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Subject: Oil for deep fryer (French Fries)
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: DD[at]chi-town (Alan)
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 20:22:53 -0800
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I'm getting my wife a deep fryer for Christmas, so that I can make
French (Freedom) Fries with it.

What is a good recipe for the oil?

We've never owned a deep fryer before.  How long can you keep the oil
before dumping it?  Do you need to keep it in the fridge?

I loved the old MacDonald's French Fries.  I've heard that some sort
of pork sauce was an ingredient in their oil before Mulsims
complained.  Now their fries are rather tasteless.  Does anyone have
an idea what their recipe was?

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From: Christopher Green 
Date: 11 Dec 2004 21:13:53 -0800
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Any edible fat or oil that is stable at the temperatures used for deep
frying (365-375 F) will do. Olive oil makes wonderful fries, but needs
much care, as you are working very close to its smoke point.

McDonalds used to use beef tallow in their French Fries. This was not
popular with people of Hindu or Sikh background. A McDonalds was
trashed in Bombay when it was revealed that McDonalds had been wrongly
passing off their fries as vegetarian. McDonalds settled several cases
out of court in 2002 with defrauded customers for $10 million. (Also
see the history of the Sepoy Rebellion for just how unpopular this sort
of thing can become.)

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From: Don Wiss 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 07:07:23 -0500
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Christopher Green wrote:
>McDonalds used to use beef tallow in their French Fries. This was not
>popular with people of Hindu or Sikh background. A McDonalds was
>trashed in Bombay when it was revealed that McDonalds had been wrongly
>passing off their fries as vegetarian. McDonalds settled several cases
>out of court in 2002 with defrauded customers for $10 million.

Wrong. They stopped using beef tallow many years ago. But when they
switched to vegetable oils they continued to use flavorings, and these
flavorings were beef based. Presumably these flavorings where hydrolyzed
beef protein.

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From: elaine 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 08:26:05 -0500
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I got a deep fryer last year for Christmas - a big, clunky thing that takes
up space and doesn't do a great job on fries.  IMO a pot with oil and chip
basket would do the job better.

Chips Courtesy of: Christine Cushing Live
Episode: Golden Brown
Host: Christine Cushing

Add oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot (fill so oil comes  way up the pot).
Heat oil to 320 degrees F. Working in small batches, blanche the chips until
soft and cooked through but not browned, about 3 minutes. Make sure oil
returns to 320 degrees F between batches. Drain on paper towels and let cool
to room temperature.

Heat oil to 375 degrees F. and fry chips again in small batches until crisp
and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with fish and dip chips in hot curry
sauce and garlic mayo. Cooking the chips twice will ensure they are golden
brown and crispy on the outside.

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From: Lucretia Borgia 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 13:58:57 GMT
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elaine wrote:
>I got a deep fryer last year for Christmas - a big, clunky thing that takes
>up space and doesn't do a great job on fries.  IMO a pot with oil and chip
>basket would do the job better.

Oil in the pot is the most common cause of a kitchen fire, the Fire
Department continually warn against this method.  I witnessed a
demonstration of what happens when the fat in the pot ignites and have
never used that method again, just too risky. 

Sheena

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From: Nancy Dooley 
Date: 13 Dec 2004 08:42:20 -0800
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Lucretia Borgia wrote:
> Oil in the pot is the most common cause of a kitchen fire, the Fire
> Department continually warn against this method.    I witnessed a
> demonstration of what happens when the fat in the pot ignites and have
> never used that method again, just too risky.

I don't believe I've ever seen anything in the media about deep frying
in a pot causing fires - unless the pot is untended.  Only idiots would
walk off and leave hot oil on an active burner.

I regularly do hush puppies, onion rings and rosettes (Scandinavian
cookies) in hot oil in my deep electric frypan and have for decades,
without incident.  It helps to have a brain if one is cooking.

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From: Dave Smith 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:56:17 -0500
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Hahabogus wrote:
> It is never wise to gift your wife with things that you want to use.
> Or to gift your wife with required household equipment. (the snow tires
> I got her one year taught me that).

Not a problem if the snow tires are for my car. :-)

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From: Peter Aitken 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 16:37:12 GMT
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DD@chi-town wrote:
> I loved the old MacDonald's French Fries.  I've heard that some sort
> of pork sauce was an ingredient in their oil before Mulsims
> complained.  Now their fries are rather tasteless.  Does anyone have
> an idea what their recipe was?

