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Secret to CRISPY French fries?


Margaret Pilgrim
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We've finally aced deep frying chicken, fish and prawns, veg tempura too.    But French fries continue to be soggy.    I've read that pre-soaking and thorough drying is the clue.    I get the first but not terribly successful on the latter.

 

What's your method?    

eGullet member #80.

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There are a lot of topics that go through many methods for making super French fries... If I wasn't traveling and only using a pita cell phone, I'd link a few... Maybe someone else can help?

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We've discussed this somewhere on eG. The cold oil method works great in my hands. The objection that it would make fries greasy doesn't hold up unless you have battered the fries with something. Oil will penetrate batter but not a very moist stick of potato.

 

here it is...

 

Edited by gfweb (log)
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Robuchon, heh, who knew?    I wonder, theoretically, if one could start the fries in the cold oil, bring them up to the area of the "par-fry, not browned" part of the traditional dual fry method, remove them and let them drain on paper; while that is happening, bring the oil up to the 375F-ish final fry temp and put the fries back in to the final crisp/brown?    I thought the reason for the dual fry was something about the starches in the potatoes relaxing(?) or cooling down(?) on the surface that gives the crispy exterior.  I think I saw that on a video about a visit to a real Belgian frite shop.

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1 hour ago, lemniscate said:

Robuchon, heh, who knew?    I wonder, theoretically, if one could start the fries in the cold oil, bring them up to the area of the "par-fry, not browned" part of the traditional dual fry method, remove them and let them drain on paper; while that is happening, bring the oil up to the 375F-ish final fry temp and put the fries back in to the final crisp/brown?    I thought the reason for the dual fry was something about the starches in the potatoes relaxing(?) or cooling down(?) on the surface that gives the crispy exterior.  I think I saw that on a video about a visit to a real Belgian frite shop.

 

That's all true, say the food scientists.

 

But the other method is so easy and quick esp for a serving of 1 or 2 people

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  • 10 months later...

Last week while perusing the dinner thread for both inspiration, appetite building, and awe (you all are so friggin' awesome), I learned about the thrice-cooked fries at chefsteps through this post by @btbyrd

 

I have yet to be successful making fries (heck, I'm terrible with fried foods for some reason, just don't "get it"!).  Researching the chefsteps recipe made me hopeful I could finally overcome the frying hurdle.  End result?  Disappointing.  The fries tasted great - note that I don't like potatoes - but they were not crispy.  They retained a hard shell initially, but after a few minutes they were soft everywhere... except along the edges!  My process was nearly identical to what they did, except I used corn syrup for glucose (same thing, right?) and I vacuum sealed in mason jars instead of bags.  Fried at lower temp, then freezer for 18 hours.  Pictures attached.

 

I'm not looking to troubleshoot what went wrong right now, but rather, I'd like to hear your opinion on this other method I learned yesterday, where you start with the potatoes in cold oil, and bring them up to temperature.  There's no blanching, freezing, double/triple cooking, etc.  I am curious to try it, given the simplicity, however, I'm concerned they'll be very oily, with the assumption that foods in oil temps below 350F absorb the oil...  If it works, then it seems like a great method for the occasional single serving of fries.

 

Thoughts on this one-step method?  Thanks for your time :)

first fry.jpg

second fry.jpg

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I have done twice fried obviously.  The fry then refridge or freeze and fry again method.  I have done the Reblochon method.    They are fine.

 

But one thing I hate, hate, HATE, is fries that are treated with some cornstarch or flour to make them crisp.  To me, crisp or not, but it ruins the fry/frites taste!!!

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I believe @Shelby has done the double-temperature fries more than once. Maybe she'll weigh in on the method.

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6 hours ago, jedovaty said:

your opinion on this other method I learned yesterday, where you start with the potatoes in cold oil, and bring them up to temperature.  There's no blanching, freezing, double/triple cooking, etc.  I am curious to try it, given the simplicity, however, I'm concerned they'll be very oily, with the assumption that foods in oil temps below 350F absorb the oil...  If it works, then it seems like a great method for the occasional single serving of fries.

 

I did the one step method a few weeks ago.  I was extremely happy with the results.  I did the 1/4ish inch cut with  2 plain old russets, soaked a bit to get some of the starch off,  put them in cold corn oil in a large skillet on the outside induction and set it to high.

 

I think they were done to our liking in about 20 min, maybe a bit less.  Not greasy, I repeat, not greasy, not oily, not floppy.   Crisp on outside, fluffy on inside.  I am told the excess moisture of the potato cooks out slowly while the oil heats.  No splattering either.  I did stir them around a bit as they cooked to make sure they were even.  I don't have the after pics, I just grabbed a before pic for a friend who did not believe such a technique could work.  

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 3.20.31 PM.png

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Hmm okay thank you all, I will give it a go next time I get potatoes.  I'd actually like to try this with wings (I prefer them without batter/breading/coating).  And curiosity leads me to wonder whether battered goods would work, too, probably not.

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57 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Hmm okay thank you all, I will give it a go next time I get potatoes.  I'd actually like to try this with wings (I prefer them without batter/breading/coating).  And curiosity leads me to wonder whether battered goods would work, too, probably not.

 

I suspect that the batter would get very greasy. The potatoes remain non-greasy because they are moist internally and repel the oil.

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On 5/27/2020 at 8:16 PM, Chimayo Joe said:

I ran across this on youtube a while ago.  It's a method for oven fries from America's Test Kitchen's channel.  I haven't tried it, but it looks promising.

 

https://youtu.be/Al4LYwOKsxw

 

I tried these last night.  It's a gloopy mess working with that cornstarch mixture and the potatoes.  That said, these first few were very good, but as they cooled, they were no longer crisp.  I'd just as soon have smashed potatoes.

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On 5/28/2020 at 11:56 AM, Dave W said:

Cold oil fries method works great, I use it all the time! I don't know if it will get OP the crispness desired, but it is an extremely serviceable french fry.

I used the cold oil method last night.    Fries were CRISP and remained so to the last straw.      3/8" cut, BTW.

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eGullet member #80.

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5 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

I tried these last night.  It's a gloopy mess working with that cornstarch mixture and the potatoes.  That said, these first few were very good, but as they cooled, they were no longer crisp.  I'd just as soon have smashed potatoes.


Sorry to hear that didn't work out. ATK is pretty reliable, often time-consuming but their recipes usually work.  Sounds like they didn't account for real world conditions.  If they're only good when they first come out of the oven, that's a problem. I still may give it a try, maybe play around with how long i let them bake.

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Hi, I tried from-cold fry with potatoes, confirmed, worked well, so far the crispiest fries I've been able to make, including the double and triple-cooked methods, freezing, etc. Super easy for a single portion!  😁

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13 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Hi, I tried from-cold fry with potatoes, confirmed, worked well, so far the crispiest fries I've been able to make, including the double and triple-cooked methods, freezing, etc. Super easy for a single portion!  😁

Yeah this is my favorite part you can do 1-2 servings in just a cup of oil in a small saucepan

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