French Fries

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colossk
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2014/08/23 00:32:12 (permalink)

French Fries

Hi!
 
I opened a chip truck and I am having some problems getting a consistent french fry product and I was hoping some of you could help answer some questions. Sometimes my fries are golden brown, other times they are dark. I am having problems determining why this is
 
1)When soaking potatoes overnight, do I need to put the potatoes thru the cutter 1st or can I just peel and then soak the potatoes overnight and then run them thru the cutter? Does it make a difference if the water is cold(Kept in the fridge) or if the buckets are filled with water out of a garden house and sitting in a sealed pail outside overnight? Do they need to be soaked overnight? can they soak for a few hours instead?
 
2) Does adding vinegar to these pails help prevent browning when doing my 2nd fry? Does this effect the taste?
 
3) The potatoes have a white soapy kinda bubbly texture on them after soaking them overnight. Is this the Starch? I am currently dipping the potatoes into a bucket of water to remove this white residue, is this ok?
 
4) When the fries are done blanching, can they be dumped into bins immediately or do they have to cool 1st? I have noticed that some chip trucks hang their fries directly over the wells when taken out of the fryer on a hook so the basket is hanging at a 20 degree angle, why is this? Wy the 2 different styles?
 
5) How long do the blanched fries need to cool before being fried a 2nd time to serve?
 
6) I am currently blanching my potatoes at 300 and then doing a 2nd fry to serve  at 300. Are these temperatures ok?
What are the benefits of a cooler blanche time? Say around 250
 
7) MY potato farmer delivers potatoes once week into my shed. Should this shed be  at an ideal temperature? Would storing them inside in the basement be better?
 
8) occasionally a Blanche will go for to long and the fires start to go brown before they are removed from the oil. Do you throw these out?
 
9) Are Yukon gold good potatoes to use?
 
10) Any idea as to why I am getting inconsistent results?
 
Thanks!
#1

17 Replies Related Threads

    chefbuba
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/23 01:13:08 (permalink)
    Your in Canada, right? Are you regulated by the health dept? Have you taken any food safety courses? Between this post ant your other one half cooking burgers then reheating and serving I would say that you have some issues you need to work on.
    #2
    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/23 12:01:19 (permalink)
    This topic has been well covered in the past.   Use the forum search function to find the older post. Many have detailed instructions and info.
     
    Blanching is a way to reduce the moisture in the potato and partially cook the potato.   It doesn't reduce the frying time or make the fries cook quicker.  It only divides the cooking time by partially per-cooking so that you can finish the fries in about 2 1/2 to 3 minuets to order.    ... You can cook fresh-cut french fries from start to finish, golden brown, in about 20 to 25 minutes.  ... I do it all the time at home.  But this is too long for fast service restaurants.  ....
     
    Crisp french fries is about removing moisture.    Many restaurants order and pay extra for 'low moisture' potatoes.    This is why some restaurants like frozen fries.   They are already partially precooked (blanched) and only need browning.
     
    Soaking helps to remove excess starch & sugar and helps to keep the potato for browning after cutting.   The browning you indicated above during cooking is from sugar caramelizing and maybe too hot oil. ... Bubbles in the water (???),  the starch is fermenting.  You have a good start on making vodka.
     
    You indicated that you receive potatoes from a farmer.     Then you are getting new & fresh high-moisture potatoes.  Look at ways to lower the moisture content of the potatoes.    May be a large box or small room with an exhaust fan (draw in dry air; exhaust moist air) and/or dehumidifier.  Some growers/suppliers will do this, but they charge a premium for the potatoes for the lost weight (water).
     
     
    post edited by edwmax - 2014/08/23 23:12:38
    #3
    ZD
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/23 21:48:51 (permalink)
    Potatoes do not need to be soaked before cutting and cooking if you're using the correct variety of potato. We use frying potatoes, snowden or atlantics. Ask farmer what variety he is selling you. Fries can be peeled or unpeeled. Fries can be finish cooked immediately after pre cooking if you use a different fryer that is up to temp. We precook and finish cook at 350 degrees. Any higher you're just breaking down your oil.  Potatoes should be stored between 55-70 F,out of sunlight. In summer we keep ours in air conditioned house. Use a good oil, we use canola. too many allergies for peanut oil. Keep fryers and oil clean during use. Strain crumbs constantly.
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    colossk
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/23 22:29:24 (permalink)
    Thanks for the help. I am currently using Yukon Gold potatoes, I also use canola oil. I don't understand the bubbles in the water that you are talking about. No matter what I drop it always bubbles, Currently cooking at 300. Even blanching at 250, there are bubbles. The only time that I don't see bubbles is when I cook Onion Rings or other items of that sort but the temperature is the same. Anything I have ever read says cook them anywhere from 300-375. I'm currently storing my potatoes in the garage
     
