New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Mashed Potatoes

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been having problems making a good mashed potato. Somehow they don't seem dense enough. I like a stiff mash, but mine come out too light. I usually use golden potatoes or red skinned and cut into pieces. Then I mash and add a little butter and milk that I have warmed up. Any tips?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #2 of 17
If I want a denser mash I use a good olive oil instead of butter and milk. For something special I also add some roasted garlic, a tiny splash of white wine vinegar and some finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.:smiles:
post #3 of 17
stop cutting your potatoes before you cook them. also leave the skin on and when you cook them if the skins split open it's just a little too long (although i almost always end up with at least one popping,sigh) . this should stop excess water from invading your potatoes. So now when you mash with butter and cream your potatoes aren't already thinned out with water. best of luck
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
post #4 of 17
I dont know what kind of taters your useing some contain a lot more water then others, and believe it or not are seasonal. I use what is called 'chef specials 'which are large therefore less to peel and starchy. Also try and just cut them in half to cook not pieces as they hold more water. If you add milk or 1/2 and 1/2 or cream heat it and melt the butter. add to potatoes slowly so you can get consistancy you want. I also steam my potatoes in a steamer. then pop them in oven a minute or two to dry them.:D
CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
post #5 of 17
After you drain the potatoes return the pot to a very low burner for a bit to drive some of the excess water off.
post #6 of 17

Alternate Plan B

Instead of boiling the potatoes, try baking them. Then run the flesh through a ricer and proceed as you normally would.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #7 of 17
I've used this method as well, works great.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #8 of 17
>>I usually use golden potatoes or red skinned

these are both low starch / aka waxy types.

try some russets for mashed.

the tips on drying the spuds is also a crucial part. I also peel & chunk them before boiling - when done I pour them out into a colander to drain & dry.

I like to start the mashing - mixer or ricer, depends on qty for me, but I gravitate to the ricer... - in the dry state before adding any liquid, then butter/fat first, salt/pepper, then dribble milk/cream/whatever a bit at a time to get the consistency "just right"
post #9 of 17
I prefer to steam potatoes in the pressure cooker [faster, less loss of nutrients, perfect every time]. Then put them through the ricer or food mill.

When I used to boil potatoes, I would do the knife test. Stick a paring knife half-way into a potato, and lift up. If the potato fell off the knife, it was done. Then I would drain them in a colandar and put the colandar with the potaoes in back over the empty pan, place a clean dry kitchen towel over them and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes. The towel absorbed the excess moisture out of the spuds, and made for a very nice mash.

My mother in law always beat her mashers in the mixer...but to me they came out like glue.

Please visit my Social Group "Pressure cooker enthusiasts" for more on the pressure cooker method.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
Reply
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
Reply
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ahhh, it's the water content. I do drain them but not enough I guess. Ok I'll try try again. Thanks!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #11 of 17
Kouk...

Get a ricer! My wife got me one a few years ago and I no longer add the extra water to the potatoes when mashing them by sweating into them :lol:

Depending on how 'dense' I want them, I lessen the milk cream. There's never any left!
post #12 of 17
Almost all the replies give you great advice for making good mashed potatoes, but few of them go to the question you actually asked. Dillbert's technique is pure Pierre Franey and so good he practically implied the answer. (Bravo!) But indianwells came closest.

Perhaps one of the problems was that your language is a little inexact and people didn't really understand what you were asking; but more likely it's just the general tendency to describe what one likes best. So much for psychology of posting. Let's get down to brass tacks.

The opposite of "stiff" isn't "light," it's "soupy." If you want stiffed mashed potatoes, use very little milk -- it's as simple as that.

The advice to dry your potatoes is good. Do follow it. The advice to use whole potatoes is also good -- you might want to try it. In any case, the less water you have in your potatoes, the better the milk will incorporate with the starch and the lighter your potatoes will be. Very little to do with "stiffness."

The advice to bake your potatoes rather than boil them is good also. It will net you a different, sweeter taste. It will also net a drier potato -- so lighter, fluffier mashed.

Different potatoes have different mashing characteristics. Dillbert was about as right as anyone can get with the Russet recommendation -- if light, fluffy mash is what's desired. Dill both spent significant time in Northern Europe and obviously knows his way around spuds. Coincidence? I think not.

Different mashing tools also yield different results. Ricers and mills will give you the lightest, fluffiest potatoesl, smoothest. Then mashers. Smashers (like pestles), the densest and lumpiest. Most people prefer mashers for "home style" mashed.

