Helpful ReplyHot!Fresh Potato French Fries

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DWags541
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/02/25 15:26:30 (permalink)
Thanks for your perspective ZD.
I have switched to wholesale quantity russets. I noticed there are different qualities and sizes. I bought a cheap bag of #2 Russets. They were monsters. I had to cut most of them in half and trim some sides to use them in the cutter.
I purchased a cutter from Ebay for $50. Its a New Star brand. The Volrath one at the restaurant wholesaler costs $230!
Anyway, the #1's were smaller. I might buy them next to see if there are less dark spots. But hey, when it comes to peeling, who doesn't like a nice big potato to hold on to! Super easy.
I have mixed feelings on peeling. Anyone have strong feelings one way or another?
I like the uniform looks of peeled, but it seems like a time waster and mess generator.
#31
Rcoy
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/02/25 16:49:33 (permalink)
I personally prefer to eat skin-on fries but I can't speak for the other millions of people who eat fries
#32
DWags541
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/03/30 01:07:37 (permalink)
Latest method is such:
Cut fries soaked in a brine. I cut about 15 pounds into a 5 gallon bucket and rinse the cuts once, then fill up again with fresh water. I add 1 c salt and 1 c vinegar. Cut fries sit overnight and they have a slightly lip aged look to them. I par cook them in 350 degree oil (3.5 mins) and then cool them and finish fry them in 350 degree oil (~4 mins).
Noticeable variables are size of the fryer I use. If I use a fryer that takes 40-50# of oil, then oil retains temp better and I would probably reduce par cook temp. In my 15# oil fryer, oil temp drops more significantly effectively lowering the overall par cook temp.
 
I tried a water par cook with one finish fry and I had mixed results. The water was treated with vinegar and salt. Once I had a very superior result. Crispy light colored outside and fluffy inside. However, most of the times I had problems with the potatoes sustaining their shape and texture prior to last fry. In the worse cases, they would virtually piece up in the oil. 
 
Anyone have input on brining or excessive soaking of cut fries?
I've been pretty pleased with the 2x oil fry at 350 so far, whether messing with the soak water or not. But I do notice a positive difference when the water is acidified and salted. 
#33
pnwchef
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/03/30 11:29:14 (permalink)
DWags541: Brining is done to put fluid and flavor into a product. I'm not sure that would work with a potato. The whole reason you soak the fries is to get as much starch as possible out of the potato. The more the potato is refreshed with clean water the better the product. Think of how potato chips are made, they use 100lbs of potatoes to get 10lbs of finished product. When your making french fries your not taking as much of the water out, your just cooking it slow, without getting any color or crispness to the product. What your looking for is " The cooked potato flavor" this is the flavor that you get when a lot of the water is taken out. Sugar is also a factor, aging is another factor. A roasted potato has twice as much sugar than a boiled potato. A fried potato has twice as much sugar and a roasted potato. All you should be looking for in deep frying is. Take into account " Time is Money" keep it as simple as possible.
 
Wash, soak, dry, Blanch, finish = take money, sell 1000's, buy Ocean Home. Live well, drink well, be happy..............
 
 
 
#34
Turtle66
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/03/31 20:03:01 (permalink)
tmiles

Nobody mentioned potato conditioning. I'm a grower, not a cooker, but I have been at meetings where food science college professors tell how the spud is only the start. Pick the right variety, store it and condition it correctly. When you start to slice, 3/4 of the quality factors have already been set.

The color of the fry depends a lot on the sugar content of the spud, and the sugar content can vary with storage conditions. I am no pro, as I said, but I seem to remember that a week at about 55 to 60 degrees is good. You can't count on Sysco to do it for you because they sell potatoes for many uses.

I have not made it there yet, but a place in Portland Maine is said to make perfect fries from hand cut spuds, cooked in duck fat, while you watch. They say that on a summer Saturday, the line can be a half hour long. Folks want to copy them but don't want to do the work.

And.......fresh potatoes can be WORK. A late friend had a business selling fresh peeled potatoes to independent restaurants. His family didn't want it, and he couldn't sell the business. He offered it to me for free if I'd rent his building. The business paid minimum wage to 5 or 6 people, and he made a little more himself, for working like a dog. He charged more than for a frozen product, and less and less customers saw a reason not to go with frozen from Sysco.

Partner with a local grower to produce "Bintje" potatoes. They are hard to find here, except at farmer's markets, but are the spud of choice for street vendors in Europe. I remember that in blind fry taste tests, they beat the number 2 and 3 varieties, COMBINED. ( for mashers, a newer variety, Huckleberry Gold, blows away the competition) Bintjes are harder to grow, and yield a little less, but IMO if you try to compete with McDs, you will lose, and if your product can't get folks to pay a premium price, you are screwed.  Look up The Maine Potato Lady, on the web, for lots of info on varieties. She is not as sold on Bintje as some, though. Maybe they don't grow well in Maine.

I would start by talking to the food science folks at your local Land Grant university.

