Ask Dr. Potato

With 746 posts, chances are there's already an answer to your question. Please try searching below before submitting a question to Dr. Potato. Use multiple words to help narrow down the results. For example, search for "potatoes" and "group" if looking for an answer on cooking potatoes for large groups.

Back To Dr. Potato Home

To Create Perfect French Fries Its Important To Always Blanch Them

Q:

I know your philosophy is to blanch potatoes when doing fresh cut fries and understand the reasons why, but is this practical for a chef operator like myself?

A:

OK, despite all the posts on this blog about the importance of blanching potatoes for fries, I hope that reading from others and their experiences will convince you that this is the way to go.

  • The chef at Wildfire (with locations in Illinois, Minnesota and Virginia) who prided himself on taking on a project that requires weeks of research. He specifically uses potatoes from the Blackfoot Idaho area. I love this comment,“The first part of my plan was to find the best quality potato I could get my hands on.”
    • His tips on blanching: Blanch them in high quality trans-fat free vegetable oil for 5 minutes at 260 degrees.
  • The wonderful videos done by Rouxbe Cooking School: "French Fries"
  • Or, this article in the Chicago Tribune, "Make the best french fries ever," on what Chef Bart Vandaele of Belga Café in Washington DC and Chef Ben Sheagren of Hop Leaf in Chicago do.

Our recommendations:

Keep the skin on to enhance homemade appearance and flavor. Fries made from peeled potatoes should be chilled after cutting in cold water for 30 minutes to 2 hours before frying to ensure maximum crispiness. Add citrus acid or vinegar to the water solution to prevent darkening. Spin-dry before frying to avoid spattering and reduce fat absorption.

blanching

Fresh fries are best blanched. Get a crispier finished fry by blanching potatoes in hot oil to precook before peak periods and then finish in a final fry before serving. Fries are completely cooked during the blanching stage at a lower temperature to allow the potato to cook slowly without becoming golden brown. After blanching, allow fries to cool to room temperature or, preferably, refrigerate in uncovered containers before the final fry to a golden brown.

frycutter

Pictured above and below, are Idaho® Russet Burbank variety potatoes best for the perfect fries. Make sure to use a good quality fry cutter such as, a wall or surface mount FF cutter by King Kutter, Nemco and others costing at least $175. The $29.95 specials will not last, trust me on this one.

frycutter2

Another method for smaller fresh fry preparation is to use the Mandoline to cut the Idaho® Russet Burbank variety potatoes for the perfect fries.

Fresh made skin on Idaho® French fries served with three dipping sauces
Fresh made skin on Idaho® French fries served with three dipping sauces