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Old 08-02-2005, 10:47 AM   #1
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Oven Fries (technique question)

I've made oven fries before, and they've come out fine, but lately, I seem to have lost the hang of it.

They come out soggy instead of crisp. Also, they take too long.
Here's how I did it last night - they tasted ok, but took over an hour and weren't crisp:

On a cookie sheet, I've placed my sliced potatoe wedges (from 6 med. (fist) size potateos).
Drizzled with light olive oil, seasoned with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper or paprika.
Placed in center of 400F oven for 1/2 hour - when I tested them they weren't cooked through.

I think the problems are:
-too many potatoes on the sheet (but I'm cooking for 6 people - two batches will take too long).
-too much oil (I should measure more accurately - I never measure anything, usually cook by feel, but I'm willing to admit defeat, here).
-oven not hot enough
-maybe I should par-cook the potatoes (if so, and I do it in microwave, should I season first?)

Any suggestions? - Sandyj

Also: I want to try this with thinly sliced, skin on, sweet potatoes.


I'm slicing potatoes into wedges (about 1 inch thick), leaving the skins on.

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Old 08-02-2005, 12:05 PM   #2
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Here's the version we adapted from Oprah's "In The Kitchen With Rosie."

2 large egg whites (per 5 large potatoes) mixed with your favorite spices (we start with black pepper, red pepper, and add whatever sounds good at the moment).

Coat the potatoes in this mixture and place on cookie sheet that has 3 coats of cooking spray. 400 degrees for at least 45 minutes (that's if they're cut into sticks).
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:21 PM   #3
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Egg white? Hmmm. An exciting trade secret! Do you think it prevents the chips from getting soggy?
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:28 PM   #4
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The egg whites actually create a "breading" like oven-fried potato wedges.
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:36 PM   #5
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That's right, kitchenelf. Crispy on outside, still soft on the inside - at least if normal people were making them. We like the burned flavor that comes with cooking foods for a much longer time than recommended (horrors!). Our casseroles are always cooked until they have a completely hard-baked bottom and sides. For the fries, we cut them extra-thin so they're crispy almost throughout.
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:36 PM   #6
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From my vaaaaast experience cooking frozen french fries in the oven , 400 degrees sounds low. Perhaps you were using 425 or 450 degrees the last time you made the fries?

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Old 08-02-2005, 12:43 PM   #7
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Thanks so far for all these tips. I'm going to:
-give the egg whites a go
- increase the temperature to 425F
- lightly coat the bottom of the cooking surface with oil (but not the potatoes?)
I WILL get this right!
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:51 PM   #8
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I've seen as high as 475, even. And we definitely use 425 on our frozen Ore-Ida Zesties (gotta love 'em).
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:49 PM   #9
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I'd do them at 450. The secret to crispy outside and soft inside is high heat. And not using too large a piece of potato.

But that may burn the egg white.

I lightly coat the potatoes with oil, then put them on a baking sheet at 450.
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Old 08-02-2005, 02:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBlueHeron
That's right, kitchenelf. Crispy on outside, still soft on the inside - at least if normal people were making them. We like the burned flavor that comes with cooking foods for a much longer time than recommended (horrors!). Our casseroles are always cooked until they have a completely hard-baked bottom and sides. For the fries, we cut them extra-thin so they're crispy almost throughout.
Oh my - I like my homemade potato chips, fries extra done too - a lot more brown than the normal person too - and I also like burned popcorn - NOT like on fire but slightly burned.
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:08 PM   #11
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Found that if I take the wedges, toss them in the oil and spices, and then place them in a pan covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes or so, and then take off the foil and let them brown I get a good result.

Or just cut them fairly small and cook without the foil. They have a thick crust, but sometimes just like them that way.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:22 PM   #12
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http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/reci..._27098,00.html
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:23 PM   #13
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I'm trying the egg white wash on some wedges tonight @425 degrees.

Details tomorrow.

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Old 08-02-2005, 06:07 PM   #14
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Moved to Vegetable Forum - more recipe-related than technique.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:21 AM   #15
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Thumbs up Success!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomw
I'm trying the egg white wash on some wedges tonight @425 degrees...
Now this is the way to oven bake potatoes! My wife, and two preschoolers were asking for more.

I did deviate a bit from the original technique in that, to keep the sliced potatoes from turning brown, the pieces were kept in a bowl of lightly salted water. Even though they were thorougly drained before going through the egg wash, the extra water may have kept the egg from sticking as well. Not sure.

Also, I am not too fond of cooking sprays, so I coated the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. 20 minutes into the cooking, the potatoes were visited by a metal spatula in an effort to dissuade sticking.

This side dish will definitely show up on our dinner table again!

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Old 08-03-2005, 08:46 AM   #16
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So Tom - you did the fries:
-425F oven
-baking tray lined with foil, with a little oil to prevent sticking (I don't use the sprays either)
-coated potatoes with egg-whites and seasoning (I also tend to place potatoes in water so as not to brown - must remember to dry them, aye?)
-baked for 20 min? <---- really?
-potatoes cut into wedges? about the size of the thumb-knuckle to tip of thumb? 1 inch?

How many did you have on the baking sheet?

P.S. Saw the foodnetwork link - that's where I got the recipe from - a show on food network, but it seems to me the timing was off
also, visited your website. Wow. and your little boy is very cute!

Did I leave anything out? I wanted to do this last night, but got caught up with my kids - I have three daughters, two still teens, one just turned 21. Middle daughter going away to college soon so she's busy with the last flurry of summer activities with mates who are also going off to college - all three are friends with each others friends, so it was a houseful. They decided on a spur of the moment movie night. We did not eat properly! They had popcorn, toasted marshmallows, Chex Mix and S'Mores for dinner. There may have been some baby carrots involved. Sometimes it goes like that! Sandyj
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:51 AM   #17
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BTW - thanks everyone for all the advice. I really am interested to read how others find good ways to do things like this. Sandyj
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:09 AM   #18
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Ultimate oven fries

This is a long recipe. But does not take long to do. It is from Cooks Illustrated

3 russet potatoes (about 8 oz each), peeled
make wedges even sizes
5 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 475. Place potatoes in large bowl and over with hot tap water; soak 10 mins. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12 in. heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 Tbsp of oil sprinkle evenly with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper;set aside.
2. Drain potatoes. Spread out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 mins. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty brown about 15 to 20 mins rotating baking sheet after 10 mins. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen from pan and flip over keeping in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 mins rotating as needed if fries are browning unevenly.
3.Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Note: Heavy duty baking sheet ensures pan will not warp during baking. Soaking potatoes in hot water prior to baking removes some of the surface sugar. Potato starches gelantinize completely during cooking. The water introduced during soaking improved the creaminess and smoothness by working its way between the strands of gelatin starch. Result....a fry that has a good surface crunch married to a smooth interior.
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:37 AM   #19
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That Cook's Illustrated recipe is a very good one!

But please, please line your baking sheet with foil. I ruined one the first time I made the recipe, as the oil in a 475 oven literally baked onto the cookie sheet.
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandyj
...-baked for 20 min? <---- really?
-potatoes cut into wedges? about the size of the thumb-knuckle to tip of thumb? 1 inch?

How many did you have on the baking sheet?
Actually, they baked for around 40 minutes total; Mr. Spatula checked on them around the halfway mark to make sure they weren't sticking.

None of the three, medium potatoes were cut any bigger than your rule-of-thumb , but since the Boyz seem to enjoy finding food in different shapes & sizes, no effort was made to produce a perfectly uniform product. The end result did fit on a medium cooking pan without anything touching.

Hope this helps!
Tom
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