Single vs double-fried fires [split from http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750437?tag=main_body;topic-750437]
"In-N-Out uses fresh potatoes. Sliced in the store. Then fries them."
You forgot to put a very important word at the end of your last sentence:
Then fries them ONCE.
To be edible, fries must be fried twice. Therefore, frozen parcooked french fries are superior to fresh potatoes, sliced in the store, and fried only once. That's why In-N-Out's fries are legendarily awful.
It's just compeltely untrue that fresh fries have to be fried twice to be good. I've been eating fresh cut fries at my county fairs every year, several times a summer. They are cut right there, then fried, then handed to you. They are 100x tastier than In and Out's fries.
My favorite diner is one where my mom worked as a teenager. They have a small potato cutter on the wall. Whoomp, potato goes through the cutter. Into the fryer. Fresh fries delivered to patron. Perfect, delicious, wonderful. Not at all like In and Out's fries.
Now, I don't know WHY in and out's fries are like that. Maybe it's the oil, maybe it's the type of potato, maybe it's the temp, maybe the oil is too "clean," I have no idea. But fabulous fresh cut fries are absolutely not dependent on being fried twice.
There can certainly be decent fried-once fries--In'n'Out's lousy fries notwithstanding--and every year at a folk festival near Albany, I eat far more than my share of one particular food stand's fried-once fries.
But the next time you've doing any kind of deep frying, try an experiment: fry one batch for fries for about 3 minutes in oil that's around 320. Then drain them, cool them, and fry them again at 375 until done. Then fry another batch at 375 only until done. Taste them side by side, or set up a blind testing with your friends. Chances are very strong that you'll prefer the twice-fried fries.
When I go to In N Out I always ask for well done fries.
They are crispy but they aren't moist inside. Because they haven't been blanched (cooked once) and they're cooking them longer to make them crisper the moisture in the potatoe has been cooked out...resulting in a crispy fries, but they are dry inside. Compare to a McDonald's fry, they are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
Blanching ((can be water blanched(water blanched fries will be sprayed with oil after blanching) or oil blanched)) cooks the fries and remove some of the water and forms a shell on the exterior. Cook the second time and that outside layer becomes a crispy.
If you ever cooked fresh cut fries without blanching, the violent bubbling you see when you drop them into hot oil isn't "frying", but the water from the potatoes mixing with the oil forming steam. Water and oil don't mix and after a while, the oil is useless.
You may think the "once cooked" fries you're eating at the fair or favorite diner are " Perfect, delicious, wonderful.".....but they could be even better if they were blanched first.
We'll just have to agree to disagree. I *like* that the fries are not dry and hard in the middle, I do not like the hard, crunchy exterior, the "shell." I don't care what the science is behind it, but I've had the hard, crunchy, twice-fried ones and I don't like them. The fries at the fair are not hard and have no "shell."
There is a certain merthod one can use to make fries that are comparable to double frying but much simpler. One uses Yukon Gold potatoes and starts them out in cold oil and then heat it up. It takes about 25-30 minutes of cooking time and the potatoes don't take on any extra oil than they would in double frying and are just as good.
That's why In-N-Out's fries are legendarily awful.
That's a bit harsh. I don't know that they are "legendarily awful" as much as they are different than most typical fast-food fries.. In a very perverse way, they sort of remind me of those oven-baked Ore-Ida® fries.