How to choose air fryer? Breaded fish or vegetables, donuts … electric fryers can make savory or sweet dishes to the delight of gourmands. But the smell of cooking oil can put off more than one. To meet new consumer expectations, manufacturers now offer oil-free machines powered by forced hot air. These devices are less odorous while being more efficient and more dietary. Our advice to choose well.
THE DIFFERENT FRYERS
In the oven, in the pan, in the traditional or electric fryer … there are several ways to cook fries. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. A short overview.
The traditional deep fryer (or classic) in oil bath
For less than 30 €, you can buy a traditional deep-fat oil fryer, also called “classic”. It consists of a saucepan, a basket and a lid. Just put it on a baking tray, add some oil and wait for it to heat up!
> Our advice. If you opt for a traditional fryer, think about your cooktop. If the latter is induction , pay attention to the material of the tank! Do not choose it in cast aluminum, but in steel. Otherwise, it will be unusable.
Some conventional fryers have a lid that can also function as a dish. The fries, after cooking, can be served in the lid that will keep them warm.
If you rarely eat fries or fried foods, a traditional fryer is enough. The oil can be stored in bottles (delicate operation to be carried out using a funnel) or thrown.
The electric oil fryer
The electric oil fryer allows you to fry foods such as french fries, fish breaded, donuts, croquettes, breaded vegetables … The principle is the same as that of a traditional fryer. The electric fryer has one or more resistors that heat the oil bath. The appliance allows the cooker or hob to be removed for other purposes (for example, cooking meat at the same time).
Electric fryers are generally studied to facilitate frying. Thermostat, temperature controller, cold zone to avoid the repositioning of grilled food on the new are the main options. Some have a lid equipped with grease and odor filters. Their effectiveness remains questionable, however. Some models are equipped with oil drain valves. While these systems are practical, they do not provide the cleaning chore.
Electric fryers are more stable – flat – than traditional fryers. In addition, they do not normally need to be moved after cooking to free up space on the stove. They must be near an electrical outlet and out of the reach of children.
After use, the chore of cleaning is more important than for a traditional fryer. Although equipped for some of a tap to collect the oil, total degreasing requires manipulation of the entire apparatus. Electric fryers are heavier than traditional ones, and many parts do not go in the dishwasher.
> Good to know
- The frying oil can be preserved to achieve a dozen cooking. It is strongly recommended to filter it before each reuse.
- The size of these fryers is important. If you have a small kitchen, plan a little room for storage.
- An electric fryer is profitable if you often fried. Otherwise, it may clog you up.
The fryer without oil or forced hot air
If fries are not famous for their lightness, it is now possible to reduce the amount of fat. The pulsed hot-air fryer (or oil-free) has the particularity of cooking french fries with little or no oil. The cooking is done through hot air circulating in the tank. This allows to make fries more dietary. Some models of hot air fryers are equipped with turntables that allow you to cook or defrost other dishes, such as pan-fried vegetables. Other benefits, these fryers emit fewer odors and greases; the cleaning is simplified and the fries are less fat. According to the Seb brand, the Actifry fryer would produce fries about one and a half times less fat than a similar portion cooked in oil (1).You can read more about :Best air fryer under $100
The taste of fries cooked with a hot air fryer is however different from those cooked with an oil fryer. The same goes for the texture.
Machine maintenance is relatively simple as most items are dishwasher safe. Flat, the cooking is longer: count about 45 minutes for 1.5 kg of french fries.
Among the pioneers are Seb with Actifry (which has a turntable), Philips with the Airfryer and, more recently, De’Longhi with the Multifry.
> Our advice. Airless fryers with hot air are very successful. If the taste of French fries is different, they are less fat, more digestible and, in large quantities, less harmful to the body. The devices are easier to clean because there is no oil to collect or discard. The possibilities are more numerous for turntable devices, so the device can be used more often.
Capacity of the basket
The capacity of the basket determines the amount of fries that can be cooked. It varies by device. Most machines have a capacity of between 700g and 2kg. The baskets are usually filled to two-thirds. For french fries, count about 150 to 200 g per person. A fryer of 1 kg can make fries for 3-4 people. The larger the capacity, the greater the heating power must be.
> Good to know. The capacity indicated on the devices corresponds to fresh fries. For frozen French fries, count one-third less French fries. Indeed, frozen french fries lower the temperature of the oil bath. The longer the rise in temperature, the more the chips absorb oil. For cooking with oil, it is advisable to cook the fries in two stages: a first time at 160 ° C (a crust must have formed on the surface) and a second time just before serving to make them brown.
The volume of oil is specific to each machine. Count around 1.5 to 2 liters for small capacities (700 to 900 g), 2 to 4 liters for 1 kg and 3 to 5 liters beyond.
The design of the fryer and its options have an influence on the amount of oil. Electric fryers with oil bath with rotating inclined basket require little oil. Others have a cold zone and ask for more oil. Oil-less fryers with mixer option (turntable or propeller) only use a few milliliters.
