How to Deep Fry Foods
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- -deep, very heavy skillet to fry with
- -tongs or a basket to help keep things from splashing.
- -splatter screen
1.Add oil to the cold pan, leaving a headspace, or space at the top of the pan, of at least two inches. This allows a safety margin when the oil bubbles up as the food is added.
2•Begin heating the oil over medium high heat. If you have a deep fat frying thermometer, use it! The best temperature is 350 to 375 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, the oil is ready when a 1" cube of white bread dropped into the oil browns in 60 seconds; that oil temperature will be about 365 degrees F.
•Don't overcrowd the pan! Carefully add the food, leaving lots of space around each piece so the food will cook evenly. If you add too much food at once, the oil temperature will drop and the food will absorb fat instead of instantly searing.
•Watch the food carefully as it cooks, regulating the heat if necessary to keep that oil temperature between 350 and 375 degrees F. When the food is browned according to the time in the recipe, it's done. Remove it with a slotted spoon or a heavy stainless steel sieve with a long handle. Drop it onto paper towels to drain.
•Fried foods can be kept warm in a 200 degrees F. oven until all the food is fried.
•Oil and water DO NOT MIX!! Keep water away from the hot oil. If you pour water on the oil, the mixture will explode. If the oil smokes or catches fire, cover it with a pan lid or cookie sheet. You can use baking soda to put out any grease fires, but be careful that you don't spread the flames around.
•I always keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, just in case. Learn how to use it NOW, before you may need it.
•Don't reuse the cooking oil. Some sources say you can strain it and reuse it, but the oil has already begun to break down from the heat, and undesirable compounds like trans fats have formed. Let the oil cool completely, then discard
3Maintain Constant Temperature: Assuming they've been cooked properly, deep-fried items should actually have very little oil on them. Proper deep-frying technique requires maintaining the oil's temperature between 325°F and 400°F. Most oils will start to smoke at temperatures higher than that.
4Sealing In Moisture: Food items to be fried are often dipped in a simple batter, or coated in a crispy breading, to protect and further seal in their natural moisture. Because most foods have some moisture in them, and because oil and water don't mix, the food's natural moisture creates a barrier against the oil surrounding it. That means that while the heat from the oil cooks the food, the oil itself doesn't permeate the food at all — unless the oil isn't hot enough.
Remember the violent reaction of hot oil to a drop of water? The hotter the oil, the more violently it repels water and other moisture. Only at temperatures below 325°F will the oil start to seep into the food and make it greasy.
5Fry in Small Batches: When deep-frying, keeping the oil hot is critical to producing a quality product. The key is to fry items in small batches, because putting too much food in the oil all at once will lower the oil's temperature.
6Cooking Oil Smoke Points: Cooking oils and fats react differently to heat, but in general, the hotter they get, the more they break down and eventually start to smoke. That means that certain oils are better for high heat cooking, like sautéeing or deep-frying, than others. The temperature at which a given oil will start to smoke is called its smoke point. To say that an oil has a high smoke point means that it can be heated to a relatively high temperature before it starts to smoke.
Vegetable Oils Have Highest Smoke Points: As a rule, vegetable-based oils have higher smoke points than animal-based fats like butter or lard. The main exceptions are hydrogenated vegetable shortening, which has a lower smoke point than butter, and olive oil, which has a smoke point about equal to that of lard.
Refined Oils and Light Colored Oils: Another factor is the degree of refinement of a given oil. The more refined an oil, the higher the smoke point. That's because refining removes the impurities that can cause the oil to smoke. A simple rule of thumb is that the lighter the color of the oil, the higher its smoke point.
Finally, it's important to note that any given oil's smoke point does not remain constant over time. The longer you expose an oil to heat, the lower its smoke point becomes. Also, when you're deep-frying food, little bits of batter or breading will drop off into the oil, and these particles accelerate the oil's breakdown, lowering its smoke point even more. So in general, fresher oil will have a higher smoke point than oil you've been cooking with for a while.
7Below is a table that shows the smoke points for several of the most common cooking fats and oils. In some cases you'll see a range of temperatures rather than a single smoke point, because of different degrees of refinement among numerous brands of oils as well as other variations:
-Vegetable Shortening (Hydrogenated)=325 degrees
-Olive Oil=325 to 375 degrees
-Corn Oil=400 to 450 degrees
-Canola Oil=425 to 475 degrees
-Clarified Butter, Sunflower & Soybean Oil=450 to 475 degrees
-Safflower Oil=475 to 500 degrees