French fry Help

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AZdog
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2010/06/11 00:12:08 (permalink)

French fry Help

I'm having a bitch of a time getting my french fries right.  Any advice would be appreciated.

I make about 60lbs of fresh cut fries a day.  My method is:

1. Wash/scrub the potato out of the bag
2. Trim ends and 2 sides off of potato
3. Cut potato in half
4. Soak halves roughly 30mins
5. Run the halved potatoes through the manual french fry cutter (3/8)
6. Hand sort through the cuttings  QC
7. Hand rinse fries 4 times until water is clear of starch (3lbs batches)
8. Put those batches into ice water in a commercial bucket (overnight 10+ hours)
9. In the morning drain water from bucket (drive 30mins to site)
10. Initially fry the fries in small batches for 2:30mins at 350 degrees.
11. Pat oil off of fry - then dump into a clean commercial bucket (fries stay in this state from 30mins to 3hrs when I sell out)
12. Upon order fry again for 3:45mins at 375 degrees
13. Remove/ pat off oil / salt and serve.

Now, I have been using this same method for the past 2 months and I NEVER have a consistent batch of fries.  Every morning I am thinking to myself: "I wonder what the fries will be like this morning."  I never deviate from the above, and always use the same brand of fry (which is about a 60 I think).

My problem is that I can't get a crispy fry - or it only stays crispy for >2mins.  I have read my ass off about different methodologies of getting a crispy fry and most of them require a boiling in water stage.  Unfortunately, I already spend enough time prepping these fries.  I am pretty sure nobody around here goes through this process.  I don't have the equipment to boil 60lbs of fries each and every day as well as all of the above.  It's just too  much for a $1.50 bag of fries.

I have done my own hours of experiments to try to get a crispy fry - I have done the pre-frying from everywhere from 1min to 5mins and at temperatures ranging from 240 to 350 - and the second stage at 2min to 4mins from 360 to 380 degrees.

My fries seem to retain A LOT of oil - sometimes a couple of fries come out really dark and oily, as if they have been dipped in dirty motor oil.  I change my oil weekly and use Soy.

Would someone care to share their experience of how to get a consistent and predicable fry that remains crispy for more than a couple of minutes.  I am really unhappy with the quality of my fries and its really frustrating.

Some pictures below:




Washed and cutting stage



Fries after the first blanching.


Close up.



Right after being pulled.



Within a couple of minutes - pick it up and it bends over. Not crispy at all.
post edited by AZdog - 2010/06/11 00:29:39
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    pimple2
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 02:42:15 (permalink)
    You are steaming/cooking the fries by dumping them in a thick layer in the bucket. Here is a problem. If there is any way to drain the fries above the frier in a thin layer, that sets the crust, with the rising heat. Normally, in a hotel situation, the fry basket is hooked above a well to drain while cooling & CRUSTING.

    I cannot advise you about 60lb batches at one time, since my experience is in hotel cooking. Dusting raw fries in cornstarch and frying at a lower temperature [320F] for the first round may help, although much depends on the Fryoil version and their recommendations. Then, go to 350-375 if you need to. Try a small batch at 320 & one at 350F for the first round, with a dusting of cornstarch. DO NOT DUMP in thick layer, please. They must drain above the hot oil to set their crust. Keep them spread out & refry. For this experiment. Please try another experiment: raw fries, no washing, cut & dust with cornstarch, proceed.

    You  will have 3 comparison points to check if the long soak may be hurting your quality. Be well.
    #2
    chefbuba
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 02:47:45 (permalink)
    AZdog

    I'm having a bitch of a time getting my french fries right.  Any advice would be appreciated.

    I make about 60lbs of fresh cut fries a day.  My method is:

    1. Wash/scrub the potato out of the bag
    2. Trim ends and 2 sides off of potato....Why ? 
    3. Cut potato in half  Why?
    4. Soak halves roughly 30mins ....No need for this step...a waste of time
    5. Run the halved potatoes through the manual french fry cutter (3/8)
    6. Hand sort through the cuttings  QC ... Why... there FF's
    7. Hand rinse fries 4 times until water is clear of starch (3lbs batches)
    8. Put those batches into ice water in a commercial bucket (overnight 10+ hours)
    9. In the morning drain water from bucket (drive 30mins to site)
    10. Initially fry the fries in small batches for 2:30mins at 350 degrees. I initial fry much longer at 300, never timed it, but go by sight and feel...fully cooked, but no color.
    11. Pat oil off of fry - then dump into a clean commercial bucket (fries stay in this state from 30mins to 3hrs when I sell out)
    12. Upon order fry again for 3:45mins at 375 degrees
    13. Remove/ pat off oil / salt and serve.

