20 November 2012

How (not) to mash potatoes

Inside each of the potatoes’ cells are hundreds of granules... Inside those granules is a clear, thick paste of starch that the plant manufactured during its photosynthesis days as nourishment for its future generations.

Break open too many of those granules, letting too much of the starch paste leak out, and you’ll end up with pasty mashed potatoes. So unless you want to use the result for affixing wallpaper, don’t use a food processor or a blender. Their high-powered blades can reduce the potatoes to a puree, which is great for juicy, non-starchy fruits and vegetables. But by the time a potato is squished to that degree, most of its starch granules have been torn open, spilling their gluey contents.

Mixers can do both mixing and beating/aerating. However, beating potatoes in a mixer in an attempt to make them fluffy is almost as bad as using a blender. It’s okay to use a mixer on very low speed to distribute additives such as butter and milk. But beating them too vigorously will break down their starch granules into glue just as a blender does.
Additional details (and four additional "food flubs" re frozen turkey, turkey skin, gravy, and cranberry sauce) at the Washington Post.

btw, TYWKIWDBI will be in diapause for several days while I take an extended Thanksgiving break.


  1. Happy day of giving thanks to you and yours. And, football. --A.

  2. My very favorite mashed potato recipe requires a food processor, and a bit of cream, and quite a lot of Gruyere cheese. It has a velvety texture and is so amazingly rich, you can only eat a bit of it. I think I got it from Cook's Illustrated, but couldn't swear to it.

    And in the spirit of thanksgiving, thanks for doing your interesting blog, and a happy thanksgiving to you.

  3. A ricer. That's the key to perfect mashed potatoes.

    1. I concur. A potato ricer is the best way to get wonderful smooth mashed potatoes.


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