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Subject: gluey mashed potatoes
Newsgroup: rec.food.cooking

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From: mhelsten[at]julian.uwo.ca (Corinne Marshall)
Date: 16 Dec 1996 00:14:12 GMT
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I've never really tried to make anything as ordinary as mashed potatoes
before, and am discovering that there must be a knack to it as they have
turned out very gluey both times I have tried. 
I boiled the potatoes, peeled them, mashed them somewhat with a masher,
added a bit of butter, mashed them some more with a Braun multipractic
hand-held blender, so far so good, and it seemed to me there was no sign o
glue until I added milk. 

I imagine if it's any kind of challenge to make ungluey regular mashed
potatoes, it must be even more so to make garlic mashed potatoes,
considering garlic cloves are sort of sticky on the inside. 

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From: Janice Walker 
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 18:26:37 -0800
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I also need some gluey mashed potato help--Last Christmas I made them
and they were just about like overcooked wall paper paste. I had made
them before and they turned out nicely. Can anyone give me a clue as to
where I messed up? Will they get gluey from using potatoes that are
still good but have been in the produce drawer a few weeks? Post or
e-mail is fine. Thanks!

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From: michelle.campbell[at]stonebow.otago.ac.nz (Miche)
Date: 18 Dec 1996 00:07:35 GMT
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Add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder per serving.  Nice, fluffy potatoes.

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From: Kate Connally 
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 10:16:05 -0800
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I never have any problems.  It might be the type of
potatoes you use.  I always use Idaho or russet potatoes.
After draining the cooked potatoes I put them back
into the pot I cooked them in and start beating them with
the hand mixer.  I just beat them briefly and then, once
they're all broken up, I add butter, salt, and some milk.  
I then continue to beat them, adding more milk as necessary,
until smooth.  I have never had gluey potatoes.  (And I 
rarely get lumps either!) I really think it must be the 
type of potatoes you are using or perhaps the food 
processor thing someone else mentioned. I always use my 
mixer, never a food processor.

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From: Brian Mailman 
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 11:17:01 -0800
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I've written of this before ... NEVER use a blender to make mashed
potatoes.  There are "starch packets" inside the potato cells and the
blender blades rip right through them, releasing the starch and this
makes the potatoes into library paste.

If one insists on using a food processor, use the grating blade and not
the metal mixing blade (for the same reason as above).

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From: Penny Freshwater 
Date: 18 Dec 1996 20:13:15 GMT
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I'll bet that you used red potatoes...they are always gluey

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From: stan[at]thunder.temple.edu (Stan Horwitz)
Date: 19 Dec 1996 00:40:19 GMT
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Don't use an electric mixer of any kind when you mash potatoes. The sharp
blades and high speed of most mixers causes the starch molecules to break.
When you release too much starch, you end up with book paste instead of
food. For best results, use a hand crank food mill or a ricer to make 
mashed potatoes. Any cookwares store will have one of these ricers or 
food mills. They usually cost between $10 and $20. A ricer is the best 
way to mash the potatoes; its fool proof, but I heard several people say 
the food mill is just as good.

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From: msoja[at]globalnet.co.uk (Onion Breath)
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 14:20:07 GMT
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Stan Horwitz wrote:
>Don't use an electric mixer of any kind when you mash potatoes.

Doesn't Cuisinart have a mashed potato add on that is geared down so
it doesn't spin too fast?  If I remember it *only* costs $80 or so.
I'll stick with a fork.

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From: Kate Connally 
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 10:16:59 -0800
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Stan Horwitz wrote:

> Don't use an electric mixer of any kind when you mash potatoes. The sharp
> blades and high speed of most mixers causes the starch molecules to break.
> When you release too much starch, you end up with book paste instead of
> food.

Sorry, Stan, but this is just not true.  I have used a mixer
my whole life and I make *perfect* mashed potatoes!  I still 
think it's the type of potato.  Someone else mentioned that
the red potatoes get gluey.  I wouldn't know because I always
use Idaho/russets but they're probably right.

> For best results, use a hand crank food mill or a ricer to make
> mashed potatoes.

That's all well and good for people who have the extra time
(I never do when I'm cooking) it takes or really want to work
on their biceps.  I'm sure they make lovely mashed potatoes
but not any lovelier than mine made with a mixer which is
easier and faster.

Oh, and about using warm or hot milk - I have never found using
cold milk to be a problem.  My mashed potatoes come to the table
steaming hot.  Heating the milk is just an unnecessary extra
step that involves more time and more dishes to wash.  After all
compared to the volume of potatoes the volume of milk is very
small.  It doesn't have a significant cooling effect in my
experience.

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From: sue[at]interport.net (Curly Sue)
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 02:32:00 GMT
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Use starchy potatoes rather than waxy potatoes.  Idahoes and the like
are OK.  I don't know what the equivalent is in Canada :>

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From: rickm[at]mnsinc.com (Rick Marinelli)
Date: 16 Dec 1996 23:47:39 GMT
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BUZZ!!!!  Not so far so good.  I don't really know if there is gluten in 
potatoes, but using a high-speed blender like that Braun affects potatoes 
the same way kneading affects wheat flour.  I also don't know why it was 
only apparent when you added milk.

