The Keys to the Perfect Hand-Cut Fries
French fries have been one of the most popular side dishes for decades. The alchemy that turns potatoes into a crispy wonder is something that has brought joy to people across the world, regardless of their age, lifestyle, or culture.
While the popularity of the food has not seen much change in recent times, what has changed is the manner of the preparation, and there are a number of fry variations to choose from. Hand-cut French fries that are made on the spot began as an innovation that caught footing in the fast casual world, but increasingly, restaurants and other food service operations have begun to take up the practice.
What Makes Hand-Cut Fries Unique?
TRADITIONAL FRIES VS. HAND-CUT FRIES
For some businesses, it is more of an advertising exercise than a change in cooking styles. Modern consumers are more motivated to look for healthier and fresher alternatives to their favorite foods. Selling your fries in progressive terms is a good way to showcase that these fries have a particularly high standard.
The potatoes that are used for commercial french fries are distributed in bulk packages, before being washed, peeled, cut, blanched, fried and frozen in storage. While those packages may look and feel like potatoes, the manufacturing process makes them something different. Sugars and salts are added to achieve a certain taste, and the oils used during the frying process are partially absorbed (about six or seven percent) by the potato. By the time the frozen fries make it to your plate, they are only about fifty-six to sixty-two percent moisture. (The exact number is determined by the solids in the potato.)
The quality of the oil can have a substantial effect on the flavor of the potatoes. If the oil has been damaged, then that oil will be absorbed by the potato and assimilated into the oil in the restaurant fryer. Compromised oil eventually lessens the effectiveness of oil in the long-term and decreases the quality of the food.
By contrast, fresh potatoes are about eighty percent moisture and head to the fryer in a cleaner state thanks to the blanching process that rinses the potatoes of its sugars and potato starches. Bad oil is not an issue.
STEPS TO MAKING THE PERFECT HAND-CUT FRIES
Hand-cut fries can taste great and be healthier for you than their standard counterparts, but only if they’re made properly. There isn’t any one consensus recipe for getting these fries done correctly. Time, equipment, and the quality of your potatoes are important factors that affect what you can accomplish in the kitchen. Ultimately. you’ll have to experiment a little to figure what works for you.
First, wash the potatoes to remove any dirt or sand. You can follow this by either peeling the potatoes or cut straight to the point and cutting them by hand. After that, soak the potatoes in water for hours. This step is very important. If you don’t soak them for long enough, then the finished fries won’t be as crisp as you want them to be. You won’t be able to make it up later, regardless of the quality of your potatoes or the freshness of your oil.
Next, dry the potato slices of excess water. At this point, you can decide to blanch the potatoes or not, but as we stated earlier, it’s better if you do it now while you can. Read more about blanching fries here.
Once they have been soaked, fry the potatoes not once, but twice at different temperatures. We recommend three to four minutes at 325 degrees and then another three or four minutes at 375 degrees. Getting the moisture out now allows the potato cells to close up and avoid absorbing any oil during the next finish. This process is called retrogratiation. While cooking the fries, give the fries a shake to make sure that the oil is evenly distributed throughout the potato strips. Drain over the fryer a few seconds, then into a pan under warming lights.
By the end of this process, you should have a tasty tray of fries for your customers to enjoy. It can be strenuous work, but it is worth it for creating the perfect hand-cut fries that will keep customers coming back for more.
While hand-cut french fries make a great side dish, that doesn’t mean you don’t have choices. Tell us more about yourself and we’ll serve up only the content you’re interested in receiving.
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