    #5
    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/23 23:24:58 (permalink)
    colossk
    Thanks for the help. I am currently using Yukon Gold potatoes, I also use canola oil. I don't understand the bubbles in the water that you are talking about.   ...
      You said " 3) The potatoes have a white soapy kinda bubbly texture on them after soaking them overnight. ..."   The bubble indicate fermentation is starting.   And, yes this is the excess starch.
     
    colossk ... No matter what I drop it always bubbles, Currently cooking at 300. Even blanching at 250, there are bubbles. The only time that I don't see bubbles is when I cook Onion Rings or other items of that sort but the temperature is the same. Anything I have ever read says cook them anywhere from 300-375. I'm currently storing my potatoes in the garage
     

      These bubbles in the hot cooking oil is from moisture/water turning to steam at 212 deg F. The oil is much hotter.  


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    colossk
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/24 08:03:50 (permalink)
    Thanks for the help, I did search these forums but there are a few questions I can't seem to find the answers to.
     
    I bought a chip truck that has been on the same corner for the past 15 years. The old owner died and the family wanted to sell it, unfortunately the family knows nothing about how to run the business or the process involved and can not help. Been putting in 70 hour weeks and love every minute of it
     
    I have read about some of the processes on these forums and I can't seem to understand how you guys have the time to do some of these things? Pat them Dry? put them in single layers to allow them to cool? Use things like salad spinner type gadgets to dry them before getting them into a fryer?
     
    I don't understand how people have the time or storage space to dry the fries and refrigerate them if they are a "chip Truck" I will go thru about 1800-2000 pounds of potatoes a week. (35-40 50lb bags) Not to mention the other menu items like burgers, sausages hot dogs,pulled pork  etc. I have to have 3 people there on weekends or else we can't keep up. None of this was done by the previous owner as he doesn't have the space for that. It's a 22" bus converted into a Chip Truck. Perhaps he soaked them overnight, I am not sure about that but I'm almost positive any of the other techniques, freezing hand drying etc were not done by him as there is simply no time. My blancher runs constantly pretty much 6/8 hours of the day just to keep up with the fry orders
     
     
    Is there a big difference in the starch removal soaking the potatoes overnight vs soaking for a few hours? Same with soaking in cold water and refrigerating them vs soaking them in a pail left outside with a garden house? Is there a huge difference between soaking and then cutting or cutting and then soaking? Are some brands of canola oil superior for frying then others or is canola oil just canola oil?
     
     
     I can't seem to find the answers to the above questions, even after searching. Again thanks for the help
    post edited by colossk - 2014/08/24 08:17:26
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    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/24 09:03:20 (permalink)
    Please explain what you mean by 'chip' truck?     This thread header indicates 'french fries'.   Are you making 'potato chips' or french fries?
     
    You seem to be moving a large amount of french fries (300 lb per day).  I would cut a bucket or 2 (5 gal) full and hold in cool water until needed.  This will remove excess starch and keep the potato from turning brown (air).  Then pre-fry a basket, as needed, until starting to brown (300 to 325 F). It will take about 15 minutes. This removes the water in the potato.  Raise the basket and let the oil drain back into the frier and hold.  When needed, transfer to the finish deep fryer.
     
    Finish the fries to order ( 3 to 4 minutes).  Or, finish frying (350 F) a basket or 2 and hold in a fry dump under heat lamp to complete orders.  You need two different deep friers set at different temperatures to do this.  Experiment, you may find slightly different oil temps that works better for you.
     
    There are a couple of RF members that do it this way.  May be they will give they tips.    ... If this is too complicated then consider using frozen french fries.
     
