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Testing Oil Temperature

Hot oil is crucial for successful frying, but how can you tell when it's at the right temp? Here's a quick thermometer-free technique.

Getting oil to the correct temperature is an important step in achieving deep-fried goodness. If the oil is too cool, the food will come out greasy, but if it's too hot, the outside will get too dark before the rest is cooked through.


    Even if you own a deep-fat thermometer, it can be an awkward thing to use if frying in a shallow amount of oil. Here's a simple technique to keep your fingers clear of the oil, and to help anyone with or without a thermometer determine when frying oil is at its optimal temperature.
    Let the oil heat up, then drop a 1-inch cube of bread into the hot oil. Time how long it takes to turn golden brown — if the bread toasts in 50–60 seconds, the oil is 350–360°. If the cube browns in 40–50 seconds, the oil is 365–380°, the ideal range for this week's recipes.

Tags: Equipment, Tip