French Fry Question

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HumbleHomeCook

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Okay so I'm a fair hand at making my own fries in varying thicknesses but I want to start tossing some in the freezer for a quick, weeknight deploy.

Basically, I'm a Russet guy and I double fry.

Should I do an initial fry, pull them out and finish fry the night of consumption. Or, just cook them up all the way and quick fry them just before eating? I'm inclined to go with the former but thought I'd ask my foodie brethren. :)
 

M1k3

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Freeze after the first fry. Give a light dusting of corn starch after frying and cooling down, before laying them in a single layer to freeze.

Edit: Fry > cool > corn starch > single layer > freeze > later date fry from frozen or defrosted, depending on fryer strength.
 

Kippington

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How good is your fryer? Ideally you'd want to do the initial fry before freezing, but sometimes frozen chips cool the oil down too fast for a good final fry. It depends on your equipment and the batch size.
 

M1k3

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How good is your fryer? Ideally you'd want to do the initial fry before freezing, but sometimes frozen chips cool the oil down too fast for a good final fry. It depends on your equipment and the batch size.
Forgot about this. Used to commercial fryers.
 

coxhaus

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To me French Fries are too much trouble at home and never taste as good as commercial fries. We do tater tots in a convection oven instead. It is much simpler.
 

btbyrd

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I've almost stopped eating fries out because the ones you can make at home are much better (if you take your time and know what you're doing [and you live in the USA and not, say, Belgium]).

Anyway, freezing after the first fry is the best approach. I usually cook them before the first fry, but that's an extra step and people are lazy so YMMV. In any event, you want the first fry to be at a much lower temperature -- just enough to turn them blonde and form a bit of a crust (and to cook the interior if you're going from raw). Then get your oil up to a nice high temp (like 375), add your frozen fries, and crank the burner to compensate for the coming drop in heat. From that point, just cook them until they look done.
 

coxhaus

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The problem to me is you don't have a big enough vat of oil at home which means you will end up with greasy fries or burnt fries. I don't like either. But to tell the truth I eat very few fries as I am real picky.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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I make some damn fine fries and potato chips. I've just never tried making them in advance and freezing them, hence the question.
 

MarcelNL

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I like fries when they are fresh, and refridgerated or frozen potato do not work for me...triple cooked, takes some time but well worth it IMO.

If you use frozen take care to find out how much your fryer can take, (the ratio usually is 1:10) I'm using a 3000W fryer that has a 5 Liter fat/oil volume (using mostly kidney fat and some oil) and it'll take about 300g frozen stuff and like 400g regular fries easily.
 

btbyrd

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Depending on the texture you want and the full technique you're using, freezing can improve the texture. The ChefSteps french fry recipes, for example, call for freezing after the first fry. They ran the tests and found that the freeze step yielded a crispier exterior, possibly because ice crystal formation can fracture frozen cells and create a more delicate surface that becomes shatteringly brittle in the final fry. Dave Arnold also likes freezing the fries at this point, and for the same reason.

I'm big on all variations of the modernist triple cooked chips and have tried enzyme soaks and chamber vacuum cooling -- no ultrasonic baths yet, but if I ever get access to a clean one, I'm sure fries will be in the works. My go-to method involves a pre-soak in Pectinex SPL, a blanch in highly seasoned water, a low temperature long fry, freeze, and a high temp final fry. Basically ChefSteps's version but with the pre-soak.

my fave is this (the short version of the recipe): Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips - The Fat Duck Group
This recipe also calls for freezing the fries. Twice.
 

MarcelNL

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This recipe also calls for freezing the fries. Twice.
yeah well, more of a serious cool down to remove moisture in my case..my problem is not having a freezer near by (2 floors up), sounds really interesting what you are doing! I find that the variety of taters matters a LOT! some work great and get fluffy outsides that texture nicely and some explode into a million of crumbs...
 

