I need to make mashed potatoes that are soft and silky. Mine taste very good, I cook them in cream and butter, no water and then smash them. Although flavorful they don't have the texture of a smooth silky puree. I'm going to purchase a ricer. Any recommendations on ricers? Also, in which step do I rice the potatoes, after they've cooked and before I season them or before?
Potato puree and ricers
Ricing will make a big difference, KK.
Things to watch in a ricer: 1. That it fits your hand. Ricers work on a pliers-like action, and you want to make sure you can get your hands around both handles when the hopper is full. 2. Size. The inclination is to get the largest one you can find. But see point #1. It's often better to work in batches, with a smaller ricer, then to get a large one you can't handle.
Ricing is done after cooking, but before you add the seasonings etc.
When making mashed potatoes I actually prefer to bake the spuds, run them through the ricer, then add the dairy and spices as they get mashed.
I just gave my answer to Granny Smith in her thread on the topic.
Otherwise, KyH answered well.
On my ricer (castt aluminum), the presser plate sticks to the die I'm ricing through at the end and I really dislike having to separate them after each press. Hassle in the design I have.
Koukou, forget about ricers, get yourself a small foodmill, or a big one if needed.
They produce the smoothest puree and are very efficient in use. I have a small plastic(!) one with metal sieves of course, and a full metal one. Both are used frequently.
"...Also, in which step do I rice the potatoes, after they've cooked and before I season them or before?...
...I cook them in cream and butter, no water ..."
Please allow me to say you use an unorthodox way of cooking potatoes for making potato purée. You see, potatoes when just mashed will probably soak up anything, on just one condition; they have to be still hot when processing them. It is essential that potatoes are still hot when making potato purée.
One of my favorite potato purées consist in boiling potatoes in slightly salted water, dry for a while, mash in foodmill while hot as I just said, and then add a scandalous amount of good olive oil, and work in nicely with a wooden spoon. Nothing more except s&p. The oil disappears immediately in the hot potatoes.
Same for classic potato purée; boil in slightly salted water, pour the water off and put the potatoes back on the fire for a while to dry. Immediately mash in foodmill, add an eggyolk, some milk and a little butter, s&p. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
The eggyolk may seem also unorthodox, but it gives a little more compact mass, adds to the flavor and color, and, your purée doesn't have the mouthfeel of babyfood.
When using very tasty potatoes like "rattes", cook in the peel, peel while hot, mash and add only butter, s&p.
Many food service places use a combination of fresh and instant potato. The logic seems to be that chef potatoes (so called) seem to have and hold a different water content every time you get them. By adding the instant you can compensatte for this. They add butter, milk or 1/2 &1/2 salt and white pepper, all done while potatoes are hot.. They come out good and you would not know any instant was used.
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume).
Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...
Since I don't have either I didn't realize there was a difference between a ricer and a food mill. What's the difference?
It is only recently that I began the unusual method of cooking my potatoes directly in half&half and butter. But if I do cook them in water I cook them in just a bit of water so that they absorb the water rather than drain them. I've heard of egg being used before but never done so myself. And I'm the biggest fan of olive oil however isn't it too strong for the potatoes?
I would give a foodmill the simple advantages that they are always delivered with 3 sieves (very small holes up to much bigger holes) and, very important... you can simply and safely put a foodmill firmly, loaded with a large amount of potatoes, on a pot. I guess also that you can use very hot potatoes without burning yourself. Works very easy and fast!
...But if I do cook them in water I cook them in just a bit of water so that they absorb the water ...
Best purée is when there's few water left in the potatoes! Drain and put back on the stove for a minute works perfectly.
...And I'm the biggest fan of olive oil however isn't it too strong for the potatoes?...
Well, then you certainly have to make these asap, and, use a lot of good olive oil! Tasting regurarly will help of course.
Edit; forgot to tell that foodmills are very handy for other stuff too. For instance; making "passata". Just cook the tomatoes as usual, but leave the skins on and don't remove the pips. Then use the smallest sieve. Result; a perfect passata and all tomatoskins and pips are still in the foodmill!
I also use this thing for making jams. Like elderberries which contain a lot of seeds. First cook the berries, pass through a foodmill and all seeds are immediately separated!
Ricers and food mills accomplish the same task, KK. They just do it differently.
A ricer consists of a hopper with a perforated bottom, mounted to a handle. A second handle, with a plunger, is hinged to the hopper. You fill the hopper with potatoes (or whatever), line up the plunger, and squeeze the handles together. Pressure forces the potatoes through the small holes.
Most food mills work through a rotating scraper rather than a plunger. The mill is, essentially, a perforated bowl or pot shaped container (called a screen), often with clip feet for holding onto a bowl. The handle passes through the container, and has a scraper bar on the inside. You load the container, turn the handle, and the bar forces the food through the holes.
