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Nov 5, 2013 12:01 PM

What's with the brined french fries?

It started with chain restaurants but now it's creeping into diners and other independent restaurants. French fries that are saturated with salt. I love salty french fries but the interest for me is the contrast between the salt on the outside and the potato flavor inside. That is lost with this new abominable type of french fry.
So am I correct in assuming that Sysco is brining french fries and pushing them onto their customers?

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  1. I'm interested to hear if someone knows anything about this. There is a decided difference in salt flavor between brining, adding while cooking, and finished with.

    1. I thought most fries served in restaurants were like this to be honest, aside from those that cut their fries fresh. I'm pretty sure all frozen fries (which most restaurants use) are soaked in a salt solution first.

      I agree though, I much prefer the contrast of salt on the exterior and a mild potato flavor on the inside. To me it means "fresh" whereas I associate anything heavily salted all the way through as processed.

      Another trend I really dislike is double frying the french fries. When I worked in restaurants we were never allowed to do this (drop an order of fries back in the oil if they were sent back for being too cold), we always had to make a fresh order. I've seen restaurants that fry them hours, if not a day or so, in advance then re-fry them. It's supposed to make them extra crispy, but all it's really doing is making the oil go rancid and the fries come out all dark brown and leathery.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Atomic76

        When making fresh french fries, double-frying is the best way to do it, some say the only way to do it. Look it up.

        1. re: Atomic76

          Double frying a (precooked)frozen fry may not be such a good idea, but it's the only way to cook fresh cut.

          1. re: Atomic76

            it's pretty much the only way they're cooked in Belgium -- arguable the home of the French fry.

          2. I don't know, but I have experimented with many methods of making fries at home. The method I prefer, taste-wise, includes dumping the fresh cut fries into a cold water, salt and vinegar solution, which is changed several times over the course of a day. They are then thoroughly dried on clean towels. The fries are then fried twice in duck fat. The frying time will differ depending on the thickness of the fries, but I like the first fry to be relatively brief at a relatively lower temperature, usually around 325F. After the fries have been dried and brought to room temperature they can then be fried again, in the same fat, at around 400F.

            For expedience, convenience and cost, I usually simplify the process by soaking the fries in the cold water-vinegar-salt solution for 20 minutes or more, not changing the solution, but still drying the fries and frying twice. When I don't have duck fat, peanut oil or vegetable oil, both of which I usually have around, work well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MonMauler

              The vinegar increases the crispness of the potato by delaying the Maillard reaction