Hand cut French fries

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Joined Oct 14, 2020
We have an issue with our fries staying crispy. We cut Idaho potatoes and place them into a 3 compartment sink filled with hot water and a cup of kosher salt. They soak for about one hour and then we give them a first cook in fryer oil at 350. This par cook is fine until the potato just starts to want to turn color and ends up about half cooked. We then toss these in a plastic tub and put in the walk in cooler until service. At service we fry until brown and crispy. Any thoughts on how to improve flavor and texture?
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Soaking them for an hour is the problem. As soon as they're cut, par cook them and place them in the walk-in. Then increase the temperature of your oil about 25'f or so higher than normal. Fry as usual.

Cheers. :)
 
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Joined Sep 7, 2020
The above poster may be correct, but I would suggest leaving them uncovered in your walk-in to dry off before you fry them. The excess moisture may be the problem.
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
I have a few ideas to try.

Why use warm water for soaking? Why not cold? I would go for a longer soak too, probably overnight, honestly. I would rinse and change the water until it is clear (or pretty near to clear) and then store in the walk in overnight. I've heard of people soaking in an acidulated water bath to toughen the pectin (which I imagine would allow for a longer cook=crispier, but I've never tried it)

Are you putting your fries in the plastic tub straight from the fryer on the blanch? Then straight to the walk in? If you're piling on parcooked french fries on top of each other then putting them hot in the walk in, they would still cook/steam and that might mess up your texture. Maybe try draining them on towels or on a sheetpan/rack, cooling to room temp and then storing in the walk in.

Maybe try reducing the initial fry from 350 down to 325 or maybe even 300.

What temp are you frying at for the second fry? 375 might be better if you're doing it at 350.

I'll add an additional opinion of mine, YMMV. Most places that make their own french fries have sucky fries. There are restaurants that make homemade fries that are amazing, for sure, but I would say as an aggregate, most places with house made fries suck. Soggy, limp, oily, under-seasoned, I could go on.

One of the very very few things I (usually, at least) advocate for buying a prepared product is french fries. Most of the reputable french fry companies use specific types of potato that they sort and grade so that they don't have "bad" potatoes in their batches (McDonald's does this the best, probably...they have an insanely stringent regimen for potato/fry production) and that the potatoes they use are the best types for fries. You could get a batch of potatoes from your purveyor that are too starchy, or too sugary, or too wet, or too dry, or old, too spotty, too bruised...etc. You can do everything right and still get sucky fries, because you had sucky potatoes. So unless you know how to choose the best potatoes, and store them...

A perfectly cooked, hot, crispy frozen fry (bought in) is infinitely better than a limp, soggy house made one. A properly made hot, crispy house made is best, but those are few and far between in my experience.

One of the hardest parts too is that everyone has an opinion about how to make fries, there are literally dozens of "best" ways to make them. It's tough to sort through all that info.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Cut and soak over night. Dry and blanch to about 90% done in the fryer at 300 degrees. Finish at 375 degrees to get color and crispness......The best fries come from aged potatoes. Good luck with that.....
 
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Joined Dec 13, 2018
ChefBillyB is pretty much spot on. I used Idaho Russet potatoes, keep them from 10-14 days from my purveyor, then cut 3/8" and soak them in cold water with a cap full of white vinegar or lemon juice overnight, drain and rinse again. Fry for about 6 minutes at 275 F. Drain for several minutes then cool on sheet pan. Store in refrigerated container until service. Fry at 350-400 for 2-3 minutes. Great fry.

The biggest problem with any fresh french fry is that the crispiness doesn't hold up over time. You can make a perfect batch of fries but if it doesn't hit the table within 5 minutes, it's too soggy. That's why all these major companies add additives for crispiness and retainment of said crispiness.
 
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Joined Oct 22, 2020
Try a water blanch. 4% vinegar to water. This will swell the starch cells on the outer surface and give the fry a very crispy surface. It also helps to cook from frozen after blanching but I know a lot of chefs don't want to do the freeze step.
 
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Joined Oct 2, 2016
Over here in Belgium we use potatoes (Bintjes), pealed, cut, not rinced (industry even ad some stratch to make them more crispy), precooked in a lot of oil at 140°C(300°F) 8-10' (at the end they'll "sing" in the oil, when cooked they have a little skin outside and texture inside is just like puree), keep at room t°, on demand (same day) fry them at 180°C(356°F) for 3-4', season while hot.
 
2,409
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Over here in Belgium we use potatoes (Bintjes), pealed, cut, not rinced (industry even ad some stratch to make them more crispy), precooked in a lot of oil at 140°C(300°F) 8-10' (at the end they'll "sing" in the oil, when cooked they have a little skin outside and texture inside is just like puree), keep at room t°, on demand (same day) fry them at 180°C(356°F) for 3-4', season while hot.
Crispy outside, tender inside with a good potato flavor. The best way to get this in the States is by using aged potatoes.....
 

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