One of our tests (not reviewed) involved blanching fries starting with cold water and pulling them out when they reached 70°C. Third Rule: Make sure your blanching water is boiling, and don’t let the water temperature get below 80°C. [6] Catalase and peroxidase are commonly used to determine blanching success, since they are the most thermal-resistant enzymes of concern. A limitation to hot water blanching is the leaching of water-soluble nutrients and the degradation of thermal sensitive compounds. Using SP-L breaks down the pectin at the surface, allowing major starch expansion and preventing fissures and cracks in the crust. That does wonders for the fry taste. We make a lot of vinegar fries. Not super crunchy –but not soggy. congrats…quick question, does the water to solids:ratio matter during blanching? I also believe that McDonalds uses multiple varieties of potatoes in their fries. We were testing whether surface-rougness=crunch or overcooking=crunch --so wewanted to create an overcooked fry with a smooth surface. The plain-water fries tasted like crap next to the salt-water ones. What ratio were you using? Left to right: blanched; first fry; second fry exterior; second fry interior. This potato is, without a doubt, superior to Idaho, especially, in its crispiness once it’s been fried. I tried your method of boiling (in a 40 quart steam kettle) some 9/32″ cut fries (same as McDonald’s) for 5 minutes, then drying and pre-frying at 300 degrees for 2:30 minutes, then later finishing them at 350 degrees. Also, I found it very interesting the overcooking led to a crispier fry…..Any intention to make the perfect onion rings after this? Great tips, the first french fries receipe really tested and proven with scientific facts ! Heston says to fry at 250°f for this step, but I found with a home sized fryer like mine, the batch of fries made the temperature … Blanching is proven to get rid of any food pathogens, it preserves the color of the fries, and it helps remove starch and reduce any moisture in the fries. Why does it need blanch potatoes? [3] A common alternative to cooling with cold water is cooling with cold air. Blanching or pre-blanching at temperatures below 75°C –or blanching slowly so the fries stay between 60 and 75 degrees C for several minutes — activates an enzyme called pectin methylesterase (PME). davearnold He set up conditioning rooms in the basements with fans to allow the potatoes 3 weeks time to convert sugars built up in cold storage to convert back into starch. Spoiler alert: here’s the final answer … Soak the cut fries for one hour in a room temperature solution of Pectinex SP-L (a pectolytic and hemicellulolytic enzyme mix), blanch in boiling water (don’t overload your blanching container) for 14 minutes 30 seconds (assuming your water takes 1:30 to get back to boil), do not dry before frying. Recently I’ve tried frying in the low 400’s, as close as I can get to peanut oil’s smoke point (I converted to peanut oil some time back since I was trying to replicate the Les Halles/Bourdain cookbook fries). Personally I like the 3/8″ 1/4″ is about as small as I’d ever want to go. [3] The most common enzyme responsible for off-flavors is lipoxygenase (LOX), found in several vegetables. The 14:30 fries were unanimously voted first place. Fry them at 170°C till they form a crust but are still blond. When making french fries, the cut potatoes are often blanched in medium-heat oil and then cooled before frying them a second time at a higher temperature. [3] This method greatly reduces the leaching of water-soluble compounds from the product and is the preferred technique for smaller foods and those with cut surfaces. (Again, sorry if this was already tested, just didn’t see it there myself), davearnold Blanching foods … [4], Although blanching is a thermal process, the times and temperatures are not sufficient to effectively destroy all microorganisms. The internal texture of the fries remained fairly consistent, but the crusts became progressively crunchier as the cooking time increased. We will try to get Kennebecs when we do our tater testing. The one thing I’m a little surprised you guys didn’t try out was higher frying temperatures (like, borderline-dangerous temps). Also, In the testing for this post we bulk cut our fries into cold water and then divided them into batches. We haven’t tested small amounts of acid; but our current thinking is that pectin destruction at the surface, rather than pectin enhancement, is the way to go. One will produce a great fry, another from the same bag or box will not. This effect is the hardest to sort out. Hi – I couldn’t wait to try your FF method, so I made fries your way yesterday, except for omitting the Pectinex Ultra SP-L, which I don’t have. Right now I am evaporating the water from the boiling to measure the amount of starch pulled out of the potatoes. You can immerse your pre-cut potatoes into any liquid of your choice for a short period. Here is what he said: Yeah, Kennebecs are great… if you can get them right out of the field. The longer and hotter the blanch, the more the granules swell, until they finally break. Dave, I’ve followed some of your experiments to a t(minus enzymes, sp1 on order), and some of Kenji’s such as freezing for fluff and adding vinegar. Also, on the burnt nuggets messing up the oil, that is where a commercial deep fryer really shines. // Jun 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm. This should soften the surface. All subsequent tests fries were blanched in a 3% salt solution. First you have to boil the cut french fries in water. Blanching vegetables before freezing them is critical to their quality, but not their safety. Blanching fries does a lot for you  – such as: Many people advocate blanching fries until they “almost fall apart.” To test this advice we blanched fries in boiling water with 3% salt for different lengths of time. Now I can test it out to see if it is as you tested. Sam, davearnold Add citrus acid or vinegar to the water solution to prevent darkening. I have potatoes that break, but I don’t have disintegration problems. [2] The most common blanching methods for vegetables/fruits are hot water and steam, while cooling is either done using cold water or cool air. With