I found this idea for great mashed potatoes on yahoo. I add some ideas of my own and I will write down the steps that help you prepare the perfect mashed potatoes and avoid the pitfalls that many mashed potato preparers might have encountered (including myself before I read the article on how to make the perfect mashed potatoes, loll):
1) Pick the right potato like a starchy russet or all purpose potato like Yukon Gold. Picking the right kind of potato is the first and most important step in creating the tastiest and most perfect mashed potato dish of your personal cooking history.
2) Use a steaming method to cook the potatoes because it locks in the flavor, keeps them moist, while it keeps them from burning. Also, before steaming make sure all potato pieces are cut to equal size since different sized potato pieces have different cooking times / rates. I made sure I cut my potatoes to equal sized pieces the last time I made mashed potatoes and my mashed potatoes are already improving! I forgot to steam them though and I have to print this advice out so I won’t forget again.
3) Don’t overcook or under cook the potatoes. A perfectly cooked potato for mashed potato should give no resistance and crumble to little pieces as you poke it.
4) I would use the lower fat butter from Land O Lakes. The one in the green tub is the low fat version and it is a smooth easy to spread butter so it would melt into the potatoes easily.
5) Pick the right mashing tool. Use a ricer (I don’t know what that is) to get fluffy mashed potatoes or a hand held masher for chunkier potatoes. Remember that over mixing mashed potatoes can make them stiff or chewy. Also, using a ricer or hand held masher limits the amount the potatoes get processed so the starches stay intact. Over-whipped potatoes break down their starches more and give you a sticky result. The more you limit the processing of the potatoes the better. I don’t have a ricer so I used the mashing tool. I will eventually buy a ricer so I can make my mashed potatoes even more perfect.
6) Serve mashed potatoes hot after you are finished with them because they lose their luster if they sit around. If you make them ahead then heat them in a double boiler to prevent burning, etc. This way the potatoes won’t touch the bottom of the pan and you won’t have to stir and they won’t become gummy. This is the greatest idea and I forgot to do this also. I guess old habits are just ingrained and one has to put the new method in front of ones face to learn to make it. That is just what I will have to do also.
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