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A good engineer is always a wee bit conservative, at least on paper.
 

boomchakabowwow

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having said that..ATK did a version where the raw fries went into room temp oil and the entire thing was heated up all together. no need for double fry.

i still farm out the Fries tho. i'm super proud of the fact that i will save leftover GOOD fries and heat them up in an oven! that's the end of my fry cooking. haha.
 

MarcelNL

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1800 Watts....naah unless you want to fry 100-150g at a time or cannot draw more power in any way.

Fritel is the goto Brand for non pro fryers around here (Belgian), look for at leat 4 Liter Oil/Fat and 3000 or so Watt, unless you only need to make fries for one or two.
 

coxhaus

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1800 Watts....naah unless you want to fry 100-150g at a time or cannot draw more power in any way.

Fritel is the goto Brand for non pro fryers around here (Belgian), look for at leat 4 Liter Oil/Fat and 3000 or so Watt, unless you only need to make fries for one or two.
I guess you have 220v appliances. In the US most appliances are 110v and 20 amps. Some older homes have 15-amp breakers. I would think 220v would work much better.
 

Jovidah

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Yeah man, my fryer is a pan full of oil on the stove. ;)
Don't you have cheap deep fryer appliances in the US? Here they are almost as common as toasters... Can buy them as cheap as 20-30 bucks, and those actually work quite fine. The oil that goes into them is almost more expensive. ;)
Messing around on a stove works for me when going for 'low and slow' shallow frying, especially in smaller amounts of oil, but actually putting a full multiliter pan of oil on there feels like an accident waiting to happen.

I've almost stopped eating fries out because the ones you can make at home are much better (if you take your time and know what you're doing [and you live in the USA and not, say, Belgium]).

Anyway, freezing after the first fry is the best approach. I usually cook them before the first fry, but that's an extra step and people are lazy so YMMV.
Agreed on most commercial fries being junk. Part of that is also that most of them are made from cheap really bland potatoes that just taste like cardboard.
IMO the main advantage of a pre-cook in water is that it allows you to season them properly; salt it like pastawater and you'll get a pretty homogenous seasoning that's superior to just dunking salt on at the end. The main downside to me is that I find the flavor better when more water is evaporated (so it gets more concentrated), so I prefer cooking either in fat or with dry heat.

my fave is this (the short version of the recipe): Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips - The Fat Duck Group
I was actually somewhat underwhelmed by it. The texture is good, but the flavor is IMO not that special. Maybe I'm just spoiled, but I usually do a low and slow pre-cook that takes way longer. Almost like a confit in fat (flavorful fat that is; usually duck fat + flavored olive oil). Alternatively I go in the oven. Either gives superior flavor IMO since it evaporates more water which leads to a more intensely flavored end product. Crispyness can be almost the same if you end on high heat.

yeah well, more of a serious cool down to remove moisture in my case..my problem is not having a freezer near by (2 floors up), sounds really interesting what you are doing! I find that the variety of taters matters a LOT! some work great and get fluffy outsides that texture nicely and some explode into a million of crumbs...
Agreed on the tater variety. Can also really screw up nailing down your process if you keep switching potato varieties, since the results will be different every time. What i described (low and slow) only really works with waxy potatoes. What's more important IMO is that there's not just a texture difference but also a huge flavor difference. IMO a lot of the discussion on 'how to make good potatoes' is misguided, since it tends to only focus on texture. This might stem from the fact that most potatoes you buy in supermarkets are flavorless, but that doesn't mean flavorful potatoes don't exist. Most supermarket potatoes taste like nothing, just like most frozen convenience potato products. It's definitly worth experimenting to look around and settle on a potato you like.
My favorites in recent times are Charlotte and Gourmandine (basically indistinguishable because Gourmandine is a derivative of Charlotte).

having said that..ATK did a version where the raw fries went into room temp oil and the entire thing was heated up all together. no need for double fry.

