How to Make the Best "Signature" Fresh French Fries
- Select quality potatoes. The best potatoes to use for making fresh French fries are Idaho Russet Potatoes. The high solids content of the Idaho Potato guarantees consistent flavor, golden color and fluffy potato inside texture. In addition, the long oval shape of the Idaho Potato will result in eye-pleasing cut fries.
Look for an oval shape, nice length and shallow eyes. No. 1 grade potatoes yield the highest, but No. 2 potatoes may make a more economical choice. The taste is the same.
Potato Storage Tip: the ideal temperature to store fresh potatoes for fries in your location is 55 degrees F. (Refrigerated potatoes can turn the starch in the potato to sugar, so don’t let the temperature go below 40 degrees F.)
- Cut the potatoes into strips. Make sure the cutting blades are sharp; worn out blades feather-cut the fries, which will then crack into smaller pieces in the fryer. Check and replace often.
Cutting tip: Everyone likes long French fries – not only do they look more appetizing, you get better plate coverage.
- Once the potatoes are cut, rinse in cold water until the water runoff is clear. This removes excess starch or sugar. Drain or spin excess water away before blanching the potatoes. Remove as much moisture as possible. Another tip: add a little citrus acid or vinegar to the water to help prevent oxidation.
- To blanch (partially cook) Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes in oil takes three minutes at 350 degrees F (The Norkotah variety should be blanched at a slightly lower temp of 325 degrees F for five to seven minutes.)Blanching is mandatory if you want to improve the internal texture because it creates a fluffy baked potato-like center and speeds up the finish frying.The blanched potato is ready when the internal temp of the potato reaches 160 degrees F.
- After draining the blanched potatoes, cool to room temperature and store in uncovered containers, then refrigerate until ready to use. Tip: If you immediately cover the warm potatoes with a lid, it steams the outer surface, resulting in soggy fries.)
- Bring out the chilled potatoes at serving time and do a final fry at 350 degrees F for 2-4 minutes. The primary purpose of this frying step is to remove moisture and “cook” the potato. Never crank up the thermostat to over 370 degrees F as this shortens the life of the frying oil.After thirty seconds, shake the basket to keep the fries from sticking together and to even out oil circulation issues resulting in cool spots in the potatoes.Oil Tip: The oil should be clear and clean-looking. It should not be murky with lots of particles. Skim loose pieces of potatoes when cooking, and filter your oil daily. (Water, air, temperature-abuse and an accumulation of by-products are the major causes of oil breakdown.)
Fryer Tip: Good performance fryers should let the oil temp recover in just over two minutes. You can test your fryer by measuring the temperature before dropping a basket of fries into the oil and then matching that temperature with a thermostat two minutes later.
Overfilling the basket and dropping two baskets with fries at once will overpower the ability of all but the best fryers. What often happens is the potatoes will absorb more oil and limp fries will result.
Cook one basket 1⁄2 full at a time, then drain off excess oil for ten full seconds over the fryer.
Season the fries with salt in a front to back motion, side to side salting can cause salt to fall into the fryer and break the oil down faster.
Keep the fries loose, don’t stir them or toss with salt as this extra motion can cause the fries to break up into smaller pieces.
Wait to bag up an order until it’s ready to go out. Pre-bagging will steam the final fry making it soggy after all your hard work.