In a ranking of all restaurant french fries, most Mashed readers (and, we daresay, numerous other fry fans) agree: McDonald's wears the crown (sorry, Burger King). While the classic pommes frites as served up by a Parisian bistro or a hipster eatery in Highland Park may be made from nothing more than potatoes, oil, and salt (some gourmet type, no doubt), McDonald's famous fast-food fries go to show that simplest isn't always best. The chain's signature side, it would seem, involves quite a few unexpected ingredients in addition to the aforementioned trio of must-haves.
Mashed recipe re-creator Jake Vigliotti did some digging and the results were interesting, to say the least. In his words, "It's probably going to shock you when you see what you need to make a perfect copycat of McDonald's fries." For starters, it takes a grand total of eight ingredients to make a fairly accurate copycat version of McDonald's fries. Surprisingly enough, you won't need to start by peeling potatoes as Vigliotti starts with a bag of the frozen shoestring king. As he explains, "McDonald's flash freezes their fries, which means every Mickey D's cooks from frozen." For the oil, though, you'll need a blend of canola, corn, and safflower or soy, while the rest of the ingredients list gets even more wtf — ice, beef stock, soy milk, and baking powder. What in the name of Grimace is going on here?
Here's Why You Need All That Extra Stuff
What you're doing with the frozen potatoes and oil is pretty self-explanatory — you heat up the latter and use it to fry the former. It's all that stuff in between that requires some clarification. Vigliotti notes that McDonald's fries have a bit of subtle flavoring to them that doesn't just come from well-used fry grease. Instead, he says the recipe includes "natural beef flavoring" — hence the stock — plus a slight hint of dairy from hydrolyzed milk. While he notes that this product may be identical to baby formula, he goes on to say "If you don't feel like investing $30 in a can of baby formula, we have a simple workaround — soy milk."
As for the baking powder, that stuff just helps the liquid flavorings to stick to the fries. Vigliotti does so by way of a brief brine bath, immersing the frozen fries in soy milk, beef stock, and baking powder, with the ice being used to keep things chill. After the fries have hopefully absorbed a bit of the flavor, he then returns them to the freezer for a few minutes, explaining that "we need to get the fries to have the brine concoction stick." After they're re-frozen, the potatoes are finally ready to spread their wings and fry. The best part is that you can eat them right away instead of having them grow cold and limp while you're trying to pull out of the parking lot.
Read the original article on Mashed.