i still farm out the Fries tho. i'm super proud of the fact that i will save leftover GOOD fries and heat them up in an oven! that's the end of my fry cooking. haha.
Starting low and slow works, but with some caveats. It will make the end product a lot fatter and the taste of the fat will be more prevalent in the end product. So it's only worth doing it like that if you actually fry in flavorful fat; not in bland junk. It's also not trivial to get a crispy result that way; often easier to just do a lower temp 'pre-cook', then take them out, give it some time to heat up and then finish on high temp.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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Don't you have cheap deep fryer appliances in the US? Here they are almost as common as toasters... Can buy them as cheap as 20-30 bucks, and those actually work quite fine. The oil that goes into them is almost more expensive. ;)
Messing around on a stove works for me when going for 'low and slow' shallow frying, especially in smaller amounts of oil, but actually putting a full multiliter pan of oil on there feels like an accident waiting to happen.


Agreed on most commercial fries being junk. Part of that is also that most of them are made from cheap really bland potatoes that just taste like cardboard.
IMO the main advantage of a pre-cook in water is that it allows you to season them properly; salt it like pastawater and you'll get a pretty homogenous seasoning that's superior to just dunking salt on at the end. The main downside to me is that I find the flavor better when more water is evaporated (so it gets more concentrated), so I prefer cooking either in fat or with dry heat.


I was actually somewhat underwhelmed by it. The texture is good, but the flavor is IMO not that special. Maybe I'm just spoiled, but I usually do a low and slow pre-cook that takes way longer. Almost like a confit in fat (flavorful fat that is; usually duck fat + flavored olive oil). Alternatively I go in the oven. Either gives superior flavor IMO since it evaporates more water which leads to a more intensely flavored end product. Crispyness can be almost the same if you end on high heat.


Agreed on the tater variety. Can also really screw up nailing down your process if you keep switching potato varieties, since the results will be different every time. What i described (low and slow) only really works with waxy potatoes. What's more important IMO is that there's not just a texture difference but also a huge flavor difference. IMO a lot of the discussion on 'how to make good potatoes' is misguided, since it tends to only focus on texture. This might stem from the fact that most potatoes you buy in supermarkets are flavorless, but that doesn't mean flavorful potatoes don't exist. Most supermarket potatoes taste like nothing, just like most frozen convenience potato products. It's definitly worth experimenting to look around and settle on a potato you like.
My favorites in recent times are Charlotte and Gourmandine (basically indistinguishable because Gourmandine is a derivative of Charlotte).


Starting low and slow works, but with some caveats. It will make the end product a lot fatter and the taste of the fat will be more prevalent in the end product. So it's only worth doing it like that if you actually fry in flavorful fat; not in bland junk. It's also not trivial to get a crispy result that way; often easier to just do a lower temp 'pre-cook', then take them out, give it some time to heat up and then finish on high temp.
Yes we have those in the US but I have no need for one. My kitchen is small and a dedicated deep fryer is something that would get used rarely so I'm not taking up storage space for one. And like I said, I make good fries so I don't need another method.
 

deskjockey

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I guess you have 220v appliances. In the US most appliances are 110v and 20 amps. Some older homes have 15-amp breakers. I would think 220v would work much better.
Exactly, it's physics and general engineering. 110~120V vs ~230V makes a world of difference when talking about electric motors and all sorts of heating elements.

Why do you think domestic household kitchen ovens are 230V while your microwave is only 120V in the USA?
 

deskjockey

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Don't you have cheap deep fryer appliances in the US? Here they are almost as common as toasters... Can buy them as cheap as 20-30 bucks, and those actually work quite fine. The oil that goes into them is almost more expensive. ;)
Messing around on a stove works for me when going for 'low and slow' shallow frying, especially in smaller amounts of oil, but actually putting a full multiliter pan of oil on there feels like an accident waiting to happen.
The common one when I was young was the "Fry Daddy" from Presto but, common food culture in the USA has gone downhill in a huge way. Food deserts, people don't know how to cook, convenience foods, etc. are only scratching the surface IMHO.

