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Testing Oil Temperature

Simplify frying, especially when you're without a deep-fat thermometer, with this trick for checking the oil temperature.

Chances are, you don’t own a deep-fat thermometer. And if you do have one, it’s often too awkward to use when frying in a shallow amount of oil—for accurate readings, the probe has to be submerged fairly deeply. So here’s a simple technique to help determine when frying oil is at its optimum temperature.

Drop a 1" cube of bread into the hot oil and time how long it takes to turn golden brown. If the bread toasts in 50–60 seconds, the oil is between 350° and 365°—this is the ideal range for most frying jobs. If the cube browns in 40–50 seconds, the oil is 365° to 380°, which some recipes will call for as well.

You’ll know the oil isn’t hot enough if the cube takes longer than a minute to toast. Avoid frying anything in oil that’s too cool—it will come out greasy. On the other hand, if the oil is too hot, the food will get overly dark on the outside before it’s cooked through.

Tags: Equipment, Tip