In this method of cooking the food is heated in fat maintained at a temperature ranging from 300°F. to 400°F. The food may be either partially immersed in fat as in shallow fat frying, or almost completely covered as in deep fat frying. For the former a shallow metal pan of stout construction to withstand high temperatures is used, the food rests on the bottom of the pan and must usually be turned once at least to complete the cooking process. No special equipment beyond round and oval pans of varying sizes is required for this work and large equipment is not usually necessary, as the process is a quick one and the same pan can be used repeatedly to produce the necessary amount of food for one meal. Moreover, as the process requires constant attention a large area would not generally be practical, although there are special circumstances, such as the frying of eggs for breakfast to be served simultaneously to a large number of people at, say, a holiday camp, where it would be an advantage to have a large frying area available. For this purpose a very useful piece of apparatus known as a fry-top or griddle is now available. It consists of a metal plate of either cast iron or sheet steel of 18″ to 24″ in width and of varying lengths from 24″ to 60″, heated by gas or electricity. It is used extensively throughout the U.S.A. for the cooking of such foods as fried or scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, hamburgers and toasted sandwiches. This piece of equipment can be either fixed or mobile. If it is the latter it can be used either in the kitchen or the servery, where it is useful for call order work.
In deep fat frying the requirements are somewhat different. A pan is needed in which fat to a depth of 4″ to 6″ can be heated; such pans must be thick and strong to withstand both the weight of the fat and the high temperature. Round or oval pans up to 18″ in diameter and 6″ to 8″ in depth are available for this work, but any increase beyond this size in a movable vessel is not practical, and therefore when large amounts of fried food are required a frying range similar to the one illustrated in Plate III is used. Such pieces of equipment have other advantages in addition to capacity. The two bugbears of deep fat frying are the smell, which inevitably pervades the whole of the kitchen, and the deposit of grease on all nearby surfaces. Both of these are taken care of in the frying range by the provision of a hood with a chimney. The chimney for a gas heated range must be made up of two separate flues one to take the vapors produced during frying and the other for the products of combustion of the gas. The walls of the hood catch the fat splashes thrown out during cooking and the fumes are drawn up into the chimney and discharged outside. Moreover, an extractor fan can be fitted in the chimney if it is found that adequate ventilation is cot otherwise available. However the removal of the grease laden vapor in this way only partially solves the problem. The other aspect is the removal of grease from the ventilating duct itself, for which there are two general methods. One is by the provision of removable filters which can be thoroughly washed at frequent intervals, and the other of a completely automatic built-in cleaning system by which the whole of the exhaust system and filters can be power washed with water and detergent. The installation can also have a time clock set to operate at suitable intervals.
The deep fat fryer is a great fire risk and all precautions possible must therefore be taken to prevent fires. A fusible link damper in the flue is a necessary provision and it is advisable that a foam extinguisher and an asbestos blanket should be kept near. In the automatic cleaning design described above the water wash system can be used also for fire protection. A thermostat installed in the ventilator activates the power wash when the duct temperature exceeds 350°F., and at the same time closes the damper and shuts off the fan. Frying ranges which may be heated by gas, electricity or solid fuel are supplied with one, two or three pans of varying sizes, made of heavy gauge welded mild steel. A fairly common size is 24″ x 18″ wide by O” deep, but there is a move towards a smaller size of 12″ X 18″ x 8″.
The time taken for a pan of this size to reach a temperature of 350°F. when filled with frying fat is about 30 minutes. The pans are so designed that fat which has splashed over will drain back into the pans. The stand in which the pans are fixed is of cast iron finished with vitreous enamel.
The capacity of a fryer is rated according to the output of chips per hour. In many kitchens chips are blanched in hot fat some time ahead of service requirements, and when this method is. employed the actual output of the fryer at peak periods is increased. The specification for the output of the Lasmec fryer is given as 250 lb. per hour of ” flashed ” chips. This high output is made possible by the provision of a hot storage compartment for eight baskets each holding 10 lb. of blanched chips.
The other part of the range to be considered is the hood. This should be constructed so that there are no overhanging ledges or crevices to collect grease, and it should have a smooth surface to facilitate easy cleaning. Polished aluminium or galvanized iron are usually found to be satisfactory.
The tilting fry-pan
The electrically heated rectangular tilting fry pan with a lip for pouring and hinged cover, can also be used for other methods of cooking such as stewing, boiling and braising, and is particularly suitable for fried chicken. The dimensions are 7″ depth x 15″ to 20″ width and 15″ to 30″ length and the loading range from 9 to 15 Kw. It stands about 30′ high.