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Old 12-02-2005, 11:03 AM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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French fry oil temperature

Whilst partaking of a fine meal at McDonalds, my brother offered this nugget of trivia: He'd read that the temperature of the oil used to fry the fries was a closely guarded trade secret. Is this true? Do you know what that temperature is, and if so can you tell us? In any event, what difference does the temperature make anyways?
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2005, 11:20 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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350 degrees F, give or take. It's no secret. The oil has to be hot enough to cook the fries quickly without making them mushy, but not so hot as to start smoking or catch fire. This encompasses a fairly narrow range of temperatures from about 300 or so to just over 375. Deep fried foods will always be cooked somewhere within this range.
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Old 12-02-2005, 11:31 AM
Duke of Rat Duke of Rat is offline
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And french fries cooked twice, once in oil at 325F until tender then at 375F until crunchy are the best IMHO.
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:09 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Rat
And french fries cooked twice, once in oil at 325F until tender then at 375F until crunchy are the best IMHO.
You got it, Duke of Rat. They'll always come out perfect that way.

In fact, I believe that frozen fries are frozen after the first lower temp cooking, and one puts them directly from the freezer bag into the 375 oil. Does McDonald's use frozen fries?
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:13 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teela brown
Does McDonald's use frozen fries?
Yes. But they are uncooked at the time they are frozen. I've never heard of fries being cooked prior to being frozen, or am I misunderstanding you?
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:37 PM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Rat
And french fries cooked twice, once in oil at 325F until tender then at 375F until crunchy are the best IMHO.
What period of time between the two temperatures? Do you let them cool down first? Do you have two vats and just transfer from one to the other? Do you just turn up the temperature in the one vat?
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:43 PM
Duke of Rat Duke of Rat is offline
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About 3 or 4 min at 325. You can drain them and raise the temp if you don't have 2 vats handy, doesn't really matter. You are just cooking them to soften them up.

Here is a Food Network article that has them drained between cookings. I think I learned the technique from Julia Child, and she went from one oil directly to the next IIRC.
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Old 12-02-2005, 03:11 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
Yes. But they are uncooked at the time they are frozen. I've never heard of fries being cooked prior to being frozen, or am I misunderstanding you?
No, you didn't misunderstand me. The very few times I've bought frozen fries, they were pretty obviously semi-cooked before being frozen. At some fast food joints, I've seen them opening big brown paper bags of frozen fries that look just like those pre-cooked grocery fries. McDonald's, however, might do things differently. For one thing, their fries are almost "shoe-string" fries, which are thin enough that they may not need the double-cook method to stay crisp.
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2005, 03:23 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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McDonald's fries come cooked to the store (partially fried, to get them partially done in the middle.) I can't say that I know what temperature that is. They're frozen, but McDonald's aims to fry them an hour after they've been out of the freezer. They're good for (I believe) 2.5 hours after they've been pulled from the freezer, then apparently they're too warm to fry properly. No one cares at the store level because we can't tell the difference, and the fry hopper turnover is usually fast enough to where it doesn't matter.

I can say that the fryers in the store cook the fries at 335 degrees for approximately 3 minutes and 10 seconds. (That's the start time for the fryers, different stores may have different recovery times on the oil, or different thermostats, so that they need different cooking times by maybe 10 or 15 seconds.)

Next time you're in the store, ask an employee for a frozen, uncooked fry, and you'll see that it's already greasy, as though it had been fried already.
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2005, 03:32 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Back in the day:

Indeed, McD's used a two step process: first cooking at a lower temp to force out the water in the spuds and infuse them with lard. Then later, when fries were needed, cooked at a higher temp to golden crispness.

You'd spend a good part of the afternoon blanching fries in baskets so you would have some ready for the final cook during rush hour.

As to secrecy, you've got to be kidding me. The temps were on the dials on the fryers and 15 year olds were running the thing. Hardly a "Top Secret" operation.

Using thin-cut fries is key to getting this right. I am baffled at how many places don't do the double frying or use thick cut fries (or both).
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