    Now, I have been using this same method for the past 2 months and I NEVER have a consistent batch of fries.  Every morning I am thinking to myself: "I wonder what the fries will be like this morning."  I never deviate from the above, and always use the same brand of fry (which is about a 60 I think).  are you talking size?

    My problem is that I can't get a crispy fry - or it only stays crispy for >2mins.  I have read my ass off about different methodologies of getting a crispy fry and most of them require a boiling in water stage.  Unfortunately, I already spend enough time prepping these fries.  I am pretty sure nobody around here goes through this process.  I don't have the equipment to boil 60lbs of fries each and every day as well as all of the above.  It's just too  much for a $1.50 bag of fries.

    I have done my own hours of experiments to try to get a crispy fry - I have done the pre-frying from everywhere from 1min to 5mins and at temperatures ranging from 240 to 350 - and the second stage at 2min to 4mins from 360 to 380 degrees.

    My fries seem to retain A LOT of oil - sometimes a couple of fries come out really dark and oily, as if they have been dipped in dirty motor oil.  I change my oil weekly and use Soy.

    Would someone care to share their experience of how to get a consistent and predicable fry that remains crispy for more than a couple of minutes.  I am really unhappy with the quality of my fries and its really frustrating.
    Don't hold, fry them to order....there fresh, hot  and made in front of your customer to order.....your not going to get a fresh fry to stay crispy in my experience....cut out a couple of these prep steps, just a waste of time....wash, cut, rinse, soak, fry, done.
    Some pictures below:




    Washed and cutting stage



    Fries after the first blanching.


    Close up.



    Right after being pulled.



    Within a couple of minutes - pick it up and it bends over. Not crispy at all.


    #3
    AZdog
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 03:00:34 (permalink)
    Answers:

    Ends and sides are cut off so that it goes through the cutter easier.  Potato skins are thick and if you don't cut them - it makes it that much more difficult to get it through the cutter.

    Same with cutting it in half - these are very large potatoes and for about 1 week I didn't cut them in half, and I would have to pound the hell out of the cutter to get them through (and I am 6'4" 210lbs) and even bent 1 blade on the cutter.  Since, I cut them in half and they glide right through.

    Soaking the halves - this process is done while I am cutting the 60lbs of fries. If the halves are not stored in water, as I go along, they already start to oxidize by the time I complete the rest of them.  It's not done as an additional step - it's a step in progress.

    60 - yes this is the size.

    @pimple - thanks for the cornstarch idea. However, I am not really looking to add an additional expense and process of having to dust 60lbs of fries each day.  Really wonder what the kitchen would look like after each day. LOL.  But if I don't get any other thoughts here, then it's something that I will try.


    #4
    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 06:41:17 (permalink)
    I'm thinking if your selling 60 lbs. of fry's @ day.................. how bad can they be !! but I am lurking around your thread as i will  trying this as well. Buck
    #5
    BillyB
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 07:24:27 (permalink)
    Like Chefbuba said, soak over night, cook fry until 90% done/cooked/ not brown at 300 to degrees, the last cooking when the fries are needed is only to brown the fry....Chef BillyB
    #6
    farmboy236
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 08:05:05 (permalink)
      In my younger days I managed a high volume restaurant that served "real fries".  The only thing we did differently was the potatoes were aged for 30-60 days until soft then we steamed them for the first cook instead of frying them.  To me , from your picture, it looks like the first cook isn't long enough, they should be softer,really to the point  of almost being hard to deal with .  You also might try cleaning your oil on a daily basis instead of weekly.  As an expirement, try microwaving a small batch in a plastic wrapped bowl with a small amount of water for different times until you find the right consistency for the first cook.  Real fries are a pain but man, they are worth it when they are right!  Good luck and please keep us posted on your results.  Oh yeah, how are you storing them after the first cook?  We just put ours on a rolling rack on sheet pans and let them air dry until use.
    #7
    chefbuba
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 09:48:52 (permalink)
    potatoes were aged for 30-60 days until soft