Food mills range in complexity from the simplicity of the Foley, to the ornateness of a the Victorinex (sp?) types, which have multiple interchangeable screens (different sized holes), and which can be converted to motorized operation. Some stand mixers, such as the KitchenAid's, have food mill attachments as well.
Is one better than the other? Not hardly. But there are times when one or the other makes more sense. There are two primary differences:
First, a food mill allows the foodstuff to pass through while any debris accumulates in the screen. So, for instance, you can put unpeeled potatoes in the mill. The bar forces the potatoes through the holes, while the skins are left behind. Whole cooked apples can be run through a mill, leaving the skins and seeds behind. Etc. These things would clog a ricer.
Second, volume. Food mills, by and large, have larger capacities than ricers. To make mashed potatoes for a family meal, I reach for the ricer. There's no reason, in my mind, to use a food mill for such a small quanitity, and then have to clean the thing as well. But when making mashed potatoes for a crowd, or when putting up quantities of sauces, and so on, the food mill makes more sense.
There are other advantages to food mills, particularly when canning foods. For instance, I always disliked making blackberry jam, because of the seeds. But with the proper sized screen, the mill lets the pulp through while holding the seeds as trash.
All in all, however, if we're talking about making a choice betweenthe two, I'd say a ricer makes more sense for the average household.
Here's my plastic foodmill that I have for many years now. Never thought it would last thát long! As I said, it's rather small, fit for small family users like me.
In french it's also called a "passe-vite". Says it all when you know "vite" means fast. Also easy to wash it, unless you leave the potatoes to dry on it,.. yeah, I know...
The other devices are my analog mashing machines.
Soem of the ricers have holes on the sides, as well as the bottom. Poor design in my opinion, they can squirt liquid out the sides and burn you. I have food mills, ricers and mashers, which one I use depends on my mood. I probably tend to use the food mill more when I am doing a blend of somehthing else with the spuds like celeriac or chestnuts..
Can a food processor accomplish the same result? I never make mashed potatoes. I just got the book Zuni Cafe and want to make their mashed potatoes. The author recommends a potato ricer.
Any brand recommendations? Cook's Illustrated recommends the RSVP. It is plastic and comes with 2 grids. The reviewers on Amazon recommend the Oxo brand.
A food processor will do a bad job of mashed potatoes. You don't want to split the cells when mashing as that creates gummy unpleasant potatoes.The food processor will spit the cells. The hand mashers, ricers, mills, do a better job.
Thank you. I was on the fence but now I am psyched to get it. I can get the Oxo for $15 at Bed Bath and Beyond because they offer a $5 coupon when you spend $15, so that is what I am going to do.
My husband loves mashed potatoes. I'm married almost 10 years and have never made it for him.
I am very impressed with the recipes I have tried from Zuni Cafe. I'll be making their mashed potatoes next.
Running already riced potatoes through a chinoise or tami will make them smoother still, how much smoother depends on the size of the holes. But once potatoes are riced, you want to manipulate them as little as possible. Unless you're using magic spuds, a second pass through a sieve of any sort would certainly overwork them.
That seems a little strange to me. Could it be you mix up two very different kitchen ustensils? A chinois is a conical very fine sieve used mostly to pass liquids like sauces through it. On the other hand, a tamis is a wide drum with a very fine large sieve "sheet" on the surface and is used to eliminate the very last and the very smallest lumb from all kinds of puréed substances by pushing the purée through the sieve manually with a wide plastic spatula like the bakers use.
Also, you would always push the purée through the tamis before adding any other stuff, to keep control on the endresult when finally adding butter etc.
Sorry. Should have answered this before.
A chinoise is just a sieve that's shaped so you can use a "pusher" to force things through it.
A ricer, a food mill, and a sieve of any sort -- including a chinoise -- all do pretty much the same thing. The chinoise is the most trouble, and at best returns no extra benefit. At worst, the holes will be too small and you'll overwork the potatoes pushing them through. A tami will always net overworked potatoes.
Furthermore, it's worth repeating that you don't force already mashed (or riced, or whatever) potatoes through any of those things. It will overwork them and give them the texture of paste.
For small volumes, I go with the ricer, quick to use (no setup), very quick to clean. For large dinners, then I do reach for the mill. That thing can pump it out, just takes a little more care, also, hand doesn't get as tired. For ricer, buy a good heavy duty one, it will last. Running through the chinoise, never tried that before, sure sounds like you would really have to push through, seems like that would really over work the potatoes and might let them cool down to much. Of course, if you feel really manly, go with the potato masher, the wife loves them when they are a little lumpy and I get to take out my frustrations.
Remember, both ricer and food mill involve quite a bit of cleanup work. Since I prefer my mashed potatoes coarse and country style, I use a simple potato hand masher, adding cream or milk, salt/pepper and butter just before mashing. Minimal cleanup, too.