One thing that's death on potatoes -- no matter what consistency is desired -- is overworking. Try to mess with them as little as possible. If you want super smooth potatoes, rather than "whipping" them in a blender of mashing the heck out of them -- do invest in a ricer or mill. Or else just force them through a sieve.

No matter how little milk you use, make sure it's hot before mashing the potatoes. The butter should be soft, even partially melted -- but not completely melted for best incorporation.

Ideally, some of the potatoes will disintegrate as you first mash and the resulting paste will mix with the milk to form a "mortar." The mortar will hold the rest of the (still partly lumpy) potatoes together. For an extra stiff mash, don't use milk at all.

So, here's the basic "how to" recipe: Cook your potatoes thoroughly. Barely hodling together is fine (especially for Yukon Gold which go from undercooked to well done without much transition). Drain them thoroughly in a colander and return them to the dry cooking pan, over a low flame. Let them steam off for a few minutes then add your milk. That's just enough milk to keep the bottom of the pan from scorching. When the milk is warm, add the butter. When the butter is soft and starting to melt, add some salt and a few grinds of pepper (and perhaps some nutmeg). Now mash to the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Yasou!

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #13 of 17
What they said :)

I know peeling and dicing makes for a quicker mash - weeknights here after a busy day - that's how they get them. But it is inferior taste and texture wise to leaving skin on and either boiling gently, starting with COLD water please :) , or baking (that's the best). Peel then mash then pass thru a ricer, then over a very gentle heat, add hot full fat milk (low fat is a waste of taste!) till its the consistency you want. I like to use a whisk at this stage, makes it fluffier/lighter in texture. Then add any butters/ grain mustard, chopped chives or scallions, or grated cheese, or couple of egg yolks and S&P.

I like to boil my taters in chicken stock & water, if you're not vegetarian it gives a great taste, or maybe add couple of bay leaves to the water for something different.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oh my, I guess the mashed potato is the ultimate processing of the spud! There's a lot to think about and will print this thread for reference next time I attempt mashed.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #15 of 17
[QUOTE=boar_d_laze;264761] Or else just force them through a sieve.

That's the ticket, right there. Passing the potato through a sieve or a tamis is the way to go. You'll get the finest, smoothest texture without any of the "glueyness" overworking yields.

In the information overload department I echo the call for the use of hot milk (well, I use cream but whatever) but I would add to that be sure to keep your potatoes warm (ok, hot) while combining the dairy. That may seem obvious but many people do precook their potatoes and mash latter. If the potatoes are cold or even just a little warm it will cause problems when combining the wet ingredients.

--Al
post #16 of 17
[QUOTE=AllanMcPherson;264954]We certainly seem to be on the same page... again.

I echo Alan's technique of making sure both potatoes and milk are both hot before mashing. In home quantities it's simplest to heat the milk with the potatoes. Many people like to melt the butter in the milk, separately. But you'll get better taste and texture using soft, rather than melted butter. The effect on texture is similar to the way shortening works in pie crust or biscuits.

Is this adding or reiterating? I don't know. But, I want to point out that the various methods of sieving, ricing, and milling are all ways of getting a smooth, lump free mash (of slightly different textures), while mashing and smashing are ways of leaving some lump.

It's a question of taste and use.

The current trend in big city, "New American Bistro" is to use a hand masher and leave some lumps.

And specifically referring to the OP. Your best bet for a stiff, somewhat dense mash is to (1) slightly overcook the potato; (2) limit the amount of milk (butter's not that important); and (3) mash with a metal masher, until the potatoes hold together well. I.e., very slightly overmash.

A stiff, dense, mash wiithout too much milk is excellent for using in a variety of leftovers. Something to think about when your choosing your technique.

It's about control. About making the food do what you want it to do. There is no theoretical one best way.

BDL
post #17 of 17
Lots of good suggestions here . . . after draining return to the same pot and place over the burner for a few minutes to remove the extra moisture works best for me (which someone else already suggested). Baking works better, but you have to have a ricer, and they are a little tricky to get out while still hot.

As for the garlic, I read another article a few weeks ago that I have done repeatedly since. Boil pealed, whole garlic cloves with the potatoes and keep them with the potatoes while mashing. Boiling the cloves makes them soft and they disappear into the potatoes. One warning - you will need more cloves than you think (add about 50% more than you think) as the boiling will also soften the garlic flavor.

Cheers!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking