Dry Frying - Vintage Cooking Process

There are two modes of frying:

Dry Frying

1. Dry frying, which is so called because of the small amount of fat used, not because of the dryness of what is fried; for things fried in this way are apt to be greasy.  It is not to be recommended but it is necessary for such things as sausages, pancakes, bacon, and small pieces of meat and vegetables.

There should always be at least enough fat to cover the surface of the pan and it always should be made as hot as possible without burning before beginning to fry.  Whatever and however you fry, first heat the fat.

Deep or Wet Frying

2.  Deep or wet frying, which is done in a deep pan, containing at least as much fat as will cover whatever is being fried.  This method is used for various kinds of fish, meat mixtures and paste mixtures, but whatever is fried in this way must be coated either with flour, batter, eggs or crumbs.

This is done in order that a crust may be formed round them to keep the juice in and the fat out.  The essential thing is to cover them completely and leave no cracks.

Frying baskets should be used for all delicate frying, so as to do away with much handling, and to lift all the things out at the same moment.  The heat employed in the case of frying has to perform the same work as it does in roasting and boiling. 

Its effect must be in the first instance to harden the albumen, or in other words, to form a thin crust on the outside of whatever is fried, so that the fat does not soak into it and make it greasy. 

 For this reason the fat must be hot and smoking before anything of the kind named can be successfully fried. 

The best plan to test the proper temperature of fat is to watch it until it is perfectly still; a faint blue smoke will then be seen to rise -- the fat is then ready for frying. 

A small piece of bread thrown into the fat is also a good test.  If it turns brown immediately, the heat is correct; if not, the fat is still too cool for frying.

Any bubbling shows that the fats contains water, and therefore, not hot enough to convert it into steam.

Dry Frying - Why it Works

This is frying in a cutlet or frying pan with a small quantity of fat, and is only suitable for such things as require slow cooking, such as steaks, mutton or veal cutlets, fillets of beef, liver and bacon.

Pancakes also are fried in this manner. Success depends, as in French frying, in having the fat rightly heated when the meat is put in, that the outside of the meat cooked may be sealed up.

In this way the juices and flavor will be retained in it. Make, therefore, the frying-pan hot, then put in the fat; and when that is also perfectly hot, put in the meat to be cooked.

When each side has been well sealed up, the heat applied must be moderated so that the cooking may be gradual.

The common mistake in this kind of frying is to put the meat into the fat when it is but barely melted; the juices of the meat are thus allowed to escape, and the meat is toughened.

Table Talk: The American Authority upon Culinary Topics and Fashions of the Table, Vol. XXVII, 1912, A Series of Articles Published Throughout the Year. Published Monthly by The Arthur H. Crist Co., Cooperstown, NY. A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of American Housewives, Having special reference to the Improvement of the Table.  Marion Harris Neil, Editor.

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