Momma Mia! "Duck Fat Fries" 
#35
farmerjj
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/08/29 19:37:20 (permalink)
DWags541
Latest method is such:
Cut fries soaked in a brine. I cut about 15 pounds into a 5 gallon bucket and rinse the cuts once, then fill up again with fresh water. I add 1 c salt and 1 c vinegar.



aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/05/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-perfect-mcdonalds-style-french-fries.html
 
this ^^ is the best write up on fries i've found.
there's definitely something to the vinegar idea.
and look at the picture about 1/3 way down, with 9 fries side by side, pretty interesting. the middle ones look the best.
this is that pic:
aht.seriouseats.com/images/20100526-mcdonalds-fries-18-spectrum.jpg
#36
Foodbme
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/08/30 00:34:13 (permalink)
Who should know more about potatoes than anyone in the World?
The Ag Dept. at the University of Idaho!
 http://www.uidaho.edu/search?q=potato research&cof=FORID:9&cref=http://www.uidaho.edu/search?xml=1&ticks=635449446997312025
#37
Chef Jeannette
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/09/05 15:35:22 (permalink)
Russet or Idaho potatoes will give you the best results!
You obviously have to make it a daily routine since you’re lacking storage space.
I worked in a restaurant that made their own potato chips, pain in the butt but they perfected it and it became a signature item. Every shift had to either slice and soak or drain and dry then fry. Since this was a signature item it had major TLC from the prep kitchen every day…
Making potato chips are much more difficult sometime almost impossible if you want them to be perfect! I recall the owner buying 20 to 30 bags at a time and if one bag didn’t produce a well fried chip all the bags would be returned he didn’t want to take any chances. Since he bought many bags per week the produce vendor was at his beckon call which helped.
Seems potatoes not only contain starch they also contain simple sugars. This can cause the French fry to cook up to fast and burn! That’s why soaking is an absolute necessity to remove the starch and the sugar! Soak the fries in cold water and rinse them off let them dry some time it helps to have clean fresh dish towels to put your portioned amount on right before it hits the oil.  Getting the start and sugar out of them and making sure their good and dry helps them fry up crisp.
 
~If your potatoes aren't completely dry they'll sputter in the oil, and not fry well. 
 
Much success
 

restaurantthemeandmenucreationservices.com
#38
Gringo Tamales
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/09/13 08:41:04 (permalink)
I ran a Fresh Cut Fries trailer on the ribfest circuit for a couple of years.  Early on, I stumbled across an online posting from the North Carolina Department of Health which outlined their official approval of the process used by 5 Guys Burgers and Fries - the "Time In Lieu of Temperature" method of keeping the fries fresh.  I can't post the link here 'cause I'm new, but if you PM me, I can send it to you.
 
I exclusively used Pitco Solstice high capacity fryers for their ability to recover quicker and produce more fries from the same footprint as a regular capacity fryer.  Our Pitco fryers had the built-in filtration units, which substantially reduce downtime and oil breakdown while producing a noticeably superior product.
 
We also used White Diamond North Dakota potatos, specifically grown for fresh cut fries.  Again, can't post a link, but they are easy to find on the web.
 
The combination of high quality potatoes, high quality cooking equipment and high visibility marketing at events produced a much higher volume of sales than other similar fresh-cut fries stands, as well as a much higher profit in our pockets.
 
post edited by Gringo Tamales - 2014/09/13 08:42:39
#39
Inkys
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/09/16 02:13:54 (permalink)
Wow, I had no idea there was so much to making good fries. Thanks to all for your input.
 
For those that mentioned In and Out, i went by and spoke with a manager. They use Kennenbec  potatoes, peeled, chopped, rinsed, and fried. No pre-cook. They use cotton seed oil at 350 degrees.
 
I'm wondering about oil now. Several people mention different oils. Veggie oil is definitely out, duck fat might be great, but I wonder if/where I can get it and what it costs. Another post mentioned that regular lard was the end all beat all.
I think any animal fat is going to beat a veggie fat for taste.
 
What have other people tried? Do some types last longer/more uses than others?
#40
DWags541
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/10/08 01:25:10 (permalink)
Its nice to know about specific potato varieties, however, I am not sure how accessible they are compared to standard russets. When you are In & Out, or 5 Guys, you have purchasing power and I imagine they can get specific types trucked cross country and still make it worthwhile cost wise. 
 
With regards to the sugar, we had an incident a few weeks ago where a few batches of parcooked fries were turning up overly brown at half the cooking time. After examining a variety of factors, I felt confident it was the batch of potatoes we were working with. Perhaps they had more sugar than typical. 
 
I use soy oil to fry. I have tried Peanut oil and I may switch back to it in limited situations, as it is double the price. I have no interest in using animal fats because my establishment is vegetarian. 
 
So far, my above mentioned methods work. They yield a fry that is a bit salty pre-seasoning, but currently, I feel like the amount of salt helps the prep. I do admit tho that the vinegar added to the water could have more of an impact than the salt. Also, I wonder if more attention to rinsing would also be an added factor. For example, currently, we cut and rinse and then brine. So, 1 rinse. I wonder if I did 1-2 more rinses, perhaps with significant soaking times would create another level of treatment that is meaningful to the finished product.

Inkys, I am surprised 5 guys only does one cook. I should go try their fries for comparison. 
 
Gringo, I would be interested in knowing any techniques from places that have honed into tried and true methods.
#41
chefbuba
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Re:Fresh Potato French Fries 2014/10/09 00:31:24 (permalink)
I went to five guys last week, my fries are better. $12 for a cheese burger, fries & coke.
There is a mom and pop drive in across the street that makes very good burgers. $6.99 for the same.
#42
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