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Old 03-18-2006, 12:15 PM   #1
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Need help for BASIC/PLAIN mashed potatoes

hi everyone,
I have been making mashed potatoes with butter and evaporated milk for years, but the texture isn't too great. Mine are not too fluffy and are not as "heavy/dense" as i'd like. I've tried cutting back on the amount of evaporated milk but, i'm still not getting a great product. People I talk to tell me they prepare mashed potatoes the same way I do, but theirs are better. Are there some finer points to making basic mashed potatoes i'm missing?? I'm using Idaho/Russet potatoes. Thanks in advance for any help, gary

p.s. I read somewhere about putting egg yolk in the potatoes to make them more fluffly, can someone explain this please. Also, I've tried boiling the potatoes a little more or a little less "fork tender" what's best?

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Old 03-18-2006, 12:28 PM   #2
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Are you using an electric mixer or a hand smasher? If you over beat them, they'll "fall" and get gummy I know. I've never used evaporated milk, just 1% or cream and only beat for a short bit - like 30 seconds. I also don't add the butter until the end, just put the pats on top and let them melt over the top as people come to the table. Just a few thoughts ... can you expain how you are doing them?
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Old 03-18-2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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I use a hand masher. Would the electric mixer be better if i'm careful not to over beat?? Also, I have been putting the evaporated milk the and butter in before or during mashing. I sometimes use 2% or 1% milk in place of the evporated milk and it doesn,t seem to make much difference???
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Old 03-18-2006, 12:39 PM   #4
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I always mash by hand. It is easy enough to do and no chance of making them gummy.

I peel and boil the potatoes till done then. Then I drain the water and put the potatoes back on the burner that is turned off. The residual heat will dry them out a bit which is what you want. Just stir them around for a few seconds. I use whipping cream in my mashed potatoes as well as butter. Yeah they are not super healthy, but they taste so good. don't forget to salt and pepper to taste.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:05 PM   #5
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GB has the right trick...the key is getting the water out of the potatoes.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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I make them the same way as GB, only I normally use evaporated milk. My family likes them mashed by hand rather whipped with my mixer; they like the few lumps.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:09 PM   #7
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I mash mine also and use 1% milk and butter.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:12 PM   #8
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Ditto, GB...

...plus, don't cook 'em mushy. I like cream cheese and butter and, if necessary, a splash of milk. I quit using a mixer years ago.
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Old 03-18-2006, 01:58 PM   #9
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add some herbs/ garlic to the cooking water.. if you like that...
I use normal milk, a little warm, and mix with the electric mixer
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:09 PM   #10
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I do mine like GB, drying the potatoes is key. Maybe you should invest in a potato ricer.
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corazon90
I do mine like GB, drying the potatoes is key. Maybe you should invest in a potato ricer.
Ditto on the ricer. It will give you the fluffy texture you're looking for, as long as you don't overmix the potato once you add the cream/butter. If you want both fluffy and rich (I'm assuming you mean rich rather than dense/heavy), use the ricer and use heavy cream and butter instead of evaporated milk.
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:40 PM   #12
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My process is like GB's too. The difference is that I use a ricer to process the potatoes, eliminating the possibility of lumps. A ricer also promotes a fluffier product.

I add milk or cream and butter, salt and pepper.

For variations, I add some sour cream or roasted garlic or minced scallion or chives. The possibilities are endless.
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:46 PM   #13
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Several years ago found a ricer, touted as a tomato squasher, on ebay for almost nothing.

This is a professional item, it takes both arms to squish the taters.

Then add a bit of butter, mix, and add cream.

Found that adding the butter before the cream works better.
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary b
I use a hand masher. Would the electric mixer be better if i'm careful not to over beat?? ...
It all depends what you like - a few lumps or smooth. It really depends what mood dh and I are in as to which instrument of mashing I use . A hand masher gives you a few more lumps unless you mash until they are creamy at which point you've probly reached gummy. An electric mixer will give you smooth and if you stop at the right point, fluffy.

My overall process is like GB's ... peel, boil until just soft, drain and mash in the same pan I cooked them in. I especially agree about the heat drying them out.

I've never tried a ricer but they look interesting!
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:43 PM   #15
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I use sour cream only in my mashed potatoes... very creamy and fluffy.
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Old 03-18-2006, 04:52 PM   #16
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I control the heaviness/density of my potatoes by adding or subtracting milk. I am very basic with mashed potatoes, no frills. Not that I don't like some frills, but my country style preference of lots of good hot food overtakes my desire for frill.

I usually boil about 10 or so medium to medium large potatoes. Once done and well drained, I put a stick of butter in the pan before dumping the spuds back in. I let it sit that way for a while to melt the butter, then use a masher/mixer (I've used both successfully) to incorporate the butter. Once that's all incorporated, I start adding milk, normally 1%. More milk means creamier, less milk means more density. Typically if I am going for density, I use the hand masher, and the hand mixer for more creamy spuds. That said, I've successfully used both for dense potatoes and creamy potatoes. It's all in the quantity of milk.

Be careful, though. Regardless of the mashing style, too much milk certainly equals potato soup. Been there, done that . . . . . whoops!
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:45 PM   #17
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I still use the ricer for squash and sweet potatoes, etc. , but the hand mixers have gotten so good, I use it for regualr mashies. OK..if I'm doing newpotatoes, skins on, I hand mash and leave em a bit lumpy on purpose. If I'm doing russets for whipped potatoes, I remove skins, and boil with a clove or two of garlic. I use a hand mixer and either skim milk or chicken broth. if I'm serving with a sauce, or add a dab of butter if I'm not. I like mine light fluffy and potatoey not creamy.
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