How to Make Homemade Potato Chips
We all know most everything tastes amazing when it’s fried. Potato chips are a good example of the “better when fried” rule. But the question, asked by our friend over at the Prepared Pantry (www.preparedpantry.com), Dennis Weaver, was “If we’re concerned about health, is it possible to make equally good potato chips in the oven?”
So they cut russet potatoes into thin slices (about an eighth inch thick) and then soaked them in cold water. They placed a layer of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and greased it well.
After the slices had soaked for twenty minutes, Dennis and his crew spread the potato slices across the foil, brushed them with vegetable oil, and baked them at 425°F until they were just starting to turn golden. The finished chips were placed on racks to be sprinkled with salt and allowed to cool.
Dennis said that this first attempt didn’t give them as crispy a chip as they wanted. So they went back to the drawing board. This time they decided a slower bake would draw more moisture from the potatoes and increase their crispiness. They ended up lowering the temperature over and over again until they found that the best temperature for baked chips was 325°F, and the best baking time turned out to be 20 minutes. Some very good chips were the result.
But they wanted excellence, and the consensus was that deep frying probably was the only way to reach that goal. So they pulled out the deep fryer and decided not to worry about the health issues related to frying food in oil. Once in a while…what the heck!
They heated the oil in the fryer to 360°F. Once again they cut their spuds to about an eighth of an inch thick and soaked them in cold water for about 30 minutes. After draining the potatoes well, they fried them in small batches until the potatoes started to turn a golden color. The chips were drained on paper towels and then moved to a rack to cool completely. Sprinkled with a little salt, they were delightful—excellent—much better than the baked chips, and much better than store-bought chips from a bag.
If you want to fry your own chips, here’s what Dennis says to do:
- Start with good quality russet potatoes. Wash well and cut out any bad spots.
- Cut them into 1/8-inch slices. (While a knife works, it’s much easier to get uniform slices that will cook uniformly with a mandolin or with a food processor.)
- Heat the oil to 350- to 375°F (either on the stovetop or with a thermostatically controlled deep fryer). If frying on the stovetop, use a DEEP pan and a candy thermometer, and watch your work closely. If your oil becomes too hot, it can burst into flames.
- Cook a small amount of potatoes at a time. If too many potatoes are cooked at a time, the temperature of the oil drops too much. Oil that is not hot enough will make your potato chips soggy.
- Cook the potato chips until they are a light, golden color and begin to float.
- Remove the chips to a paper towel so all grease is absorbed. Finish off with a sprinkling of salt and your favorite seasoning.
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