Crispy French fries is an indispensable item in the menu of a fast food restaurant. It is not a secret anymore to cook good fries. Well, having the right deep fat fryer and dump station is a prerequisite; the rest are simple rules.
Deep Fat Fryer
While an experienced chef can use almost any fryer to cook good fries, it is easier to use a computer fryer to standardise cooking procedure with pre-set parameters. It can be an electric fryer or a gas one. Either one will do.
The recovery time of the fryer needs to be short. As a rule of thumb, you would like your fryer to recover to the set temperature of 175 deg C within 2 minutes of dropping the load. That said, the fryer’s power must be commensurate with the volume of frypot. In simple terms, it means that if you have a lot of oil in your fryer, you need a high power fryer to achieve good recovery. As a general guideline, a fryer with a 22 liter vat needs to have 14 kW or more power to achieve desirable recovery.
Cooking temperature is around 330 to 350 deg F (165 to 175 deg C). If oil temperature is too low, the potatoes absorbs more oil; if it is too high, the fries get burnt.
Fries tend to stick together and they get limp. So in the middle of frying, about 45 – 60 seconds after frying starts, take out the fry basket and give it a few shakes: that will prevent fries from sticking together. You can easily program the fryer to remind deli-worker to do that.
Do not overfill your basket: fill the fry basket to a bit more than half full is enough.
When the cooking cycle finishes, do not leave the basket of fries over the fryer for any longer than it should. It takes only about 10 seconds for the excess oil to drip off. Dump the fries into the dumping station immediately after that. Remove excess oil by scooping the fries a few times. Let the excess oil drip through the slots at the bottom of the food bay of dump station.
Do not over-fry or under-fry. A computer control fryer will control fry time accurately. Some of them have load compensation program; it means that if you have a bigger fry load and temperature dips too low, the fryer will cook for longer than your programmed cook time.
If you are not using a computer control fryer, try to use a timer to monitor cooking time. .
Hold your fries at 40 to 50 deg C. There are many dump stations in the market but some of them just display and have no holding function. If the idea of check the temperature with a thermometer seems too tedious, stick your hand into the food bay without touching it. You should feel a very hot sensation but not enough to scorch your skin yet.
Do not hold your fries for more than 10 minutes. Some international fast food chain limits it to even 6 minutes. Fries become limp once they are held beyond the suggested holding time.
Season the fries with salt. In a dump station with spacious food bay, scoop the fries a few times to help distribute salt evenly.
Fresh oil is necessary to produce good crispy French Fries. However, the seasoning and moisture within the food products will damage the oil and shorten its lifespan. Make it your operating procedure to filter the oil regularly. It is perfect if your fryer comes with a built-in filtration system. If not, use a shortening filter cart produces similar result.