     
    ??????? In my book, a soft potato is a rotten potato. How do you age FF's? Just wondering.....as I'm still on my first cup uf coffee.
    #8
    RodBangkok
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 10:13:46 (permalink)
    Your over cooking on the first par fry.  Basically your making left over fries by par frying at a too high temp.  Again as mentioned they should be colorless, and still firm, not completely cooked.  Your finish fry should be 375 plus and in small batches.  Your doing a lot of extra work for nothing with all this rinsing and soaking, try some experiments with smaller batches, start with only fresh cut, no washing, par fry these at a set temp and let cool then finish.  Change only one variable in your process as you figure out what works best for you.  You may want to soak, but I've never found it necessary, but there are a lot of variables, especially oil temp, fryer recovery time, and type of oil, sugar content in the potato, etc.
    #9
    farmboy236
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 14:00:26 (permalink)
    Chefbubba,
      We didn't age them until they were rotten (although you have to check them daily and remove the bad ones)but just until they are soft.  It's hard to explain but you would immediately know the difference if you compared the two.  There is just a slight give to the potato.  It definitely makes a difference in taste for the better!  If anyone remembers "Houston's" restaurants  they did the same.
      AZdog I agree with Rod about all of the soaking, I think you are over doing it.  The only drying off that really makes a difference is the final cook where moisture is the enemy of crisp.  If I remember correctly we used to soak them overnight after banging them through the fry machine.  We were doing anywhere from 5 to 12 cases of 60 or 80 count a day.
    #10
    MiamiDon
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 15:49:09 (permalink)
    FWIW,  I have some notes from a defunct restaurant that specialized in fries.
     
    Russet potatos, peeled.
     
    Cut fries; wash thoroughly.  (doesn't say what size fries)
     
    Par-cook fries in oil @ 325-degrees for 5 minutes.
     
    Self-steam fries in closed container for 1 hour or more.
     
    Finish fries "to order" @ 370-degrees for 3.5 minutes.
     
    Drain, salt, toss in colander.
    #11
    AZdog
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/11 19:08:34 (permalink)
    I tried drying the fries out after the first frying today - I also allowed them to cool before I put them in the bucket.  It made a slight difference but not much to quantify the extra time of patting them down and drying them off.

    Thanks for the info on your individual experiences - I'm starting to concoct my plan. 

    Any more advice is welcomed.


    #12
    farmboy236
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 07:13:54 (permalink)
    Keep us posted and good luck!
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    edwmax
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 09:27:27 (permalink)
    You stated "My problem is that I can't get a crispy fry - or it only stays crispy for >2mins. "       .... The out side is cooking before (or faster) than the inside.   ...   As stated above cook longer at a lower temperature. Until fully cooked with little or no color.     .... Then reheat & crisp when ready to serve.
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    BillyB
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 09:36:04 (permalink)
    Get a "Fryer thermometer" and check the temp on your fryer, it could be way off, and your just going in circles..............
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    edwmax
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 12:26:30 (permalink)
    edwmax

    You stated "My problem is that I can't get a crispy fry - or it only stays crispy for >2mins. "       .... The out side is cooking before (or faster) than the inside.   ...   As stated above cook longer at a lower temperature. Until fully cooked with little or no color.     .... Then reheat & crisp when ready to serve.


    I might add  ... watch the bubbles in the frying oil.      ....  as long as bubble are coming out of the french fry there is water in the center.  It's not done and will not crisp until the bubbles stop.    If the out side is starting to show color, turn down the heat.    ...  This works for all other fried foods too.    When the bubbles slow down or stop and the outside has not brown to your liking, turn up the heat to finish quickly.     .......  

    The bubbles will tell you when the food is done and if it is browning while still a lot of bubbles, then the oil is too hot.    ........ I see a lot of cooks that don't understand  this.   ... My wife doesn't........
    post edited by edwmax - 2010/06/12 12:30:53
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 13:00:52 (permalink)
    You should add some vinegar to the water for the overnight soak, par fry at 335, cool , finish at 375, par fry in smaller batches
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    pimple2
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 17:34:41 (permalink)
    http://aht.seriouseats.co...tyle-french-fries.html

    On the other hand, those boiled in the vinegared water remained perfectly intact, even after boiling for a full ten minutes. When fried, they had fabulously crisp crusts with tiny, bubbly, blistered surfaces that stayed crisp even when they were completely cool.

    post edited by pimple2 - 2010/06/12 17:36:29
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    AZdog
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 19:24:14 (permalink)
    @Pimple - I read that article on SE when it was posted.  I have read just about all there is out there on doing fries - that's why I asked the question here because I exhausted everything else.   It is a great article but it involves the boiling process which I don't want to have to go through.  I believe that boiling is fine if you are producing small amounts - maybe in a gourmet hotel or something where there are a lot of personnel to do the different aspects - and there is NOT someone outside pacing outside your trailer waiting for the fries.

    @chewing fat - I did try adding vinegar to the water a few days ago. It is hard to measure because I am dealing with gallons as opposed to smaller amounts of water.  Without a perfect ratio it affected the pectin too much and the fries didn't get crispy at all.

    Everything has to be in balance to get a good crispy fry.  I believe that I am doing fine to get rid of the starch but there is too much simple sugars remaining in the fries.  As previously stated, sometimes some of the fries come out really dark dark brown without a crisp - and that's indicative of too much sugar in the fry.

