Need a good French fry method

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by steelchef, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. steelchef

    steelchef

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    Does anyone have a really good method of making oven baked French fries?  I’ve tried par-boiling and flash frying them but they still lack the texture of high quality, (high priced) frozen varieties.
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    What texture are you going for?  There's a hundred different ways to make a fry.  How thick do you want them, are you against frying them, and I haven't had the frozen kind to know what you mean about their texture.
     
  3. steelchef

    steelchef

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    Wow! I had no idea there were so many acceptable ways to prepare french fries.

    My cutter is standard size, whatever commercial fries are about 7mm. The texture I'm seeking is creamy inside with a dark, crispy outside. It can be done easily in hot oil but the healthier oven method eludes me.
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I've never heard of a standard size for french fries, they come in all sizes.  From McDonald's thin all the way to wedges which is one potato cut into 4.  For what you describe, (fluffy inside - dark outside) I can't think of a way to do that in the oven unless your oven is very very high, high enough to burn quick.  Try it, Steam the potatoes, season them with oil and whatever seasonings you like and put them in a very hot oven but keep an eye on them.  Maybe even the broiler would work. 
     
  5. steelchef

    steelchef

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    Sorry, when I think of french fries a vision of 'typical' fast food fries comes to mind. I didn't think of the wedges, man-size or even shoestring. your point is taken as well as the advice. My oven goes to 550F so I'll give your suggestion a try. Thanks!
     
  6. sparkie

    sparkie

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    I use a method for baked potatoes that yields a crunchy brown exterior and fluffy interior. Maybe you can apply some of this technique to your French fries to get what you are looking for.

    I take 70 count russet potatoes, peel and dice(6 pieces each). Then boil the potatoes for 12-15 minutes. They should be raw in the middle and only 1/4" around the outside should be cooked( start with boiling water). Drain the potatoes and toss with whatever oil and seasonings you like and lay out on a sheet tray to cool. Pop the chilled potatoes in a 400*F oven and bake about 30 minutes. The cooked part of the potato creates a nice crust while the inner portion steams itself.

    For fries, the times and temps will be different. I'm thinking that due to their delicate shape that you may want to try steaming them and then spray with oil/ flavoring solution prior to baking at what I would guess to be a higher temperature. Just thinking out loud here, I hope this could be helpful.
     
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  7. steelchef

    steelchef

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    Your advice is appreciated. I’ve tried similar approaches but it seems that only oil is going to give us the finish we’re looking for.

    I tried steaming some today but later in a 500F oven they quickly turned into very hard dog treats.

    Will just keep trying but oil seems to be the only solution.

    Thanks for replying
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've had pretty good success with cutting them in 1/4 -5/8 inch thick sticks, then give a light coating of oil. I usually just toss them in a large bowl with some oil, not a lot. If your focus is minimal oil, give them a good dose of oil in the bowl to coat, then spin in a salad spinner to leave just a sheen.  Season them before baking is better in my opinion, and I'm a big fan of seasoning them with sumac and  za'atar for this technique. Space them out evenly and bake them at 450 on a parchment lined baking sheet 20-30 minutes. Toss and redistribute at about the halfway point in cooking as they brown more on the side touching the metal tray.

    Best with a harissa spiked toum (which sort of defeats the lower fat of baking the fries, but it's so good with the za'atar)

    I've had good success with this toum recipe which I usually do with a stick blender.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
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  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Sorry it didn't work.  The good thing about potatoes is they're cheap and you can experiment with them indefinitely.
     
  10. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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  11. steelchef

    steelchef

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    Hey Nicko,

    The link was fantastic and now has us sidetracked.

    We have pretty much decided that what we want to achieve can only be done by deep-frying.

    Thanks to everyone who offered ideas and suggestions.
     
  12. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Ha I guess I should not of skimmed over the thread (bad habit). 

    Cooks Illustrated has a good technique. Soak the potatoes first in water to remove the starch. Season with oil, salt and pepper then cover them with foil in the first 5 minutes. Bake at 475. Be sure to flip the potatoes half way through.
     
  13. ordo

    ordo

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    Yo can also tray one of those new artifacts: Airfryer from Phillips or Tefal Actifry. Almost no oil at all. Just a few drops. But I never tried them son no idea of the results.
     
  14. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Nathans  f Coney Iland made great fries  they were thick crinkle cut fried in peanut oil and with an onion cut in half in the oil first  for flavor then taken out when thoroughly cooked.
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Ming Tsai has used an actifry on his show. Results looked pretty good.
     
  16. kippers

    kippers

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    The Tefal Actifry was launched in the UK a number of years ago, initially it was dogged by reports of the machine exploding.
     
  17. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    The Emeril Lagasi deep fryer is pretty good. It even strains and stores oil, and thermostat is dead on as I checked it with extrnal thermometer.
     
  18. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Yikes! Talk about a bad day in the kitchen the last thing you want is any amount of hot oil exploding onto you.
     
  19. kippers

    kippers

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    Has anyone tried the Russian method of making chips(fries)? Place large winter store pots in a net and hang them in a warm dark place till the go wrinkly and look like you should throw them away.Peel, thick cut, twice fry for the crispest tastiest fries ever.I wall told that the starch turns into sugar hence the golden and very crispy shell.

    They are the Dogs eaten with a unctuous strog. 
     
  20. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Potatoes start convert their starch to sugar at temps somewhat under 50F. Basically, preparing through winter for a new growth in the spring.  So refrigeration should get you to the same point faster than aging them.