Want Fries With That?
Thick-Cut Oven Fries
When traditional French fries are fried, water is rapidly driven out of the starch cells at the surface of the potato, leaving behind tiny cavities. It's these cavities that create a delicate, crispy crust. Since oven fries don't heat fast enough for air pockets to form, we instead coat the potatoes in a cornstarch slurry that crisps up like a deep-fried fry would. We arranged the coated planks on a rimmed baked sheet that we coated with both vegetable oil spray and vegetable oil; the former contains a surfactant called lecithin, which prevents the oil from pooling and, in turn, prevents the potatoes from sticking. Using the oil spray also allowed us to use only 3 tablespoons of oil, just enough to evenly coat the fries. Covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil for the first half of cooking ensures that the potatoes are fully tender by the time they are browned.
Word of the Week: Glass
by Paul Adams
Pop quiz: What do all these items have in common? The crackly crust on fresh-baked bread. Lollipops and other hard candies. The crisp skin of roast chicken. Crunchy, puffy Cheez Doodles. Crackly breakfast cereal. Your kitchen window. If you said “they’re all delicious,” you just might be this kitten I used to know who loved licking windowpanes. Partial credit for that! But the answer we’re looking for is: On a molecular level, those are all forms of glass. That’s why they crunch and shatter.