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Holding mashed potatoes for service

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
:confused:

Okay, I admit it, I'm embarassed! For the party I'm doing on the 16th, they want mashed taters with horseradish/chives; I want to do as much preprep as possible, meaning I would like to make the potatoes in advance, and then reheat them on site. Tried it at home over the weekend, and they flopped! Made the mash, then piped them all pretty on a sheet pan, cooled in fridge. When I reheated them in the oven, I watched them turn into little puddles with squiggles! I've always made potatoes on site before, so they were served right when made, but there's just not enough time/help to do this.

The only things I can figure are 1) too much cream/butter; 2) the cooked potatoes sat in the water a little too long, as I got a phone call and forgot about them - ? absorbed too much water?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 41
Maybe you should be thinking Duchesse Potatoes.

Kuan
post #3 of 41
I know this doesn't answer your question. But, when I make mashed 'tatoes in advance, I just put them in my biggest crockpot on low....and they keep just a good as fresh. Imagine it won't work for the quantity you need, but what about one of those big roasters?
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post #4 of 41
Jill has a good point: keep them hot, or at least warm. Wherever I've worked, the dinner mash was made about 3-4PM, put in a bain, and kept warm until service. Then they were scooped out as needed and reheated to serving temp. Cooling them makes them, well, yucky.

(It's not a problem of what's in them, really, but of how temperature changes play havoc with their composition.) Of course, you want to keep them out of the danger zone. But you knew that!
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post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Suzanne - Do you think the crockpot would work? The party's only 6 people, so there's plenty room in it. Maybe if I lined the pot (ceramic) with foil to prevent crusting?
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post #6 of 41
marmalady, I have kept potatoes in the crockpot for several hours without any crusting. I think that keeping the lid on until you are ready prevents the crusting. A quick stir and they are ready to put out however you need them.
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post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all - I'm feeling much better about this - I'll just pipe 'em onto the plates from the crockpot.
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post #8 of 41
The other option would be to do a twiced baked potato. That way you have mashed potatoes and an edible container for serving them in.
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post #9 of 41
Just an FYI, when I've held MPs for long periods, they tend to set up, especially when made with real butter and whole milk or buttermilk (the BEST way to do it). So I make them a bit on the thin side to compensate for the setting up process.
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post #10 of 41

Keep mashed potatoes warm

If the party is at 7 PM or so..
What I do is prepare the mashed potatoes and add extra cream and butter. Then I put it in my cambro..Covered with aluminum foil
By the time it's service time they are perfect.

Since mashed potatoes dry out slightly, you must add more cream while you have them sit in the cambro.

I usually leave my kitchen about 3 hours before the party starts.

I just made them this weekend for a party of six and they were perfect..
Danielle
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post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
Chefdanielle - Cambro? Is that the big plastic containers? Do they stay warm - or how do you reheat?
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post #12 of 41
The food stays either hot or cold.. If you want to keep the cambro cold you can put all your prepped items in pans and finish the dishes at the party..
Or you can take everything already prepared and hot all ready for service..
It keeps the dishes very hot for 6- 8 hours or so.
Mine was given to me by a retired caterer who thought I would really be able to use it.
And she was right..
I use it for everything.
I believe the company's website is Cambro.com.
I think for $600 you can pick up a double one.
They are very durable and easy to transport..
Great advertising for this company ha..
Good luck..
Danielle
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post #13 of 41
Thread Starter 

home catering business - not!

It's been brought to my attention from my original question that I may be running a home-based catering business - not!!

The party I'm doing this weekend is a) for my hubbie's boss;
b) who is also a personal friend; c) she's paying me for food costs and my time.

As most of you know, I will be starting my new job in two weeks (FINALLY!!!), as 'assistant manager/chef' (actually got my title pinned down from the bosses!) of a new restaurant. So, no time for catering!

Just wanted to clarify, home-catering is not my bag of tricks - left a job working for a home-caterer because I didn't feel comfortable with it, and would never jeopardize myself, my home or my clients with working out of my home.
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post #14 of 41

The humble Spud

Don't be embarassed.

Reheating is not a very good idea, if you can, do them 20 minutes before serving and keep the mash warm ie in bain marie for example. This would work best perhaps also the type of Potato you used could be a problem. As for the ratio of your ingredients, try the following as a rule.

900g (2lb) Potatoes
300ml (2pints) of Cream
1-2 eggs or 1 whole egg and 1 yolk
25g-50g (1-2oz) butter
Salt and pepper

for the above just add 4 tablespoons of Horesradish.
Garnish with chives (do not put them in 20 min before they may go gary on you and spoil a very nice mash potato dish.

Happy cooking hope this helps
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post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 

The party's oooovvveerrrrr-----

Solved the problem rather easily by just cooking the taters on site. Thanks, all, for the suggestions.
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post #16 of 41
Congratulations..
I bet the party was marvelous..
Danielle
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post #17 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks, danielle - It was great - one of those times when everything just 'clicked'; only 'disaster' was when the smoke alarm went off as I was searing the tuna aps - I just went on my merry way, and all the guests and hostesses were busily fanning the alarms and looking for the breaker box!