    Since you are moving 2000 lb of fresh (high moisture) potatoes per week.  Invest in way to lower the moisture content of the potato while in storage.  ... fans and/or dehumidifiers ???  ...    This will shorten frying time and increase the life of the cooking oil.  Some say the potato flavor will also be improved.
    #8
    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/24 09:17:12 (permalink)
    colossk
    ....
    Is there a big difference in the starch removal soaking the potatoes overnight vs soaking for a few hours? Same with soaking in cold water and refrigerating them vs soaking them in a pail left outside with a garden house? ...
      It only takes a quick rinse to remove the starch.   Soaking or holding the cut fries overnight or several hour is to keep the potato from turning black because it was cut hours before being needed.
     
    colossk   ... Is there a huge difference between soaking and then cutting or cutting and then soaking? Are some brands of canola oil superior for frying then others or is canola oil just canola oil?   ...

     
    Why would you soak a whole potato? Assuming it is clean (no dirt).    Starch only comes to the cut surface of the potato with the moisture.  A quick wash will remove it.
     
     
     
    colossk ... I can't seem to find the answers to the above questions, even after searching. Again thanks for the help

      You need to experiment with different times, oil temps, soaking (overnight ... hour or so for holding), and cutting size to find what works best for you.   Different types of potatoes and their moisture content will fry differently.   Time of the year may make the same type potato cook differently.  This is because fresh dug potatoes have a high moisture content vs a (some) potatoes that has been stored for 6 months.  This varies to the storage conditions.


    post edited by edwmax - 2014/08/24 09:35:53
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    colossk
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/25 07:28:41 (permalink)
    edwmax
    Please explain what you mean by 'chip' truck?     This thread header indicates 'french fries'.   Are you making 'potato chips' or french fries?
     
    You seem to be moving a large amount of french fries (300 lb per day).  I would cut a bucket or 2 (5 gal) full and hold in cool water until needed.  This will remove excess starch and keep the potato from turning brown (air).  Then pre-fry a basket, as needed, until starting to brown (300 to 325 F). It will take about 15 minutes. This removes the water in the potato.  Raise the basket and let the oil drain back into the frier and hold.  When needed, transfer to the finish deep fryer.
     
    Finish the fries to order ( 3 to 4 minutes).  Or, finish frying (350 F) a basket or 2 and hold in a fry dump under heat lamp to complete orders.  You need two different deep friers set at different temperatures to do this.  Experiment, you may find slightly different oil temps that works better for you.
     
    There are a couple of RF members that do it this way.  May be they will give they tips.    ... If this is too complicated then consider using frozen french fries.
     
    Since you are moving 2000 lb of fresh (high moisture) potatoes per week.  Invest in way to lower the moisture content of the potato while in storage.  ... fans and/or dehumidifiers ???  ...    This will shorten frying time and increase the life of the cooking oil.  Some say the potato flavor will also be improved.




    By chip truck, I mean french fries. That's what we call french fry or food trucks up here, we call them "chip trucks". The reason I am soaking them is because one of the staff that used to work there before the owner died said the process is the following. 1) Peel the potatoes using the automatic peeler. 2)Store the peeled potatoes in buckets in the 2 refrigerators overnight (these 2 refrigerators will hold about 250-300 pounds of potatoes in buckets). In the morning give them a quick Rinse and then cut them using the cutter and then Blanche (Prefry) them, let them cool for an hour or two and then give them a final cook in the fryer when serving. During the day in between lunch/dinner rushes we refill the empty buckets with peeled potatoes and let them soak in the refrigerator overnight. 
     
    The farmer I get potatoes from gave me a free bag of different potatoes to try in case I wanted to switch. When I cooked these, they would not turn brown, even after staying in the frier for 2x as long. Which makes me think it's a potato issue not a cooking method issue? I am currently using Yukon golds, not sure what the bag was that he gave me as a test as it did not say on the bag and he told the staff that it was a free sample bag just to try them out. I left him a message asking him what type they were but he has not called me back yet. Only thing I can say for sure is that they were very white when blanched compared to the other potatoes and I had no issues whatsoever with them turning brown. They also tasted different.
     