I heard that McD's used to use beef fat for fries and changed to veg oil due
to health concerns. One book I read said that horse fat makes the best
fries, but I do not think it is available at the A&P! For home frying you
can use essentially any vegegtable oil - canola, peanut, corn, safflower,
etc.  You can also use shortening (such as Crisco).

As for reusing oil, you'll get various opinions. You can certainly use it 2
or 3 times if you filter it and store it in a airtight container between
uses. After that your fries will start to get that "greasy spoon diner"
taste.

You may already know - best fries require 2 cookings. First you fry ar 325
until the potatoes are limp but not brown - 4 or 5 minutes. Then you drain
them and set them aside for up to several hours. Just before serving you fry
again at 375f until brown and crisp.

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From: Bob (this one) 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 12:38:04 -0500
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Peter Aitken wrote:

> I heard that McD's used to use beef fat for fries and changed to veg oil due
> to health concerns. 

They changed due to protest from the wonderfully well-informed public 
who thinks that all animal fat is a four-letter word.

> One book I read said that horse fat makes the best
> fries,

Perhaps Jeffrey Steingarten's book "The man who ate everything."

> As for reusing oil, you'll get various opinions. You can certainly use it 2
> or 3 times if you filter it and store it in a airtight container between
> uses. After that your fries will start to get that "greasy spoon diner"
> taste.

Greasy spoon diners get that greasy taste because they use the same 
oil for *weeks* of daily use in fryers that are on all day long. 
Usually, they don't filter, either.

Oils used for home frying get a tiny fraction of the usage time that 
restaurants do. The greater issue is rancidifying merely from time 
passed after being heated. You should be able to get at least a 
half-dozen uses with filtering and storage in a filled container (less 
room for oxygen in the container) in a cool, dark place. But the time 
elapsed between fryings is significant. The longer you go, the fewer 
uses you'll get. Heating the oils hastens rancidity, so you need to 
use it before it becomes rancid. Rancid oil won't hurt you - it's not 
toxic - but it sure doesn't taste good.

> You may already know - best fries require 2 cookings. First you fry ar 325
> until the potatoes are limp but not brown - 4 or 5 minutes. Then you drain
> them and set them aside for up to several hours. Just before serving you fry
> again at 375f until brown and crisp.

The classic technique. And if you cut them into thick slices rather 
than square cross sections, you get "pommes gonflees" or puffed 
potatoes where they inflate. Very cool to see and eat.

But here's another thing to think about that I wrote a while back:

"Try something that sounds utterly wrong. I was astounded the first
time I did it. Cut your potatoes about 1.5 cm square and however long
you want. Rinse them in cold water and dry well. Put them into cold
oil. Room temperature oil. Turn the fryer on to 185C. Every now and
again, either gently stir them or shake the basket (if that's how
you're doing them) to move them a bit and let all sides cook.

"I used just enough oil to fully cover since the potatoes shrink as
they give off their water.

"A short while after the oil reaches temperature, the potatoes will be
done. Takes a variable amount of time, but think in terms of maybe 15
to 20 minutes from the time you drop them into the oil, depending on
amounts.

"I read this in a Jeffrey Steingarten book and it sounded silly. Tried
it. The spuds were wonderful. Downside is that you can't do it twice
in succession. Means that you need to make enough the first time around."

Pastorio

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 12 Dec 2004 17:54:31 GMT
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Peter Aitken writes:
>DD@chi-town wrote:

>> I loved the old MacDonald's French Fries. 

Sorry, those are not french fried potatoes, those are fried potato sticks.

>As for reusing oil, you'll get various opinions.
>
>You may already know - best fries require 2 cookings. First you fry ar 325
>until the potatoes are limp but not brown - 4 or 5 minutes. Then you drain
>them and set them aside for up to several hours. Just before serving you fry
>again at 375f until brown and crisp.

