One would think making your own gluten free cheddar cheese potato chips would be easy an easy endeavor, however, it took much research and finally experimenting on my own to create this recipe. I wanted a fried potato chip, but not too brown (burnt tasting), as I saw in many other recipes online. I had other concerns, as well. Did I soak them in cold water first? If so, did this make them more crisp or just prevent browning of the raw potato? Or would that cause the temperature of the oil to drop too much? I share my research below, but you can skip ahead to my successful recipe below for cheddar cheese potato chips.
What I learned that surprised me the most was how the different methods of storing potatoes effects the sugar content of the potatoes. Some people store their potatoes in the refrigerator to prevent them from sprouting. When potatoes are stored at lower temperatures the starch and the production of sugar, such as glucose, begins to break down. The sugars remain in the potato and builds up in concentration. When the sugar
content is higher, it creates browning towards the end of cooking, resulting in a bitter taste. When storing potatoes at a temperature lower than 39°F, it not only converts the starches to sugar, but also develops a possible carcinogen (cancer causing) called acrylamide, which alters the taste and cooking quality and leads to higher levels in the cooked potatoes, especially in deep-fried food. This problem can be prevented in-part by storing your potatoes between 65 – 70F° and may last for several weeks. When potatoes are stored at higher temperatures the sugars are consumed within the potato and remain at a relatively low level.
While the above is not ideal, as deep-frying potato chips still results in a bit of burnt and bitter flavor, if you cook these cheddar cheese potato chips to their desired crispness. One patent on the method of preventing browning adding fluffiness to potato chips, suggested removing the chips from the oil prior to browning. It will solve this problem, however, they will not be crisp enough and still contain moisture. So, at that point, if you place bake them in the oven the moisture will evaporate, but this can cause further browning and/or the oil will come to surface on the chips; and that this does not work well if your potatoes are high in sugar content (refrigerated).
If you place the chips from the hot oil into a microwave it does not produce any of the negative effects above, but gives them a baked taste. Once you remove them from the hot oil place them on a plate in the microwave, set on a low temperature (2-3 cooking power) in 15 second increments, up to about 45 seconds, depending upon chip thickness. This will produce a crisp chip. However, this too seems to be an extra step and I really didn’t think it was worth all of the hassle.
If you like a baked taste, but do not want to wait for your chips a long time in the oven this can be achieved by microwaving alone, though you will still get that burnt, bitter flavor. All you do is peel, slice and rinse your potato slices; oil the slices (by spray or adding oil to a bag and tossing them around to coat); microwave on parchment paper or an oiled plate for 2-3 minutes on high.
Another idea was to leave the fried potato chips out at room temperature after partially deep-frying, however, they loose flavor and have a tough texture.
At this point, using this two step method, the best method I discovered was to fry the chips to a lightly golden brown, and before they cool off store them in an oven between 150 – 180F°, 150F° being the most desirable. Luckily, my oven goes as low as 170F°, some only go as low as 200F°. This works successfully for potatoes that have been stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
The above is a lot of work, though, just to have some chips.
I tried several different methods. I skipped baking them in the oven because I found once they sat in the oven for sometime there was not much oil left on the surface, and I needed the oil to get my cheddar cheese coating to stick.
While deciding on what I wanted to add to my cheddar cheese powder to get it to stick on the chips (as the powder alone did not work), I contemplated adding some sort of acid to them. Vinegar or lemon would have been the ideal flavor, but I did not have that in a dry form other than cream of tartar. I decided on soaking the potato slices in vinegar water. I just love vinegar chips, but I didn’t want them quite that strong. What do you know! Not only did it give my cheddar cheese chips just the right flavor, but I found that vinegar is the trick to preventing the chips from over-browning when deep-fried! No need for an additional step at all! They came out perfect! – as if they came out of bag, minus all of the chemicals and preservatives. They tasted great, even without salt. But I went ahead and made some with cheddar cheese, anyway, as this is what I had been waiting for!
See my recipe below for cheddar cheese potato chips. You can make them with the cheddar cheese topping, with salt or plain. I hope you enjoy them!