There are many ways you can cook potatoes. Today we will cover the basics of baking potatoes and answer common questions.
Which Potato Type Is Best For Baking?
While a smaller selection will be sold in most supermarkets, there are hundreds of potato varieties. They can be distinguished by their shape, color, and starch content. There are three main categories of potatoes: high starch (also known as baking potatoes), medium, and low starch.
Your ears are likely to have been perked up by high starch (also called baking potatoes). For baking, potatoes that have a lot of starch and very little moisture (namely russets which are also known as Idahos) are favored by many cooks.
You could still bake other potato varieties like Yukon golds or fingerlings, but they will have a denser, stickier, and wetter inside due to their higher starch and moisture.
Starch: Why Is It So Important?
How well a potato cooks will depend on its starch content. The more starch potato has, the more it will “swell and separate” from other cells. This produces a fine, dry texture that can be topped with butter or sour cream. In lower-starch potatoes, however, “cells cooperate” which is why some prefer waxy varieties for recipes such as a grated where you want the layers of the dish to stick together.
How To Bake Whole Potatoes In The Oven?
Following steps are involved in how to bake a potato in the oven:
1. To heat the oven, heat it from 400°F to 350°F. Heat the oven to 450°F or less. Below 400F will produce a subpar skin texture. Anything above 450F can lead to a dry, brittle center and an outside that is too hot.
2. Clean the potato by rinsing and scrubbing it. While some potato recipes require peeling, such as double garlic mashed, whole potatoes should be baked with their skin on. This not only insulates the flesh but also makes it an A+ crust.
3. Prick the potato with a fork, paring knife, or fork a few times. If you don’t do this before baking, steam won’t escape and the potato will explode. We believe that if the process takes two seconds, it is worth taking the risk.
4a. Bake the potato directly on an oven shelf. Potato is ready when a knife penetrates the flesh easily and with very little resistance.
4b. A small amount of neutral-flavor oil, such as canola, can be used to rub the potato. It will create a well-seasoned crust that is as addictive as its fluffy middle. Potato is ready when a knife penetrates the flesh easily and with very little resistance.
5. Cut the potato into pieces immediately. Dress up and then dig in. Add whatever you wish to the potato, and then heat it.
How To Microwave Whole Potatoes?
Baked potatoes are different in ovens than in microwaves, so you shouldn’t expect identical results. Consider these pros and cons:
Oven: Flaky skin, soft interior from 40 minutes to one hour. Very low chance of explosion.
Microwave: Soft skin, dense interior. This takes less than 10 seconds. Higher risk of explosion.
Takeaway: In a hurry? A microwave can help you get a quick meal or snack. An oven is a great option if time is tight.
Method: Rinse and scrub your potato. With a fork or a paring blade, poke it all around. Salt or oil it. Place on a plate. Microwave it for 5-10 minutes. Flip halfway through. Once the potato is super-hot, it will become tender.