There's one thing about McDonald's that even the most passionate fast-food haters would agree on: the fries are pretty darn good (Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphoto).
Incredibly crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, and always heavily salted, they're considered one of the most popular menu items at McDonald's because of their approachability and taste. Fried in vegetable oil (though they do contain a small amount of 'natural beef flavor,' which is primarily composed of wheat and dairy but does have a hint of meat), the fries serve as an attractive choice for those who can't stand fast food when they're out on the open road and are forced to succumb to fast-food options. At 11 grams of fat and 230 calories for a small serving of fries, they're not the most horrible choice you can make at the fast-food restaurant. And just like the argument has been made about how Domino's thin-crust pizza is unique in the pizza world, McDonald's fries have a one-of-a-kind taste that you can't get anywhere else, too.
With that being said, it's probably obvious to you by now that there's really no surefire way to make an exact replica of the fries at home. Even if you invested in the machinery that McDonald's' suppliers used and tracked down every mysterious ingredient that they list for their fries, why would you want to make them that way? Yes, the taste is amazing, but is it worth the thousands of dollars you'd have to pay, or the negative repercussions of eating something like sodium acid pyrophosphate?
Still, we really like McDonald's fries, so we decided to attempt to make them at home, anyway, using natural ingredients and equipment that wouldn't break our bank accounts. To do this, we spoke with one professional in the industry who, despite his many accolades, is willing to admit that he likes McDonald's -- particularly their fries -- a lot. Dale Talde, chef and owner of Brooklyn's Talde and Pork Slope, and a former contest on Bravo's Top Chef: Season Four, is a huge fan of McDonald's, and likes their fries so much he's modeled some of his own after them. He had some thoughts on how to recreate McDonald's fries at home, and we include them here.
Along with Talde's tips, we sought the help of McDonald's themselves, and inferred some details about the recipe from their video that explains where the fries come from and how they're made. If you watch the video, you'll see that they also spoke with a representative from the potato supplier McCain about the process, so we tracked down their processes as well to further our research.
At the end of the day, we wanted the process of making McDonald's fries at home to be easy. No matter how many times we tell you that these fries are better for you because they're made from all-natural ingredients, or that they taste exactly the same as the fast-food version (we promise!), nothing will convince you more to make them at home then the fact that it's easy. Because why would it be worth all of the work when you can just head to the closest drive-thru and pay less than $3? Here, we'll tell you why.
- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal
Correction: This post originally characterized McDonald's fries as containing no animal products, when in fact McDonald's fries contain "natural beef flavor" in their ingredient list.