> Good to know. The oil is to be changed every 5 to 10 uses. It all depends on the volume, the cooking time and the type of fried food (breading may carbonize and age the oil faster).
The removable bowl is a significant asset. It greatly facilitates maintenance. Some go to the dishwasher. Filtration and oil change are also facilitated.
Some fryers have a tube to drain the oil by gravity.
The cold zone is usually at the bottom of the tank. It is not subject to the swirling movements of the oil that quivers above the plunging heating resistor.
Thus, there are two layers of temperature in the same oil bath. Crumbs and pieces of charred food (breadcrumbs, small french fries …) fall by gravity into the bottom of the tank and are not supposed to go up. On some fryers, stainless steel filters are installed under the resistor. They can channel the pieces that would be attracted to the warmer bath above the resistance. Redepositions are thus avoided.
> Good to know. Oil fryers not equipped with cold zones see their oil degrade more quickly. Filtering can fix it. Changing the oil, however, remains the best solution. When to replace the cooking oil? If it has become dark or very viscous, if it is foaming a lot at the time of cooking or if it gives off smoke even at the normal frying temperature: this is a sign that it must be changed.
Anti-odor filters. The downside of cooking with oil is often the smell. To remedy this, the fryers are equipped with an odor filter. It can be either a permanent metal filter or a charcoal filter. Poor or rarely changed oil can increase odor problems. Prefer a good quality oil and remember to renew it regularly.
Oil filters. To maintain a healthy oil over the course of cooking, it is recommended to filter it after each use in order to get rid of small fried particles. To make things easier, some models are equipped with specific equipment.
Most fryers have an adjustable thermostat in order to adjust the temperature of the oil bath. The setting is generally between 150 and 190 ° C, but some machines have a thermostat ranging from 80 to 200 ° C.
The temperature of the oil in a traditional fryer can be adjusted directly via the buttons on the hotplate or gas fire.
Almost all electrical machines have an integrated timer, which emits an audible signal at the end of the cycle. An ideal option to monitor cooking.
Safety is an important element to consider when choosing your fryer, especially if you use your machine in the presence of children. To reduce the risk of burns, there are fryers with cold outside walls. The oil, inside, still remains above 150 ° C. A fryer should not be handled while the oil is hot. To avoid any risk, avoid any manipulation of the device directly after use.
Some fryers have a system that dampens the dive of the basket, thus limiting splashing.
SOME TIPS FOR USE
To use your fryer safely, check the stability of the machine, especially if cooking is done with oil. Place it on a large, solid work surface. Also prefer a sufficiently long cord.
If you are using a traditional fryer, beware of the stability of the unit when placed on a gas fire grate.
Some machines have a lid with porthole, which allows you to monitor the fries … at least if it does not fog up!
The opening of the lid can be automatic. Just press a spring button. This type of opening avoids burning your hand with the vapors.
Many electric fryers have a system to close the lid before plunging the basket of fries into the oil, to avoid projections.
The principle of glass lid serving dish on some traditional fryers is interesting. Warning ! The lid can be very hot and should be handled with care.
Some fryers have a swivel handle. This allows you to lift the basket and drain the chips while keeping the lid closed. This greatly reduces odors and the fries are kept warm.
CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
It is important to maintain your deep fryer. Depending on the appliance, the bowl can be removable and washable in the dishwasher . Some fryers have a spout or drain tap.
Warning ! Before touching your fryer, be sure to unplug the appliance and allow the oil to cool.
Remember also to filter the oil after each use and to change after a dozen cooking.
> Good to know. Used oil is polluting! It should not be poured into a sink or into the nature. You can recycle it, deposit it in a dump or solidify it with specific pellets sold in supermarkets.
There are fryers for all purses. The entry-level models cost about twenty euros, the most sophisticated can go up to € 250.
HOW TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL FRIES?
For crisp fries, it is best to cook the potatoes in small amounts. This prevents the bath temperature from changing and the chips absorb too much oil during the rise in temperature. Before dipping the chips in the oil, make sure they are dry too. To prevent the oil from deteriorating, it is advisable not to cook above 190 ° C. Shake the fries regularly to get consistent cooking and coloring. Finally, at the end of cooking, drain them. You can also wipe them with paper towels (paper towels) to remove excess oil.
BEWARE OF ACRYLAMIDE!
The acrylamide is a chemical substance used in particular in the manufacture of plastics. In April 2002, a study by the Swedish National Food Authority revealed that acrylamide can also be formed in certain starch-rich foods cooked at high temperatures, such as French fries. These results have been confirmed by similar studies in Switzerland, Norway, Great Britain and the United States.
This substance may be toxic to humans. Animal testing has highlighted the fact that acrylamide is a carcinogenic and neurotoxic substance. If no link has yet been established between animal studies and their relevance to humans, it is strongly recommended to follow some advice. For example, it is advisable to favor light gilding, to remove burned residues and to avoid cooking at a temperature above 170 ° C.