Talk about opinion... I don't think so.  Nathan's Famous *Coney Island* serves
more french fried potatoes in any 24 hour period than any food joint anywhere
serves all month, and Nathan's are cooked but once... all totally prepared on
premises, from raw unpared spuds to finished fries... no pre-fried, no frozen
crap, and definitely no skinny fast food sticks that have no potato flavor
whatsoever, all yoose twste is grease... Nathan's are zoftig *potatoey* steamy
HOT krinkle kuts... never bit into a *hot* fast fast food fry yet... Nathan's
fries are steamy hot all the way through, actually gotta blow on em and take
little test nibbles lest you burn your gut.... served directly from teh deep
fryer, no keep warm lamps  And fast food fries are pre-salted, that's what
makes them limp and hold the grease... hardly anyone salts  Nathan's fries,
most don't even use ketchup, Nathan's fries are just plain good as is.

http://www.nathansfamous.com

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From: Charles Gifford 
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 21:33:05 GMT
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Peter Aitken wrote:
> I heard that McD's used to use beef fat for fries and changed to veg oil due
> to health concerns. One book I read said that horse fat makes the best
> fries, but I do not think it is available at the A&P! For home frying you
> can use essentially any vegegtable oil - canola, peanut, corn, safflower,
> etc.  You can also use shortening (such as Crisco).

Peter is correct. McD used to use beef tallow and the fries were superb!
They later went to a mixture of lard and vegetable shortening I understand
(probably cost saving). Now they use flavorless veggie oil. The fries aren't
worth eating now IMO. I've heard about the use of horse fat too Peter. As I
remember the horse fat was being used in Belgium. I use peanut oil for most
deep fat frying - chicken and pork still require lard though!

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From: MJ 
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 23:01:41 -0500
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What i find works best is crisco vegetable shortening... it melts when you
use it and re hardens when it cools, which makes it easier to clean out..you
can change it whenever you notice that your food has an old grease taste.
Also depending what you are frying in it will depend on how long the oil
will last.
Hope this helps..

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From: Bob (this one) 
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 01:35:34 -0500
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MJ wrote:
> What i find works best is crisco vegetable shortening... it melts when you
> use it and re hardens when it cools, which makes it easier to clean out..

A solid is easier to clean out than a liquid that can be simply poured 
out?

Right.

Pastorio

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From: MJ 
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 08:48:44 -0500
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> A solid is easier to clean out than a liquid that can be simply poured
> out?

Well the deepfryer i have does not have an insert to remove so pouring it
out is a pain..the oil spills all down the side of it and i hate cleaning a
greasy mess so i much rather just scrape out the shortening than have to
deal with the mess..

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 13 Dec 2004 14:50:29 GMT
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MJ writes:
>Well the deepfryer i have does not have an insert to remove so pouring it
>out is a pain..the oil spills all down the side of it and i hate cleaning a
>greasy mess so i much rather just scrape out the shortening than have to
>deal with the mess..

Large (commercial) deep fryers are fitted with drain petcocks (no one is going
to *pour* out the fat), often more than one so that a filtration unit can be
fitted... but filtration units are costly plus they take up a lot of valuable
kitchen space, and then the filtration unit also requires maintainence.  So the
vast majority of commercial kitchens use solid shortening in their deep fryers,
which they periodically drain into a large pot and set into the walk-in reefer.
As it solidifys the particulates settle to the bottom, then it's a simple
matter to scoop back all into the now cleaned deep fryer except for the very
bottom portion containing the schmutz.
Solid shortening is also preferred as their is no chance of accidental
spills... at home, by placing your used solid shortening into your freezer
permits keeping it for up to a year, and not having to deal with accidental
spills.

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From: Nancy Dooley 
Date: 14 Dec 2004 07:55:28 -0800
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Bob (this one) wrote:
> A solid is easier to clean out than a liquid that can be simply poured
> out?

I bet the poster meant it was easier to dispose of - liquid oil is a
PITA to discard, whereas a semi-solid mass of shortening isn't.

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From: Bob (this one) 
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 12:26:50 -0500
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Nancy Dooley wrote:
> I bet the poster meant it was easier to dispose of - liquid oil is
> a PITA to discard, whereas a semi-solid mass of shortening isn't.

Liquid oil goes tidily into a jug, bottle, can, bucket, etc. with (or 
without) a funnel. Google funnels.

They're new, you know.

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From: cam.barr[at]beer.com
Date: 13 Dec 2004 07:33:40 -0800
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DD@chi-town wrote:
> We've never owned a deep fryer before.  How long can you keep the oil
> before dumping it?  Do you need to keep it in the fridge?

Oil? Oil of pork (pastry lard) cooks hot without smoking, is cheap,
and stores well in the fridge after filtering. I get dozens uses out of
mine before it needs replacing. I filter it through paper towel and
store it in a big mason jar. I nuke it for 2 minutes to pour it out of
the jar when I need it. 


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