couple of days ago. Tossed with a little salt and generously sprinkled with white vinegar.

gallery_25849_641_61936.jpg

Next I want to try sweet potato fries. I've never had any success with them and wonder if they need a coating of starch before they go into the fryer . .

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gallery_21505_6434_46982.jpg

OK, I did not make these, but I could not resist posting this picture.

For inspiration, you know. :wink:

The mayo on top is what call Belgian mayo, which has a lot more lemon juice that our regular Dutch mayo. I adore the sour tang of this mayo with the richness of the fries.

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The double fry: why is the oil lower in temperature the first time around? As highlighted in some responses, this will increase fat absorption, which is not necessarily a desirable outcome.

I think the lower temp. first fry is to ensure that the potato is actually cooking through rather than browning too quickly and ending up with a dark exterior and raw interior.

I've always done the two-fry method. At times I've soaked the cut chips in water, at times not. For a small batch at home, I cut, soak, drain and dry then double fry.

Thanks Pam. This explains it for the double fry method; however, as the potato is totally cooked initially by way of being boiled first in the triple cook method I'm still left wondering whether a lower temperature is necessary on the first fry using that method.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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gallery_21505_6434_46982.jpg

OK, I did not make these, but I could not resist posting this picture.

For inspiration, you know.  :wink:

The mayo on top is what call Belgian mayo, which has a lot more lemon juice that our regular Dutch mayo. I adore the sour tang of this mayo with the richness of the fries.

Now THAT is a think of beauty! Those look so delicious - makes me want to hop on a plane. :biggrin:

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I have a question about the color of the finished fry.

As I look at all the pics posted so far, they all pretty much look the same as what I get when I make fries. A deep golden brown. Yet when I get fries at restaurants, they are usually much lighter in color. Not usually brown. Just a golden yellow. Not much brown. But they will be crispy.

What accounts for this? Is it the type of potato? Type of oil used? Temperatures used for first and/or second cook?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Last night I finished up with three more tries.

First, the triple cook method. Three minutes in the microwave oven, then a double fry:

gallery_41378_5233_39967.jpg

When I pulled them from the oil, they were definitely crisper than the ones made with the Robuchon method earlier, but went limp almost immediately. They had a creamy interior that I enjoyed - I hate mealy fries, I'm with Pam on this one.

Next, the double cook method:

gallery_41378_5233_114986.jpg

Not so crisp as the triple after being pulled out of the oil, but they did not get appreciably limper after sitting a minute or two. The inside was drier, and approaching mealy in some chips.

Finally, satsuma imo, for fun; these are a popular street snack in Korea.

gallery_41378_5233_244023.jpg

Garnished with shichimi togarashi. Very crisp with only a single fry in the oil. On the thicker chips, they had a mealy, sweet interior. Honestly, I think I cut them too thin, as most were too thin and hard all the way through for me to fully enjoy. Lesson: don't think a satsuma imo will behave the same way as an North American sweet potato.

They're worth another try cut with a thicker chip - maybe 2 cm thickness? I think they'd result in a crisp exterior with a mealy interior.

Dips:

I didn't have any ketchup in the house - it's one of those things I always mean to buy, but never get around to.

gallery_41378_5233_131919.jpg

I used chinese black vinegar (excellent - very malty); soy sauce, a favourite dip from Vietnam; and Kewpie mayonnaise. I considered pouring garlic butter over - a popular practice in Japanese and Vietnamese izakaya/ beer hois, but I didn't on account of cost - not health :biggrin:

Conclusions:

I'm at the mercy of my potatoes. Not one method yielded an acceptable crispness, so I have to think I've just got the wrong kind of potato. I enjoy them a little limp, they didn't go to waste. But I doubt I'll bother making fries at home again, although if I did, I'd use the Robuchon method - if I'm going to end up with limp fries, I'd might as well use the least-fuss way.

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The double fry: why is the oil lower in temperature the first time around? As highlighted in some responses, this will increase fat absorption, which is not necessarily a desirable outcome.

I think the lower temp. first fry is to ensure that the potato is actually cooking through rather than browning too quickly and ending up with a dark exterior and raw interior.