What I do know is that if you hand-mash, or use a mixer on slow speed, you 
won't get gluey potatoes.

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From: art simon 
Date: 17 Dec 1996 16:22:32 GMT
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: BUZZ!!!!  Not so far so good.  I don't really know if there is gluten in 
: potatoes, but using a high-speed blender like that Braun affects potatoes
: the same way kneading affects wheat flour.  I also don't know why it was 
: only apparent when you added milk.

Not quite. The cells of the potato flesh contain a very fine starch. Mashing 
gently leaves most of the cells intact. Processing in a blender or a Food
Processor acts like a cell homogenizer and releases all that starch into the
liquid. Adding any liquid early just makes the process more efficient. As I
posted elsewhere, all that starch whipped into the aqueous base makes starch
paste (remember those kindergarten paste jars?) Glue is the right word for
the consistency, but paste is probably more accurate in terms of the end-
product.

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From: Madeline 
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 21:55:13 -0800
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There are different types of potatoes. I think if you use the wrong type 
it may cause the gluey problem you experienced.  Some are best for baking 
and others for mashing. I always peel, cube and then cook my potatoes.  I 
make sure the pieces are aprox. the same size to make sure they are all 
cooked within the same time.  I cube them to about 1 inch square. 
Sometimes I add onion to the pot as I cook and mash that also with the 
potatoes to add a nice flavour.  When it's time to mash I use heated milk 
and butter and pepper and sometimes a dash of nutmeg. Don't forget to 
salt the water you are boiling your potatoes in.

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From: jjarmstrong[at]sol.co.uk (John J. Armstrong)
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 17:08:12 +0000
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m.a. helsten wrote:
>.... mashed them some more with a Braun multipractic hand-held blender,

That's the problem.  By doing that you're on the road to ruin.  You're
destroying the texture.  There's no substitute for elbow grease here,
unfortunately.  Add the milk (according to my Cordon Bleu cook book, it
should be heated first) and then beat the mixture with a wooden spoon.  The
aim is to add air to the mixture for light fluffy mashed potatoes.

I learned this at my mother's knee, long before Braun multipractics were 
invented!

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From: fzyenath[at]rocky.ucdavis.edu (Geeta Bharathan)
Date: 16 Dec 1996 19:54:50 GMT
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I think what probably happens when you blend potatoes is that the cells
in the potato break and the starch grains are set free. This changes the
texture of the mashed product qualitatively.

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From: robinc[at]oanet.com (Robin Cowdrey)
Date: 18 Dec 1996 05:04:57 GMT
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I *hated* mashed potatoes until I discovered the potato ricer.  I used to
use a Mix Master, let everyone else eat the potatoes, and wondered why 
there were always lots of leftovers.
I found my first at a garage sale and the ricer has become a much valued 
kitchen tool.  It removes every single lump and, while it's a bit messy to
use, cleans up beautifully in the dish washer.  Addition of buttermilk, 
roasted or steamed garlic or whatever else takes your fancy turns the 
simple spud into ambrosia.

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From: nancy-dooley[at]uiowa.edu (Nancy Dooley)
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 20:24:42 GMT
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We have always used potato mashers at our house - work a treat, they
do....and have always warmed the milk.

We use the masher to initially mash the potatoes into as mashed a
state as we can - add the milk, about 1/2 at a time, and continue
mashing.  At the very end, give the masher a whirl around the pan a
couple times....put into the serving dish and plop some butter in the
center, with a light sprinkle of pepper.  I have my Cutco masher - a
handled, round flat "squasher" with cubic holes in it, and also my
grandma's - a handled wire thingie - the flat bottom mashing part
looks like concentric even loops out of heavy, round wire.  Hers works
better than mine..

I thought until I started reading this group that no-one used mixers
on mashed potatoes except school cafeterias and restaurants.  It would
never occur to me to use one at home.

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From: tamale[at]primenet.com
Date: 16 Dec 1996 17:25:02 -0700
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The first time I made mashed potatoes I used my new Cuisinart.  You don't
know the meaning of glue until you try this   :)

Really, I'd "mash" or "rice" (my favorite) the potatoes....even "whip"
with an electric beater.....but the blades of the Braun and Cuisinart go
too fast and break down the structure of the potatoes.

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From: Mary f(pud) 
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 22:16:01 -0800
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tamale@primenet wrote:
> Really, I'd "mash" or "rice" (my favorite) the potatoes....even "whip"
> with an electric beater.....but the blades of the Braun and Cuisinart go
> too fast and break down the structure of the potatoes.

Good answer.  Dad burned out a cuisnart on this one.  We could have made some 
really fun christmas ornaments with these potatoes :-).  I laughed myself 
stupid, until he threatened to cut off the wine :-).

Add the butter and the milk before you start mashing.  And don't use a blender
type machine. I use the whisk attachment in the KA and I don't do it too long.  
The milk and butter help prevent the potatoes turning to glue.  And I have used
all sorts of taters, red, wax and idahoes.  And I agree with previous posters, 
the idahoes are the best for mashed, but I've had great luck with all the 
others too :-)

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From: "art simon" 
Date: 17 Dec 1996 16:16:22 GMT
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I'd go even further. I stay away from the cuisinart and the blender and
mash by hand. That's because I like a *little* texture left in the potatoes. 
If I want whipped (as in roast garlic-roast onion whipped potatoes or potatoes 
whipped for duchess potatoes) I'll use the KA as Mary does.  Food processors 
and blenders are great for making library paste, though.

Art, quite proud of his potato masher collection.

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From: roglb[at]nrv.net (Diane)
Date: 18 Dec 1996 14:10:27 GMT
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I don't know what the rest of the original post said, but I always heat the 
milk before I add it.  I also mash the potatoes with my hand mixer (not on, 
just mash up and down) before adding anything, just to break up the taters a 
little.  Then I add some warm milk and some butter (sometimes I melt the 
butter with the milk).  I turn on the mixer and let it whip the taters up, 
adding more warm milk till they are just right.  I've never made gluey 
potatoes.  I have, however, made them too thin a few times.  I heard a great 
tip to solve that:  add instant potatoes to bring them back to the right 
consistency.  This tip came from the woman who makes the best mashed 
potatoes I've ever tasted, so I believe it.  I don't keep them in the house, 
so once I added one slice of cheese and it worked without making them cheesy 
(although I like cheesy potatoes).

Anyway, I've never heard of using a blender for potatoes.  Perhaps that has 
something to do with them being gluey?  Unless when you say "hand-held 
blender" you mean a hand-held mixer.

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From: sf[at]pipeline.com
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 1996 02:30:04 GMT
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I used to make gluey potato too until I started doing two things:
use a potato ricer first and ADD LESS MILK. 

I noticed also that a friend who does killer mashed potatoes adds HOT
milk to her potatoes.  I don't know what that does except keep them
warm, but they sure are good.  ;-)

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From: gmc[at]smart.net (Gordon Charrick)
Date: 23 Dec 1996 21:09:44 GMT
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Yesterday I finally found purple potatoes at the store and made mashed
potatoes with them. They turned out great except cooking kind of mutes the
color so they were only a light blue color! I guess I also learned I
should heat the milk before adding it so they won't cool off too much.
They did fine microwaved to heat them back up.

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From: Robin Cowdrey 
Date: 26 Dec 1996 07:09:25 GMT
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The secret is the ricer. I don't know what whipping or beating does to
potatoes physically except to make them gluey!! If you like garlic, steam 
the potatoes with garlic to taste and then pass everything through the ricer.
Add salt, pepper cream or butter or margarine to taste and stir everything 
together. Don't whip or beat the potatoes. If you don't have a ricer, use a 
masher.

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From: terror[at]eskimo.com (Tara Banfield)
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 22:34:15 GMT
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Hmm.  Never had that problem!  Dad taught me the Great Potato Secret...which 
is to wallop them with milk & butter.  They ALWAYS come out fluffy!  Maybe 
it's because we use the cheapest potatoes in the universe. (?)  I *do* know 
that if you puree the darn things (like in a food processor) you'll wind up 
breaking up the individual starch granules and letting the gluey stuff out of 
the middle of 'em.  Maybe some potato types are more resistant to that.

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From: RCC 
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 15:35:38 +0000
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Most reputable recipes for mashed potatoes suggest the use of hand
mashers. They also suggest using cream rather than milk. This makes them
rather firm and thus it is more of a trial to prevent them from being
"gluey", but it is worth it as water content in mashed potatoes should
be kept to a minimum. This is why one common tip is to return the
potatoes to the heat after draining to get rid of any remaining
moisture, and another common tip is to use the sorts of potatoes which
have minimal natural water content. Mashing garlic into your potatoes
will result in a rather crude version of flavoured mashed potatoes. Try
getting a recipe for the Irish potato dish called "champ". Other
preferable additions are fried green onions, bacon, reconstituted
chinese dried mushrooms and - the best of all - truffles. I use "truffle
oil", oil infused with truffle flavour. this can be used in place of
some of the butter. Truffle oil's expensive, but it goes a long way.

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From: ragreen[at]ix.netcom.com (Ron A. Green)
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 08:23:51 GMT
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RCC wrote:
>Most reputable recipes for mashed potatoes suggest the use of hand
>mashers. 

On the nose. Hand mash, or use a ricer. Unless you are very careful,
you will overbeat and the mash becomes too glutenous, just like
overkneaded bread or pizza dough. Sour cream also makes a nice sub for
milk. The best mash is always hand done, and with a potato masher and
a French bowl, it's a snap. Ricers also yield excellent results. I
actually use an antique ricer at home, it was my grandmother's, circa
1900.

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From: Arthur A. Simon, Jr. 
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 12:01:04 -0600
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I wouldn't rule out using a K5 at a low setting. That's what
I use when I make potatoes with roast onion and/or garlic.


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