    Also 15 minutes prefry is a typo right? I prefry or "blanch" my fries for about 2-3 minutes, at 300, and cook them to order for another 2-3 minutes at 300. A 15 minute prefry would turn them black and burnt to a crisp
     
    Some of these steps I am doing may seem unnecessary but I am only going by what I am told by staff that worked there. Thanks again for the help 
     
    Again thanks for the help.
    post edited by colossk - 2014/08/25 07:31:20
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    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/25 08:31:01 (permalink)
    colossk
    ....
    The farmer I get potatoes from gave me a free bag of different potatoes to try in case I wanted to switch. When I cooked these, they would not turn brown, even after staying in the frier for 2x as long. Which makes me think it's a potato issue not a cooking method issue?   ...
        Yes, it is.  It is the sugar that is causing 'this' brown/blackening of the potato before being done.    ... The sugar content varies to the type of potato.  Some have more sugar than others.  Also, potato starch will convert to sugar depending on how the potato was stored.  Soaking and rising will help to remove sugar & starch on the surface of the cut fries.     You might want to review this guide.   [url]http://www.google.com/url...;bvm=bv.73612305,d.cWc[/url]
     
    colossk  ... Also 15 minutes prefry is a typo right? I prefry or "blanch" my fries for about 2-3 minutes, at 300, and cook them to order for another 2-3 minutes at 300. A 15 minute prefry would turn them black and burnt to a crisp

    No it isn't.   You don't understand what is happening.   You are 'blanching' (as you call it). Which is heating the cut fries to 300 deg F and then letting the moisture steam (212 deg F) out during the ONE HOUR rest period.   Then you are finish the fries to order as needed.  Start to finish time is more than hour.  
     
    What I described, was to basically fry the cut fries in 20 to 25 min.   No one hour rest period needed.  The excess moisture is removed during the first fry.  The potato should not be black or browning if the oil was not too hot. The par-fried potatoes can be held for 1 or 2 hours if needed, but not necessary, until ordered. Then finished to crisp in 3 or 4 min.  
     
    Try cooking a fresh cut fries in one step to see how long it takes.   Then may be you will understand a little of what your steps are doing.
     
    post edited by edwmax - 2014/08/25 08:37:33
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    farmerjj
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/28 15:30:03 (permalink)
    this has some good info-
    www. theartofdoingstuff.com/how-to-make-perfect-french-fries/
     
    #12
    farmerjj
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/28 15:32:05 (permalink)
    as as far as the fries turning black- your fridge might be too cold?
    the longer they're in there, the darker they get? that could be your variable?

    www. cavendishfarms.com/grocery-ca-potatoes-faq.aspx#Dark%20Potatoes
     
    #13
    farmerjj
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/28 22:02:05 (permalink)
    this sure has a lot of info!
    aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/05/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-perfect-mcdonalds-style-french-fries.html
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    farmerjj
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    Re: French Fries 2014/08/29 17:37:07 (permalink)
    colossk
     
     1) Sometimes my fries are golden brown, other times they are dark. I am having problems determining why this is
     
    2) Does adding vinegar to these pails help prevent browning when doing my 2nd fry? Does this effect the taste?
     
    6) I am currently blanching my potatoes at 300 and then doing a 2nd fry to serve  at 300. Are these temperatures ok?
    What are the benefits of a cooler blanche time? Say around 250
     
    7) MY potato farmer delivers potatoes once week into my shed. Should this shed be  at an ideal temperature? Would storing them inside in the basement be better?
     
    9) Are Yukon gold good potatoes to use?




    1- try cutting a batch and refrigerating overnight and then frying them side by side with un-refrigerated ones?
    if you always do things the same way, and the whole batch you get from the farmer turms black no matter what, it it is probably the type of potato or the field they were grown in- too much iron in the soil can do it too.

    2- yes! vinefar- check that serious eats link above- i guess it's REALLY important?

    6- again, check that same link- 300 sounds too low actually according to that guy.
    in fact McD's does their 1st fry HIGHER?

    7- the best temp is ABOVE 50 F. below 50 F will make them turn black. but the basement is probably too warm.
    50-55 F is ideal.

    9- Yes! for sure. Yukons are a little sweeter and probably turn darker faster however.
    but they taste great.
     
    #15
    colossk
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    Re: French Fries 2014/09/07 09:09:56 (permalink)
    Thanks for all the help, I have been quite busy and haven't had a chance to reply to this thread. After some trial and error, a lot of research and talking to another Food truck owner who is a friend of a friend and has been around for a long time with a very successful truck (<-this helped me immensely.) I have discovered a few things about making making french french fries that I wasn't aware of.
     