a lower oil temperature, the fry spends more time cooking through, and presumably loses more moisture as well. Bottom Row: French fries blanched till done and sanded. Great info Barzelay, [3] Blanching with reused water can lead to a buildup of water-soluble compounds that are considered pollutants, and therefore must be properly treated before being discharged. In the case of regular boiling, I think a happy medium between no-dry and really-dry would be best. Blanching potatoes in hot water will remove even more starch, making them easier to use in crispy potato dishes like hash browns or French fries. Time Requirement of Blanching Potatoes Even though it seems very easy to operate, it has special requirement for the blanching time. On one hand this gives you an advantage as you could make all of your fries out of one kind of potato if you wanted but I doubt it will make a difference as their isn’t a huge variation between individual McDonalds fries, at least not that I’ve noticed. This is another incredible article! We had always liked them –because they are super-crunchy, but now we were a little disappointed by the texture. The key to professional tube-style fryers, as you know, is two-fold — 1. huge amounts of power delivered over a large surface area which minimizes recovery time and local overheating; 2. the establishment of a cold-zone underneath the tubes that allows particles to settle to the bottom without scorching and ruining the oil. I was just thinking, do you think a calcium hydroxide soak would have a similar affect? Prior to this marathon I posited that the crunchiest fry would be the best fry. Hervé This does something like you but not as friendly, popular and widely spread like this. altering the texture of the finished fry. // May 30, 2010 at 11:57 am. Thanks, Dave. If you need to minimize breakage you can lower the blanch time a little –try 11 min. davearnold For our test, we started from cold and blanched for 25 minutes (it took about 15 minutes to boil). [3] Water is heated and cooled using heat exchangers and recirculated for continuous use, reducing costs. Pre-blanch the fries in a temperature-controlled water bath between 60 and 70 degrees C for several minutes, up to an hour. Why I say this, I give this example: Another unexpected aspect is, there were a few left around the next morning and in the interest of science I tried one and it was still very nice. 4. Brilliant stuff, but what would be the “spoiler alert” for those of us that can’t secure Pectinex SP-L? I haven’t done too much research on sweet-potato fries. Great fries can be made by keeping the skin on to enhance the homemade appearance and flavor. [6] In both methods, the food is heated for a short period of time and then introduced into either cold water or cold air to quickly stop the heating process. Since you are working fresh, sodium acid pyrophosphate isn’t needed to preserve color although it may help the fries retain water when frying and could also protect potato pectin. If one prefers blanching, adding sulfur enhances the process. We sell 250 mL bags for $20 plus $5 shipping. davearnold [5], Traditionally, blanching is done using either a water bath or saturated steam. Soaking cut potatoes in cold water before cooking will help to remove some of the starch. // May 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm. hello, Mr.Dave and Mr.Nil. Kroc fried twice in a 94% beef tallow/ 6% cottonseed oil mix , once blanching at 300 degrees then frying at 350 degrees. This would make your fries inherently less crust oriented and more inside oriented. Just about any vegetable can be blanched. The truth is, a fry just needs to be somewhat crunchy, with no signs of sogginess. The upshot is this: chefs like them because it’s really easy to get a slightly-crispy exterior when you only fry them once. From test to test all the fries would have a similar soak time, but we didn’t control for it. These pictures reprinted without permission from "The Effects of Enzymes on Fat Content and Texture of French Fries", G. Lisinska, et al. Pectinex SP-L is the exact opposite of Novoshape –it breaks pectin down. Been endeavoring to produce an excellent fry for years. We tested our vinegar blanching technique against our new favorite blanching technique. The reasoning behind drying: after frying, the potatoes will stay crunchier, longer, because they have less internal moisture. Drain fries on a cooling rack, but don’t force dry them. We have run PME/Steingarten/Water-Soak/No-Soak tests. Can’t wait! // May 16, 2010 at 11:53 am, Tzu-yen Wang Porosity and surface fissures may play a big role, but I don’t think macroscopic roughness does. i know they make sweet potato fries crispy, so maybe it’s worth trying next to the sp-l? This is critical for removing excess starch and … One of the winning batches soaked a little longer but we haven’t had the time to run a test for SP-L soaking for 1 vs 2 vs 3 vs 4 hours, or SP-L soaking at 40C (which still shouldn’t activate too much PME) for a shorter time. The French Fry Crew: Naz, Nick Wong, A.J., Piper, Adam, Jeremie, Jason (King LN), Wipop "Bam" Suppipat, Stazi, and two idiots. To fight ACD, potatoes can be soaked in cold water for about 3 to 4 hours— this also enhances the texture of fries when fried. If you want serious fries, get a serious fryer. [5][7], Blanching preserves the flavors found in fruits and vegetables by inactivating enzymes responsible for off-flavor development. Dunno if endogenous enzymes will work. I ladle them onto quarter size drying racks and then slide the whole batch from the rack into the oil. I don’t think most cooks (who don’t get to use professional equipment) understand how much better a professional fryer is than a home fryer. Along with steaming, blanching vegetables is a basic technique every cook should know. For a home cook without access to that kind of stuff, it seems to work out really well. Don’t look for it right away. Would the PME do its thing on the blackberries and allow their cooking without breaking down? I think they dried out a little more in the convection, which would lower their moisture content, making them seem saltier –and, as we shall see – leading to a hollow fry. 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