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Judy Wilson

[Modernist Cuisine] Fries (3•322-324 and 6•160-161)

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We have five different recipes for fries in MC (pommes pont-neuf, pectinase-steeped, starch-infused, ultrasonic, and ultrasonic starch-infused).

Has anybody done and taste-tests? Which is your favorite?


Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

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Judy said:

We have five different recipes for fries in MC (pommes pont-neuf, pectinase-steeped, starch-infused, ultrasonic, and ultrasonic starch-infused).

Has anybody done and taste-tests? Which is your favorite?

I've done the triple-cooked Heston Blumenthal pommes pont-nuef, and served them with his mushroom ketchupwith great success. However,the recent update from Maxine Billet is going to inspire me to try some of the other variations, including brining the potatoes before sealing them, and the starch infusion process.

A couple of comments, however.

1. MC suggest par-boiling the fries for 20 minutes. I find that despite being at 7000 ft, that is too long, the Russet potatoes I use fall apart too easily. I've reduced the time to 15 minutes.

2. Vacuum cooling and drying sometimes makes my chamber vacuum go into an error condition, because it can't reach the 99% level when the fries are still moist. I've had to reduce the vacuum percentage to 95% for the first couple of cycles.

3. For reasons that I don't understand, there isn't an electric deep fryer on the market that will go above 202C/395F. I recently bought the Krups Professional, which does an admirable job of filtering out the grease smell with the charcoal filter, but it doesn't get quite hot enough. However, getting out a Le Crueset pan and doing it on the stove top without a thermometer is just too much of a pain, so I end up cooking them a little longer on the second fry step.

4. I'm presently using Crisco vegetable oil rather than the peanut oil I used to use. I filter the oil after each use, using a paint filter from the hardware store with a cheesecloth-like gauze filter at the bottom to get with of any residue. A coffee filter was just too slow.

Now a question/challenge for the MC staff: Dow Chemical, in their Product Selection Guide for METHOCEL Food Gums (http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_04f6/0901b803804f6660.pdf?filepath=/194-00001.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc), page 8, recommends METHOCEL A15 FG or E19 FG at a 0.5-2.5% use level for "French Fry Dipping Solutions."

The benefits are said to be that Thermal gelation reduces batter blowoff (whatever that might be), and extends the life of cooking oils; and freeze/thaw stability helps prevent batters from cracking and loosening on frozen foods.

Has anyone tried methylcellulose for such an application (I haven't)? Would it only be useful when making frozen french fries for commercial use? How about when making the starch-infused fries?

It appears from the cartoons above the text on that page that it should be useful for "Krispy Fries" and also fried shrimp.

Bob

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Robert Jueneman said:

Judy said:

We have five different recipes for fries in MC (pommes pont-neuf, pectinase-steeped, starch-infused, ultrasonic, and ultrasonic starch-infused).

Has anybody done and taste-tests? Which is your favorite?

I've done the triple-cooked Heston Blumenthal pommes pont-nuef, and served them with his mushroom ketchupwith great success. However,the recent update from Maxine Billet is going to inspire me to try some of the other variations, including brining the potatoes before sealing them, and the starch infusion process.

A couple of comments, however.

1. MC suggest par-boiling the fries for 20 minutes. I find that despite being at 7000 ft, that is too long, the Russet potatoes I use fall apart too easily. I've reduced the time to 15 minutes.

2. Vacuum cooling and drying sometimes makes my chamber vacuum go into an error condition, because it can't reach the 99% level when the fries are still moist. I've had to reduce the vacuum percentage to 95% for the first couple of cycles.

3. For reasons that I don't understand, there isn't an electric deep fryer on the market that will go above 202C/395F. I recently bought the Krups Professional, which does an admirable job of filtering out the grease smell with the charcoal filter, but it doesn't get quite hot enough. However, getting out a Le Crueset pan and doing it on the stove top without a thermometer is just too much of a pain, so I end up cooking them a little longer on the second fry step.

4. I'm presently using Crisco vegetable oil rather than the peanut oil I used to use. I filter the oil after each use, using a paint filter from the hardware store with a cheesecloth-like gauze filter at the bottom to get with of any residue. A coffee filter was just too slow.

Now a question/challenge for the MC staff: Dow Chemical, in their Product Selection Guide for METHOCEL Food Gums (
), page 8, recommends METHOCEL A15 FG or E19 FG at a 0.5-2.5% use level for "French Fry Dipping Solutions."

The benefits are said to be that Thermal gelation reduces batter blowoff (whatever that might be), and extends the life of cooking oils; and freeze/thaw stability helps prevent batters from cracking and loosening on frozen foods.

Has anyone tried methylcellulose for such an application (I haven't)? Would it only be useful when making frozen french fries for commercial use? How about when making the starch-infused fries?

It appears from the cartoons above the text on that page that it should be useful for "Krispy Fries" and also fried shrimp.

Bob

It prevents oil absorption, forming a membrane around the fries. One of the benefits with batter is that it will set the batter right away.

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Judy said:

We have five different recipes for fries in MC (pommes pont-neuf, pectinase-steeped, starch-infused, ultrasonic, and ultrasonic starch-infused).

