Crunchy Baked French Fries

Crunchy Baked French Fries

Baking french fries cuts down on consumed fat, is less messy, and easier to prepare than frying. The only drawback is not doing it correctly with a resulting soggy, non-golden batch. Here’s how to bake crunchy french fries correctly:

Prepare the Potatoes

Begin with russet potatoes (3-4 will make 4 servings), they are the best french fry potatoes and you can leave the skins on, saving preparation time. Scrub down the potatoes (peel if desired), and cut into wedges or thin fries. Wedges are faster to prep and will give you more tenderness on the insider, while thin fries will easily get crispy all the way through.

Crispiness occurs when water evaporates from a food product. With this in mind, the larger in volume wedge fries will have more water content, while the thin cut fries will have less water content, therefore allowing the evaporation to occur easier. When it comes to cuts, it’s a matter of preference for crunchiness factor, knife skills, and time.

Once your potatoes are cut, place in a bowl and cover with cool water to help seep out the potato starches. Overnight is great, 8-10 hours is ok, and 1-2 hours if you dry them very well and follow the next steps. Basically the less starch, the crispier your fries. Change out the water every few hours or so.

Bake

Drain the potatoes well, you want them to be as dry as possible, any water remaining will keep them from crisping up.

Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Coat the fires with olive or canola oil, sprinkle on salt, garlic power, minced garlic, nutritional yeast, paprika, etc. Whatever toppings you want on your fries. Just don’t sprinkle pepper or cheese yet- the pepper will bitter in the high heat and the cheese may burn. In fact if you’re worried a topping may burn, just save it for the end.

Scatter the fries into one layer on a sheet pan. Don’t be afraid to use an additional sheet pan if you’re making a lot. The key is to expose each fry to the heat and avoid steaming them by burying the fires under one another. If you want to protect your sheet pan, use parchment paper instead of foil. The paper will allow water to move away from the fries while the foil will keep the fries soaking.

Bake the fries for 25-35 minutes, tossing occasionally and keeping an eye on them. Also don’t be afraid to open the oven door every so often to allow steam to escape. For crispy fries: think sauna, not steam room. Finally, if they still aren’t as crispy as you’d like at the end of 35 minutes, place the sheet pan under the broiler for a minute or two, don’t walk away!

Take the fries out and toss in more seasoning immediately: pepper, grated parmesan cheese, pickled jalapeño peppers, truffle oil and chopped parsley, to name a few. The residual heat from the fries will really absorb whatever toppings you add.

Enjoy!

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