Frying - Oil foams

BaffledCook
  • Frying - Oil foams BaffledCook

    I am relatively new to deep-frying. Having seen the questions about oil reuse and conservation, I'm still at a loss about what's going on with my oil...

    My sunflower oil foams like crazy. I've been reusing this oil for a while now and was going to discard it, however a friend of mine told me this oil was still looking good. Relatively clean (I filter it regularly), no off smell and it doesn't smoke (in my fryer, that is). I only fry potatoes in this batch of oil to avoid flavor transfer. These are cut into French fries, chips or straw potatoes. Specially the chips and straws retain a lot of water, and I guess that has something to do with it.

    Also, I noticed the frying takes longer with the foaming oil.

    Edit: I've tried poaching(?) the French fries, but they foam during poaching. Then when frying, they really foam. I have to keep an eye on it or the oil spills over the top. Anything I can do about it, or should I just go ahead and discard the oil altogether?

    Edit: Serious Eats has an article about frying oil.

  • You are right that the moisture in the potatoes are what's causing the oil to 'foam'. If you don't dry your potatoes sufficiently they can quite easily cause the oil to 'boil' explosively out of the frier; this is why you never pour water on a deep-fat pan fire.

    There are various ways to dry out your chips/straws, but one of the most effective ways to is to lay them out on a tray or plate and put them, uncovered, in the fridge for a couple of hours, making sure there are no strong odours in there first. Not only will this prevent too much foaming, it will result in really crisp chips!

  • The foaming is the moisture in your fries boiling off, with the starch in the fries making it foamier. You can solve this problem by blanching them briefly in boiling water to remove some excess starch, then pre-frying them at a much lower temperature to remove some moisture (draining off excess oil).

    The pre-frying keeps the fries from getting soggy as fast (less core moisture), lets them fry faster, reduces foaming (less moisture to remove), AND (bonus) helps achieve better browning. It's one of the secret tricks that restaurants use (including the one I work for).

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