Has anybody done and taste-tests? Which is your favorite?

I recently received a Branson B5510DTH ultrasonic cleaner (2.5 gal), and I want to try the ultrasonic starch infused fries. However, the recipe on 3-325 is a little light on some of the details, so I have some questions:

[*]The first step after cutting the fires is to seal them in a salt solution, and then cook them at 100°C. I understand why this might be convenient if you have a Combi oven, but is there any reason why they can‚’t be cooked on a stove top, using an ordinary pan (perhaps an oven roasting pan)?

[*]The next step is to whisk together the potato starch and water, and vacuum seal with the potatoes. I assume the potatoes should be in a single layer, correct? Does it matter if they are touching?

[*]I bought the perforated pan with the Branson unit, but now it occurs to me that I should have perhaps bought the solid pan. Then I could just put the potatoes in the starch/water mixture, so they could move around. Does the vacuum bag do anything special, other than facilitate flipping it?

[*]Step 10 says, ‚“Place the hot fries in the vacuum chamber.” My Branson unit has a heating capability, but how hot is hot? With the cover on, the temperature should reach 62°C. Is that hot enough?

[*]I‚’ve had some problem with excessive water vapor contaminating the oil in my chamber vacuum, and for that reason I was thinking about using the convection/drying function on my JennAir oven for the drying function after the boiling step, rather that the vacuum. It will go down as low as 38°C/100°F ”” is that cool enough? If necessary, I suppose I could dry them in the oven, and then pop them in the vacuum for a final drying step.

[*]At least one user has reported storing the dried, boiled potatoes in the fridge overnight, and raved about them. Any thoughts?

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Today/tonight I made the starch-infused ultrasonic French fries from MC, and my wife and I agreed that they were absolutely the best we had ever eaten, bar none! They were deliciously crunchy on the outside, and soft and succulent, rather like a baked potato, on the inside.

Even thought the initial cost was about $75 per fry considering the cost of the Branson ultrasonic cleaner, I think it will be well worth it over time.

Because I don't have a combi oven, I cooked three potatoes (750 g, divided onto two bags, after brining them) in a big pan in water on the stove, in two SV bags.

I then drained them and let them cool in the freezer for about 20 minutes, while I made up the potato starch mixture.

I drained the original water mixture and transferred the potatoes to two new bags, and added the potato starch mixture, then put them in the Branson ultrasonic cleaner, which had been degassed and brought up to 64C. After 20 minutes, I flipped the two bags over, and gave them another 20 minutes.

I then put the fries on a rack, and put them in my JennAire oven on the dryer function at 100F for about 20 minutes. After that, I transferred the fries to a rack, and put them in my chamber vacuum and ran it it five times at maximum vacuum. Several times it timed out, unable to reach maximum 99% vacuum, so I had to stop and restart it.

Then I put them in my Krups Professional Deep Fryer at 330F for three minutes, and afterwards put them on rack in my garage, with an electric fan blowing on them to cool them.

Then finally back in the deep fryer at the maximum setting (375F), but unfortunately this isn't quite hot enough. So instead of merely 3 minutes, I had to give the fries closer to 6 minutes to reach a nice goldren-brown color

Served with ketchup and Boar's Head Creole mustard, together with two SV lamb shoulder chops, with rosemary and garlic confit, the results were absolutely worth the effort!

Bob

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Nice! I'm trying today four small batches with different recipes (pont-neuf, the ones in "Heston Blumenthal at Home", starch-infused, and ultrasonic):

patatas-fritas-4-tipos-tras-1a-fritura.jpg

This is the aspect after the first deep fry at low temperature. They are now in the freezer, waiting for the second fry.

I could not replicate the exact recipes: used a clamp-type vacuum machine instead of a chamber machine, and my old deep fryer only heats between 150ºC and 185ºC. Also used heat in the ultrasonic bath, then realized it was not required, and the fries in that batch are almost falling down.

Will report again when the experiment is finished.

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Robert Jueneman said:

then put them in the Branson ultrasonic cleaner, which had been degassed and brought up to 64C. After 20 minutes, I flipped the two bags over, and gave them another 20 minutes.

Robert, so you used heat in the ultrasonic cleaner and only 20 minutes per side? I started with heat but then did not see any heating indication in the recipe and stopped the heat. And I used 45 minutes per side for only 6 fries. They went out of the cleaner falling apart too much... wonder if it was the temperature or the time...

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The test is finished. Results should not be very conclusive as I was not able to exactly replicate each of the recipes, but, taking this into account, our favorites were the pommes pont-neuf for the interior, and the ultrasonic for the crunchy exterior.

The fact that the ultrasonic were falling apart provided much more irregularities and crevices, so I cannot determine whether the crunchiness was coming from the ultrasonic bath or from the longer cooking.

For the next set of tests I want to try whether cooling in a canister with a clamp-type vacuum machine, as opposed to a chamber one, adds something or not. Also want to try the ultrasonic & starch-infused, but using a shorter time in the ultrasonic bath.

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