Frying, in general, is scorned in general in the USA by the "Food Police" on Social Media and in various government departments! These poorly informed fools bring us all sorts of poorly studied and thought out food trends like butter is bad and Palm oil is good and corn syrup should be a core food group (a bit of truth and a bit of sarcasm). :rolleyes:

Agreed on most commercial fries being junk. Part of that is also that most of them are made from cheap really bland potatoes that just taste like cardboard.
IMO the main advantage of a pre-cook in water is that it allows you to season them properly; salt it like pastawater and you'll get a pretty homogenous seasoning that's superior to just dunking salt on at the end. The main downside to me is that I find the flavor better when more water is evaporated (so it gets more concentrated), so I prefer cooking either in fat or with dry heat.
Yes, most commercial fries taste bland because they are made from the cheapest ingredients in the cheapest way possible to provide huge caloric loads at the cheapest price possible.

Bland fries "yuck" and "our fries taste better" campaigns at various fast food chains were pretty common pre-COVID. Now it is just be thankful you can get fries from the drive-thru window. :rolleyes:

Agreed on the tater variety. Can also really screw up nailing down your process if you keep switching potato varieties, since the results will be different every time. What i described (low and slow) only really works with waxy potatoes. What's more important IMO is that there's not just a texture difference but also a huge flavor difference. IMO a lot of the discussion on 'how to make good potatoes' is misguided, since it tends to only focus on texture. This might stem from the fact that most potatoes you buy in supermarkets are flavorless, but that doesn't mean flavorful potatoes don't exist. Most supermarket potatoes taste like nothing, just like most frozen convenience potato products. It's definitly worth experimenting to look around and settle on a potato you like.
My favorites in recent times are Charlotte and Gourmandine (basically indistinguishable because Gourmandine is a derivative of Charlotte).
The Potatoes used in mass-market fries in the USA remind me of what I remember of my grade school years with various pastes and glues.

These days, it is hard to even find a good potato to bake that has reasonable flavor and texture.

Huge respect for the culinary options and tradition in the Netherlands and Europe in general though, most of my experience is in the Enschede area of the Netherlands though, Germany wins for bread! Beyond the awesome variety of restaurants, the care in cooking individual ingredients and the attention paid in their preparation puts the USA to shame in most broad spectrum food and dietary options.

I still dream about the Herring runs when I would hit the open-air Saturday market by the Church with raw Herring that still had seawater on them while I gobbled them up with a bit of white onion! Sometimes the simple things are best.

And yes, I wish I could get fresh "Green Herring" in Texas that was safe to eat raw. Right now, there is a big Salmonella outbreak locally with red onions from Mexico.
 

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Huge respect for the culinary options and tradition in the Netherlands and Europe in general though, most of my experience is in the Enschede area of the Netherlands though, Germany wins for bread! Beyond the awesome variety of restaurants, the care in cooking individual ingredients and the attention paid in their preparation puts the USA to shame in most broad spectrum food and dietary options.
The bar must be incredibly low in the US if you think it's better in the Netherlands; to be honest I consider the Netherlands somewhat of a culinary low point within Western Europe. As a food critic once described it: "The Dutch don't have a cuisine, they have food".
When it comes to potatoes most of the commercial stuff sold here in supermarkets, fast food joints, etc isn't much to write home about either.
 

MarcelNL

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find the care in cooking individual ingredients ;-) in our national 'dish' stamppot...

recipe, peel and cook potatoes, add veg to your liking and cook to death and to be sure all is dead mash the heck out of it...My granny used to start cooking the red cabbage at 4PM, Dinner was usually served at 6PM....

1634826006834.png
 
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sansho

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i know this thread is about french fries, but i tried this parboiled oven potato recipe recently, loved it, and wanted to share.

full write up: The Best Roast Potatoes | The Food Lab
recipe: The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe

1634829678949.png


all that crispy stuff comes from parboiling them (in baking soda water, which breaks them down a little) and stirring them in a bowl to get a layer of mashed potatoes on the outside of each chunk:

1634829913054.png
 
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