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Subject: Keeping french fries crispy
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Mitch[at]hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 18:33:38 GMT
--------
Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
chicken, which took about 20 minutes.

During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
keep them warm.

Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

What should we have done?

============================

From: "news-server.tampabay.rr.com" 
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 18:38:13 GMT
--------
Take the chicken out of the fryer, let it "rest" and then do your fries.
Fries are quick!

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From: spamalicious 
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 19:06:14 GMT
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Mitch@hotmail wrote:
> Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
> chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
> 
> During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
> keep them warm.
> 
> Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

Or reheat in oven at much higher temperature.  It's worked when we've 
reheated take-out fries in the oven.

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From: Bob in socal 
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 21:02:31 GMT
--------
Mitch@hotmail wrote:
>Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
>chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
>
>During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
>keep them warm.
>
>Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

Do the french fries first AND last using the two step frying method.

See: http://recipes.egullet.com/recipes/r698.html

============================

From: Mitch[at]hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 21:44:51 GMT
--------
Bob in socal wrote:
>Do the french fries first AND last using the two step frying method.

Yeah, we already do the 2-step frying method.  We should have split it
up, but didn't think of it.

Next time, for sure.

============================

From: Wazza 
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 21:51:59 +0000 (UTC)
--------
Mitch@hotmailwrote:
> Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
> chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
>
> During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
> keep them warm.
>
> Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

try cooking the chips twice, once to cook the insides (on lowish heat) then
once to crisp them (on high heat). Cook chicken in between, and rest chicken
for about 10 minutes.

============================

From: Dave Smith 
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 17:25:05 -0500
--------
Mitch@hotmailwrote:
> Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
> chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
>
> During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
> keep them warm.
>
> Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

First of all, you need the right kind of potatoes. Some are not good for
deep frying, like new potatoes.  The oil has to be hot, and do the fries
in small batches to avoid dropping the temperature drastically, which
will result in soggy, greasy fries. Take the fries out while you do
other things, then put them back in for a minute at the end. When they
are done, shake off extra oil and dump them onto paper towels or
newspaper to sop up the rest of the grease.

============================

From: Shawn Hearn 
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 21:39:31 -0500
--------
Mitch@hotmailwrote:
> Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
> chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
> 
> During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
> keep them warm.

Next time, fry the chicken first, then the french fries.

============================

From: azazello[at]koroviev.de (Victor Sack)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 23:47:43 +0100
--------
Mitch@hotmailwrote:
> Last night we made frenchfries in the deep fryer.  We then fried
> chicken, which took about 20 minutes.
> 
> During that time, we put the fries in the oven on low temperature to
> keep them warm.
> 
> Bad move...totally soggy and disgusting.

Consider Heston Blumenthal's solution of the problem, at
.

                Chips

I had to do this recipe eventually, not least because I really believe
that these are the best chips in the world. I've spent years looking for
the perfect chip, along the way experimenting with just about every
possible variable: the oil, the number of cooking processes, the type of
potato, temperature, etc. The traditional way to make chips is with two
separate cooking processes, not least because if you try to fry the
chips in one go, they go brown before the inside has the time to cook.
An initial, cooler fry enables the potato to be cooked through, ready
for browning in very hot oil later. For me, the perfect chip has a
wonderfully crisp exterior and a light, fluffy interior.

We had a problem a while back at the restaurant, in that the meat (a
veal kidney) we were serving with chips had to be cooked to a far lower
temperature than the chips, so although the meat was at the ideal
temperature when served, the chips, being so hot, would make the meat
seem cool even when it wasn't. As a result, I set myself the task of
coming up with a chip that would keep its crunch for several minutes so
that it could be served nearer to the temperature of the meat. I tried
many variations, until eventually settling on this recipe.

I also thought long and hard about why chips lost their crunch.
Basically, when you cook the chip for the last time, the moisture held
in the soft interior turns to steam. This steam wants to evaporate, so
penetrates the crisp exterior, and therefore softens it. The solution,
then, was to reduce this evaporating moisture, and the easiest way to do
this, I thought, was to reduce the moisture levels in the potato. To do
this, we tried several things.

Drying the chip in the oven between each cooking process made the chip
too dry and almost tough, and it also lost its wonderfully fluffy
interior. Pinpricking the chip as soon as it comes out of the water in
the first cooking, allowing steam to escape more easily, worked pretty
well, but the thought of stabbing each chip nearly 25 times was a little
impractical, to say the least.

I then discovered a desiccator. This is a container with a valve on the
side that can be fitted to a pump. When the pump is on, it sucks air
and, with it, excess moisture from whatever is inside it, particularly
when the food is put in it while still warm. Placing the chips in this
vessel in between each of the cooking processes drew out just the right
amount of moisture to prevent excess steam from building up during the
final cooking process. The only downside is that, as the chip cools
during the second of the three cooking processes (the first time that it
is cooked in fat), some of the fat left on the chip when it is removed
from the oil is absorbed. As the chip cools, the outward pressure caused
by the steam inside the chip dies down - because it is this pressure
that prevents the fat from being absorbed in the first place, the
cooling chip absorbs the fat.

I did try cooking the chip by placing it in warm oil and gradually
increasing the temperature so that the potato gradually cooked and
browned at the same time. Although this meant that the chip absorbed
little fat, it did not come out as crisp. The following recipe by no
means leaves the chips fatty - but, to my mind, if you are at all
worried about any of this, cook something else instead.

The only other thing to say about cooking chips is that the potato you
use makes a huge difference. For me, nothing can beat the Golden Wonder
potato, but it is pretty difficult to obtain; Maris Piper and King
Edwards work well, too.

There is no need to give quantities for this recipe, not least as I'd
hate to be blamed for short-changing you on the number of fabulous chips
you will end up with. Just make sure that you have your fryer filled to
the correct level.

Brand new oil is not always the best to use. If you do decide to make
chips on a regular basis - and, believe me, having tried these, you will
- save a little of the old oil in the fryer to add to new oil. This
helps prevent the chips from scorching.

So, let's make chips. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into chip lengths.
Don't worry if they're a little uneven, because this means that you'll
get a range of textures, from thicker, luxuriant, fluffier chips to more
crisp-edged pieces.

Place the cut chips in a bowl of cold water and, when you have finished
cutting them all, leave the bowl under the cold tap for five minutes to
remove excess starch. Bring a large pan of unsalted water to a simmer
and drop in the chips. Cook until the potatoes are soft, ideally to that
point just before they start falling apart. With a slotted spoon,
carefully lift out the chips and place on a tray, board or, best of all,
a cake rack, then leave to cool. Once cool, place in the fridge for at
least half an hour.

Preheat the fryer to 130C. Cook the cold chips at this level until they
take on a dry appearance on their surface - you don't want them to
colour at all. Drain, and leave to cool again. When cool, refrigerate
again for at least half an hour.

Increase the temperature of the oil in the fryer to 190C. Plunge the
cold chips in this and cook until golden brown and crisp. Drain, salt
and serve at once.


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