How is your new business going? The FoodTV website has a discussion group re catering and personal cheffing, if you want to check that out; lots of interesting comments re the 'personal chef' organization.
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post #18 of 41
Now that's what i call Entertainment..
My business is doing fine..
Iam looking for a new kitchen..
The one I have now is not working out...
But Iam getting many jobs..
Thanks for the info about the discussion group..
Danielle
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post #19 of 41

King Spuds

This info is a little late for you but maybe in the future.

Mashed Potatoes for 6 people should hold fine in a crock pot as long as it is on a setting that will keep your spuds around 140 degrees any hotter and any longer then a few hours you will find the starch begin to change and you will lose that nice color and texture.

I also recommend that you add your Chives and Horseradish just prior to serving, The chlorophyll in the chives will die fast and will not be as eye appealing as when they are add last, also the oils in the flavors of these 2 ingredients will lose their intensity. So I recommend that you re-season and add the chives and horseradish right before plating. Even use some of the chives as a garnish for your spuds.


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post #20 of 41
Found this on the Cooks Illustrated Website:

Is it possible to make mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm while I prepare the rest of the meal?


Everyone agrees that mashed potatoes taste best when they are hot, freshly mashed, and still in the pot. As they cool, and their starches harden, mashed potatoes sacrifice much of their creamy fluffiness, becoming, over the space of a couple of hours, positively leaden. Yet it's not always possible to make them at the last minute. Here's our method for keeping mashed potatoes hot until serving time:

Make the potatoes with 1/4 additional, half-and-half, or cream, depending on your preference then turn them into a glass serving bowl or whatever vessel can be fit snugly over a pot containing about 3 inches of barely simmering water. Cover them flush with a damp, lintfree kitchen towel, a layer of plastic wrap, and a pot lid or tight band of aluminum foil. The potatoes will hold beautifully for up to two hours.


It may be too late for you to use but I thought it would benefit a few others.

Jodi
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post #21 of 41
Out of all the ideas Ive seen here I like Petes twice baked method the best . Done properly these are bulletproof .
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post #22 of 41
When I was a kid, my mother used to make the twice baked potatoes from time to time, not because of the timing convenience, but because we loved them. I still make them from time to time simply because they're so good.

Which brings up another question. All the recipes & mavens insist that potatoes should be riced or milled (my mother used a masher), but I find it works fine to use my mixer with a paddle at a slow-medium speed if the potatoes are cooked thoroughly. What do chefs in restaurants do? I can't believe the mill or rice a gazillion lbs of potatoes!
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post #23 of 41
I use a mixer with a wire whip . Here is my twice baked favorite .
Wash and brush with butter Idaho baking potatoes , place on sheet pan and bake till just done . While still hot cut in 1/2 and scoop out into mixers bowl . Add the fowlowing to your taste ,
salt , white pepper , sour cream , cheddar cheese , finely diced green onions and half and half ( bacon is good but there are so many vegans now ) Mix but dont overmix! Pipe or spoon back into potato skins on sheet pans , brush with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika . Chill and reheat in a 350 oven till browned on top . Nothing but raves on this one . Doug
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post #24 of 41
Every restaurant I've worked at used an 8-quart food mill. And we'd mix in the other ingredients by hand. But those were all fine-dining, and none was really high volume.

At the hors d'oeuvre factory, when we needed mash for a filling, we'd cook off 25 lbs of potatoes (or more) and dump them in the 80-Q mixer with the paddle-- no one could possibly have mashed and mixed in everything otherwise.
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post #25 of 41

Butter wrappers

That's what we did at Match, at Soma Park, etc. What used to get me hysterical, though, was that during service the potatoes would sometimes start to rise in the bain -- there was an air pocket from plopping them in -- and it would look like a souffle on the shelf over the burners.

The parchment layer stops the food from reacting chemically with the aluminum foil. If you notice pin-prick holes in the foil, it's because the acid in the food ate through the metal; this is even worse when the container is also metal (in that case, I think there's a tiny electrical current generated, but I could be wrong).
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post #26 of 41

I thought maximum time for holding is 2 hours not 3?

post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandelion View Post

I thought maximum time for holding is 2 hours not 3?

Food Code, indefinitely if held above 135°F.

 

Food quality? Not very long crazy.gif
 

 

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post #28 of 41

For many fine dining places, we would boil the peeled spuds whole, then run them through  potato ricer.  This was dept on the m.e.p. and a'la minute  buttermilk /butter was heated, the riced pots put in, and whisked hot and fluffy..

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post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Food Code, indefinitely if held above 135°F.

 

Food quality? Not very long crazy.gif
 

 


Hold indefinitely? How about 9 years?

I just finished reading this thread and realized the question was asked back in2002 smile.gif
post #30 of 41

Hi there,

 

I wonder if it would have been better to simply prepare the potatoes as ordinarily and refrigerate in a hotel pan until just before service.  At that time reheat them to the right temperature, then pipe and finish as you like.  You'll get a fresher, more finished and professional looking product that way.  I do think, however, that waxy potatoes, such as Yukon golds, are better for boiling because they have less moisture content than mealy potatoes, such as a russet.  But russets do fall apart when boiling and some feel they are a better choice for whipped or pureed potatoes.  But I think the problem is really with preparing them to finish in advance, refrigerating them and reheating them in the oven and then trying to serve a presentable and finished looking product...   

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