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French fries


yvonne johnson
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In "How to Read a French Fry" Russ Parsons points out that new oil will not give you the perfect brown french fry you might expect. He suggests using oil that has already been broken in or add a tablespoon of old oil to a cup of new for better results.

I used to make fries at this drive-in restaurant, and I cooked a lot of fries. I hated it whenever the lard was fresh, because you could fry those fries forever and they just never did get nicely brown.

I also found that once the frozen fries thawed even a little bit before putting into the deep fry basket, they wouldn't come out as nice either. So I kept the tray 1/2 full, and went into the cooler more frequently to get truly frozen fries to work with.

I didn't like to leave them drain in the basket very long as they would lose their crispness, so I strived to have fries ready as needed rather than too many ahead of time.

I still do the same thing when using fresh potatoes at home. I use the mandoline to slice them (usually with skin on), then I put them in a colander and into the freezer until they're pretty much solid. Never have bothered to rinse them, so I can't comment on that. I set the frier at 375, and try not to put too many fries in the basket at once so that the fryer can "keep up" with the heat sink that frozen fries are to the hot oil. (The city won't allow me to put in a commercial fryer!)

I tend to use freshly ground black pepper on my fries, not too much sea salt, and I use homemade ketchup to dunk them in.

doc

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  • 10 months later...

so, it's kind of a pain to do the blanching, cooling and refrying of french fries in one evening. so i'm thinking, can i blanch the fries, then cool and freeze them, and do the second frying later? this would allow me to blanch a whole bunch of them at once, and then fry in small batches as we eat them.

this is what they do in restaurants to speed things up at the moment of service, right?

corollary question: if i did this, could i fry them from frozen, or should i defrost first?

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so, it's kind of a pain to do the blanching, cooling and refrying of french fries in one evening.  so i'm thinking, can i blanch the fries, then cool and freeze them, and do the second frying later?  this would allow me to blanch a whole bunch of them at once, and then fry in small batches as we eat them.

this is what they do in restaurants to speed things up at the moment of service, right?

corollary question: if i did this, could i fry them from frozen, or should i defrost first?

I do not see why you couldn't blanch and refreeze them.

But response to your corollary is a solid "maybe". That depends on the size of your fries. If you have dainty fries of 1/4 inch or so on a side, or a very acute angled steak/home fry, no problem.

If you have larger fries, then you ought to defrost them.

That's my opinion, though. I don't fry much. I'm a horrible member.

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I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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yeah, i bet you're right, jsolomon--there's the real risk of the fries browning before they're heated all the way through, if they're too thick and i'm cooking from frozen.

i'm also thinking there are two real problems with putting frozen fries into hot oil:

1. condensation from being frozen causing big ol bubbling/splattering issues

2. the oil temp dropping more drastically than usual because after all i'm putting a pile of frozen potatoes in it. this one could be solved by frying in more small batches.

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I have seen wizened old chip truck proprietors blanch and hold fries in the on board refrigerator for a day or so, in plastic bags; they maintained that several days of holding were possible, but they never froze them, for the above noted reasons.

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From what I've seen, most restaurants that make their own fries don't freeze them. And if they care enough to fry them twice, they typically do the first frying (aka blanching) before service and keep a big pile on hand to fry the second time to order.

Most restaurants, however, don't make their own fries. At a place like McDonald's, and at a whole lot of other restaurants, the fries are cut, cooked and frozen at big industrial facilities and when they're cooked at the restaurant they go directly from the freezer to the fryer. This method can produce very good fries -- not the best, but very good.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yeah, but I'm not sure if the frozen fries that go to Mcdonalds restaurants are packaged in any specific way to prevent freezer burn and such, like with vac sealed bags, or if there is a special blanching process, etc -- I do know that beef flavor is added during the prep. I'm guessing that given the volume of fries that Mcdonalds goes thru, they must go from the plants to the franchises very quickly.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Frying from frozen works well, as long as you

1. Allow the potatoes to cool down well before freezing to prevent frost on the surfaces (less splatter when they hit the oil) and

2. Fry at 190C in batches small enough so that the temp does not drop too much (or, of course, use a decent fryer).

I fried some frozen potato wedges yesterday morning and the kids who asked for it in lieu of the brie fritters pronounced it great!

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Frying from frozen works well, as long as you

Yep. I ran the food service at a community center that had a high-school in it. We sold a lot of fries. We'd peel, cut and blanch 400-500 lbs. of potatoes a week. Once blanched we spread them out on baking sheets lined with parchment and froze them. Into plastic bags and back into the freezer. They went right into the fryer from the freezer with no problems. Ended up with a crisp outside, soft inside.

Frying oil doesn't like moisture, but blanching that many potatoes meant changing the oil frequently anyway.

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thanks for all the replies. the reason i ask about how restaurants do it is that often we can take a tip from them as far as efficiency--if you can scale it down to a usable home technique, doing things the way restaurants do can really make your life easier (cf making and reducing stock).

the nice thing about this one is that buying 10 lbs of potatoes costs about $2, and a big ol bottle of oil costs like $6, so for $8 i can have my answer. i just figured i'd check and see if anyone had done this already at home...

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try baking the potatoes, refridgerating them till cold, cut them up, then freeze.

thanks for all the replies.  the reason i ask about how restaurants do it is that often we can take a tip from them as far as efficiency--if you can scale it down to a usable home technique, doing things the way restaurants do can really make your life easier (cf making and reducing stock).

the nice thing about this one is that buying 10 lbs of potatoes costs about $2, and a big ol bottle of oil costs like $6, so for $8 i can have my answer.  i just figured i'd check and see if anyone had done this already at home...

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try baking the potatoes, refridgerating them till cold, cut them up, then freeze.

Don't forget to fry some plantains, while you're at it!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I'm pretty sure that the basic frozen fries you get at the grocery store are blanched. Let them thaw, and you'll see all the essential properties of fries that you blanched yourself. In fact, if I don't have time to do fries from scratch, this is my preferred method.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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  • 2 years later...

I would like to make french fries for the very first time in my life, but I don't know if I have the proper frying vessel. I know from reading that the pan should be heavy duty and the only really heavy duty pan that I have is a La Creuset. Can I use it? Or is the oil temp too high for it?

I have a very large stainless steel pan that is heavy duty that I use for shallow frying, but the sides are not high enough for deep frying (...its only like 4 inches tall...)

Thank you :smile:

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I have never used this method for making french fries . I tried it long time a go but the fries at the bottom tend to get much more attention than the ones on top as a result they are not same throughout the pan :sad:

Edited by Talat_kas (log)

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I am glad this topic got reopened, I've been wondering why I was getting such sucky results from my double frying. I think the answer is I was not letting them cool between fry sessions.

As much as I love fries, Red Bliss potatoes are so good steamed in butter and herbs, and then eaten cold the next day, I couldn't bring myself to fry them. : ) I stick with russets.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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  • 1 year later...

I was excited to see today on the Cooking Issues blog that Dave and Nils will be applying their full genius to french fries: a most important endeavor, if you ask me. This opening post just touches on the main issues, but it looks like they will be going whole-hog on this one, testing a whole bunch of different variations and naturally applying a great deal of real live published scientific research to their process.

A fry-cook can be judged by their fries. At the FCI we make really good ones– but we want to make the best. Our technique is basically Blanch, Dry, Fry, Fry. We are currently exploring these phases in excruciating detail in our search for the perfect fry. Today, I’ll walk you through our current recipe –and explore a simple alternative. Next Time, the first serious FF investigation: blanching.

The Perfect Fry:

Perfect French fries are super crunchy on the outside with a good cooked-potato texture and flavor on the inside. They shouldn’t taste too greasy. They should be salty. They should stay crispy for at least 10 minutes. Easy, right?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 9 years later...

Has there been any scientific progress in the last nine years?  Here are my fries from tonight:

 

Fries108242019.png

 

First fry.

 

 

Fries208242019.png

 

Second fry.  If anything the second fry got too crispy.  I followed the Potato Primer, except taking after Kenji I added vinegar to the boil.  Still not bad at all.  None remained uneaten.

 

 

 

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