I've always done the two-fry method. At times I've soaked the cut chips in water, at times not. For a small batch at home, I cut, soak, drain and dry then double fry.

Thanks Pam. This explains it for the double fry method; however, as the potato is totally cooked initially by way of being boiled first in the triple cook method I'm still left wondering whether a lower temperature is necessary on the first fry using that method.

Right, it didn't twig for me that you were pre-cooking and then double frying. I've never done the three-step, just the double-fry method without pre-cooking and that's what I was thinking of.

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I'm at the mercy of my potatoes. Not one method yielded an acceptable crispness, so I have to think I've just got the wrong kind of potato.

Japanese potatoes suck for frying. I've tried several types, and even the ones I've been told are good for frying don't yield the kind of results some of the NA varieties will yield.

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In Japan, French fries are called fried potato or potato fry. Until I read this thread, I had never realized that making French fries could be so complicated. I thought of trying some of the tricks/tips described in this thread and elsewhere, but I ended up making them my usual way: Cut, soak, drain, dry, and deep-fry.

The oil was mixed vegetable oil (oil that I use for tempura making), and the potatoes were Kita Akari. I set the oil temperature to 160 C (320 F), and I deep-fried for 4-5 min.

The French fries were good enough for me. I have no idea as to what authentic French fries should be.

First batch, sprinkled with cheap table salt

gallery_16375_5796_70469.jpg

Second batch, sprinkled with expensive salt containing hondawara (a type of seaweed)

gallery_16375_5796_100968.jpg

gallery_16375_5796_99199.jpg

I've never made French fries alone. Tonight, I made chicken kara age, too, just like nakji did.

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I have a question about the color of the finished fry.

As I look at all the pics posted so far, they all pretty much look the same as what I get when  I make fries.  A deep golden brown.  Yet when I get fries at restaurants, they are usually much lighter in color. Not usually brown.  Just a golden yellow.  Not much brown. But they will be crispy.

What accounts for this? Is it the type of potato? Type of oil used?  Temperatures used for first and/or second cook?

Here's some information

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Fries go limp because the moisture migrating from inside dissolves the glassy sugars in the crisp exterior.

You need to dry and dehydrate them more before the finish fry.

I dried them extensively with paper towel in between fries. Are there any other methods for dehydrating them more? And does length of time between fries have any effect? I left them about an hour between each fry.

I've never made French fries alone. Tonight, I made chicken kara age, too, just like nakji did.

And they go really well, together, too, don't they? :smile:

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I dried them extensively with paper towel in between fries. Are there any other methods for dehydrating them more? And does length of time between fries have any effect? I left them about an hour between each fry.

I'd love to know the answer to this question as well. Most of the time, my results are the same whether I've let them dry an hour or four, room temperature or refrigerated.

Edited to add: 24 hours?! So much for last-minute fries. Would you recommend 24 hours in the fridge and then tossed in the freezer for future fries? Or would they then need to be dried another 24 hours after that second fry?

Edited by abooja (log)
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Towel is just the surface water. You need to leave them in a dry atmosphere (a fridge is convenient, or a sealed container with a silica gell dessicant) for say 24 hours between each step

Valuable information. When I'm able to face fried things again, say in six months or so, I'll try this out.

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Ok that doesn't make sense to me. The drying in between stages. I've had better luck cooking frozen supermarket fries (sad I know) than I do really good home made ones. The fsf go straight from the freezer into the oil ice crystals and all. They still manage to come out crisp and stay crisp as opposed to my hmf. I will have to admit I'm a huge McD's fries junkie so that's the taste I'm trying to recreate when I make fries at home. The old style type pre-vegetarian outrage. God I miss those....

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Ok here is my contribution tonight. Maris Piper potatoes cut and soaked for about an hour, dried on kitchen towels then cooked gently in duck fat for 20 minutes then finished on high heat for another 10. They were just right, stayed dry and crispy throughout the meal. The duck fat was flavoured with the lemon, garlic, thyme, bay & pepper used for the confit duck leg. So the chips had extra dimensions of flavour, yum yum:

gallery_52657_5922_117230.jpg

gallery_52657_5922_245936.jpg

gallery_52657_5922_110303.jpg

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