    1) Blanket statements that have been made on the internet or in these forums are essentially useless. Things like "pre-cook at this temperature" or "final fry or serve to order at this temperature" are meaningless. There are to many variables from vendor to vendor to make blanket statements. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another due to the fact everyone uses different potatoes with different sugar starch and moisture content , & different oils such as canola oil, peanut oil, lard or vegetable oil and store the potatoes at different temperatures, and replace the old oil with new oil at different frequencies. 
     
    2) You may or may not need to soak potatoes before you cook them, it will completely  depending on the type of potatoes that you use.
     
    I have finally figured out what works best for my situation and I have been constantly making fantastic fries ever since. 
     
    Thanks for the help!
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    edwmax
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    Re: French Fries 2014/09/07 18:47:39 (permalink)
    colossk
    Thanks for all the help,  ....
     
    1) Blanket statements that have been made on the internet or in these forums are essentially useless. Things like "pre-cook at this temperature" or "final fry or serve to order at this temperature" are meaningless. There are to many variables from vendor to vendor to make blanket statements. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another due to the fact everyone uses different potatoes with different sugar starch and moisture content , & different oils such as canola oil, peanut oil, lard or vegetable oil and store the potatoes at different temperatures, and replace the old oil with new oil at different frequencies.  ...

     
    I'm glad you finally figured that out.  As I said above (post #9)" ... You need to experiment with different times, oil temps, soaking (overnight ... hour or so for holding), and cutting size to find what works best for you.   Different types of potatoes and their moisture content will fry differently.   Time of the year may make the same type potato cook differently.   ..."
     
     
    colossk ...
    2) You may or may not need to soak potatoes before you cook them, it will completely  depending on the type of potatoes that you use.
        I believe that was stated by ZD in post #4 above.
     
     
    colossk ...
    I have finally figured out what works best for my situation and I have been constantly making fantastic fries ever since. 
     
    Thanks for the help!




    So tell us what your procedure is for your situation and the type potato you are using?    ... it may help some one else!
    #17
    colossk
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    Re: French Fries 2014/09/08 10:13:46 (permalink)
    OK so here is what I am doing.
     
    I am using Yukon Gold potatoes, "new" rather than "old". When I was having issues with the fries going brown very fast I was using "old" potatoes. From what I understand after talking with the farmer Yukon Golds are harvested twice/year. The potatoes I was using were ones that were harvested several months ago. Apparently there is an entire process that the farmers use to hold the potatoes for long periods of time, and gradually get them to the correct temperature for selling thru a series of gradual controlled temperature changes.
     
    I switched over to "new"potatoes that were just harvested recently and have had great crispy golden fries ever since due to the change from "old" potatoes to "new". He told me there will be a  6-8 week or so window where none of the Yukon golds will fry up well and that most food trucks up here switch to Kennebec potatoes during that time. 
     
    Current method of making fries is:
     
    1) Peel about 400 lbs of potatoes the day before for use for the next day using an automatic potato peeler. I store them "uncut" in buckets of water in  the 3 refrigerators in our shed.
    2) The next morning I will start to blanche my fires before we open. I will Blanche about 200 lbs before we open. I dump the peeled potatoes into a sink full of clean water to rinse them off. I cut them using the cutter and then blanche them at 300 degrees  for about 7 minutes. When the fries are done blanching I dump the fries into little "bins" to cool. I do not refrigerate them, freeze them or pat them dry. I just dump the fries into the bins, shake the bins to separate the fries and let them air dry/cool. Each bin holds 2  fry baskets filled 3/4 full from the fryer. I have shelving  which holds these bins.
    3) When the fries are ready to be served to the public, I fry them as needed at 350 degrees for about 3 minutes. The blanched fries have sat for at least an hour before the final cook and are cold to the touch.
    4) We blanche the remaining fries as needed throughout the day and start the process of cutting and storing the potatoes for the next day as soon as the buckets are empty. While we are open it's non stop blanching fries or preparing more potatoes to be stored in buckets in case we need more for that day or just preparing for the next day.
     
    The difference in blanching time going from old to new potatoes is quite dramatic. I would have them start to turn brown 3-4 minutes in when blanching using old potatoes
    post edited by colossk - 2014/09/08 10:17:07
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