    @edwmax - I have tried that method. Fried the fries to a point where the bubbles ceased. It's not satisfactory in my opinion, nor did it give it anymore of a crisp than my previous method.  It made the fries very bland and tasted very over-cooked.  To your other point, I have tried all ranges between 320 and 350, with cooking from 2minutes to as long as 5 or 6 minutes.  The fries that were cooked longer at lower temperatures were less crispy and became more saturated with oil.  I am using a large commercial gas 40lbs fryer, and adjusting the temperature on the fly is not really an option as it takes considerable time for it to reduce temp etc.

    @Billy-B - I first thought that may be the problem.  A few days ago, I got a digital thermo and the fryer's temperature is properly calibrated within 1 or 2 degrees.


    So, I am still perplexed.

    Especially at some of the advice saying to par-fry then cool, then some saying to par-fry then close in a container and allow to self steam for an hour - which was kind of essentially what I was doing.  {scratching head}

    post edited by AZdog - 2010/06/12 19:30:23
    #19
    Tnmedic
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/12 21:12:21 (permalink)
    This might not mean much but IMHO if you are doing 60 lbs a day you are doing something right. I also understand the desire to get it perfect. As I was reading this I was thinking of a franchise that does fresh cut fries (A bunch of guys burgers) and theirs are never crispy however they do sell a lot. I'm anxiously waiting to see what works good for you.

    Billy
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 00:01:05 (permalink)
    Tnmedic

    This might not mean much but IMHO if you are doing 60 lbs a day you are doing something right. I also understand the desire to get it perfect. As I was reading this I was thinking of a franchise that does fresh cut fries (A bunch of guys burgers) and theirs are never crispy however they do sell a lot. I'm anxiously waiting to see what works good for you.

    Billy


    Exactly my thought Springfield's Cozy Dog fries are not crispy but boy are they good. I eat them at least once a week, and Buzz is a friend I do know that he cuts them leaves them overnight in water, and then hits them in the fryer and leaves them hanging just over the grease and then re-drops them to finish them before service.

    But are they crispy HELL NO, but I love them.

    Jack
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    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 07:41:14 (permalink)
    by the way, about how many pounds, cups, handfulls,or whatever, of fry's can you do in one batch ? in a 35-40 lb. fryer?
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 11:16:17 (permalink)
    Now that I think about it, you'll really have problems if you get it right...500 lbs. a day, lol
    #23
    chefbuba
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 11:40:27 (permalink)
    Buck & Vi's

    by the way, about how many pounds, cups, handfulls,or whatever, of fry's can you do in one batch ? in a 35-40 lb. fryer?

    Two baskets full !.......
     
    I keep my blanched fries in  6" hotel pan, takes 9-10 baskets to fill....I figure on approx 15 orders from that, using a #250 boat heaped full.....All depends on your portion. Spuds are cheap....I pay around $5 for #50 sack.
    #24
    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 18:26:14 (permalink)
    chefbuba

    Buck & Vi's

    by the way, about how many pounds, cups, handfulls,or whatever, of fry's can you do in one batch ? in a 35-40 lb. fryer?

    Two baskets full !.......
     
    I keep my blanched fries in  6" hotel pan, takes 9-10 baskets to fill....I figure on approx 15 orders from that, using a #250 boat heaped full.....All depends on your portion. Spuds are cheap....I pay around $5 for #50 sack.


    thanks ! now at the risk of sounding even more stupid, would it be okay when your cutting the fries to let them go into a "food safe" 5 gal pail like if the cutter was on the wall just pull the handle and let the fries drop into the bucket ??
    #25
    porkchopexpress
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 21:12:07 (permalink)
    $5 for 50lb is cheap. I think I paid $15.00 for 70ct and 50ct boxes last week
    #26
    chefbuba
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/13 22:37:00 (permalink)
    I buy #2 spuds...no need to pay for a uniform size potato...plus I use a mandolin to cut so the larger potatoes are not an issue.
    #27
    rumbelly
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/17 13:01:54 (permalink)
    Its all in the quality of the potato-russets, yukon golds. Ya gotta pay more for decent spuds. Cheap table potatoes are not good for fries. I blanch them(par cook) at 260 F after a good soak in water, then finish in 365 F. Still crispy after 10 minutes. Peeled potatoes work better as well.
    #28
    AZdog
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/17 19:37:58 (permalink)
    Interesting - that's the first time that I have heard someone say that they soak the fries after the first par cook.  Makes me think.
    #29
    chefbuba
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    Re:French fry Help 2010/06/17 19:57:28 (permalink)
    Read it again AZ.... says blanched after soaking....
    #30
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