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Subject: Perfect Hash browns?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: oran[at]netcom.com (SRitter)
Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 16:40:06 GMT
--------
  I'd like to see how some of you accomplished people prepare the Perfect
Hash Browns. 

  The "Golden Brown" hash browns done at restaurants may do for a quick
weekday breakfast, but how about the gourmet stuff you prepare for the
Family on Sunday morning?

  All inputs, tricks, methods appreciated.
Steve  - "Iron Dad" 

============================

From: timcarol[at]unlimited.net
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 06:40:17 GMT
--------
I had problems getting the hash browns to come out white. They always
seemed to turn an icky gray color when fried.
I now run several potatoes thru the grate blade on my food processor,
then boil them like pasta for about 5 min. Drain completely, even pat
dry if you have enough paper towels.
Then grate an onion and several cloves of garlic and toss with the
grated boiled and drained potatoes.
Fry this combo in about 1/4" of oil in a teflon pan. They aren't
exactly like restaurant potatoes but close.
Carol McE

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From: dutchm[at]dcn.davis.ca.us (Donald Martinich)
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 07:48:59 GMT
--------
I shred russet potatoes on a grater and *immediately* drop them into a
heated cast iron skillet with olive oil, drawn butter, home-rendered beef
suet or lard. Cook at a moderate heat. The potatoes should bubble but not
too fast. Don't pile the potatoes to high- 3/4 inches at max. It usually
takes around 15 or more minutes. When done the exterior is golden to ruddy
brown and plenty crisp and completely done in the center. Salt is added
while cooking. Usually only one turn is needed. I also give it a quick
blot with a paper towel.

Good eats- D.M. 

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From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 16:37:11 GMT
--------
I am almost always disappointed by has browns served in restaurants.
Very few restaurants make them well.  Here is what Jack and I do.

1.  Peel and grate *raw* potatoes.

2.  Heat vegetable oil on a high flame in a frying pan to *very* hot. 
The oil should fill the pan to a depth of approximately 1/4 inch.  Too
little oil is very bad.  The size of the pan should be such that the
entire pan is covered with potatoes and the potatoes fill the pan to a
thickness of approximately 3/4 to 1 inch.  

3.  Squeeze the grated potatoes to drain out as much water as you can.

4.  Add half of the potatoes to the frying pan.  If you are going to
add whole flavoring agents (such as basil leave, onions, or garlic
cloves), place them on top of the potatoes.  Cover the flavoring
agents (if any) with the other half of the potatoes.  Keep the flame
high while cooking.

5.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic
(not garlic salt).  

6.  When the potatoes are golden brown on the bottom, turn them over.

7.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic,
keeping in mind the admonition in step 4.

8.  When the potatoes are golden brown on the bottom, remove them from
the pan and drain them on a paper towel.

Hmmm...  I think I'll make some for breakfast this morning.

============================

From: oran[at]netcom.com (Steve Ritter)
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 21:49:16 GMT
--------
 Yum.. That's great, Kay. Thanks.

  My problem is the oil. Hash Browns are disastrous without a lot of oil,
as you have pointed out. And if I use too little oil, I get a soggy potato
Latka or pancake. It just won't brown.

  Wonder if there is a way around using less oil to fry and still get the
crunch. I have not been able to do it, unless the potato was pre cooked, or
otherwise manipulated. At which point that "fresh" feeling goes right out
of it. 

  You might as well cook the Awrita frozen crud:)

============================

From: aem <aeNOSPAM[at]worldnet.att.net>
Date: 9 Nov 1998 00:11:16 GMT
--------
SRitter wrote:
>   My problem is the oil. Hash Browns are disastrous without a
> lot of oil, as you have pointed out. And if I use too little
> oil, I get a soggy potato Latka or pancake. It just won't
> brown.

It sounds to me as though you're not using a high enough heat.
It's not the quantity of oil so much as the temp.  I made home
fries this morning from some leftover boiled potatoes and used
about 1/16" oil in a large skillet.  To get that brown
crunchiness it's important to have only one layer of potatoes,
and as I say, to get that pan HOT.  Then don't stir or toss very
much, just watch them to avoid burning.  --aem

============================

From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 03:28:10 GMT
--------
aem wrote:
>It sounds to me as though you're not using a high enough heat.
>It's not the quantity of oil so much as the temp.  I made home
>fries  this morning from some leftover boiled potatoes and used
>about 1/16" oil in a large skillet.  To get that brown
>crunchiness it's important to have only one layer of potatoes,
>and as I say, to get that pan HOT.  Then don't stir or toss very
>much, just watch them to avoid burning.  --aem

Yes, but home fries are not the same as hash browns.  While it is
theoretically possible to make home fries with less oil (not counting
those I made at the Humboldt cook-in), good hash browns require a good
amount of oil to brown properly.

============================

From: oran[at]netcom.com (Steve Ritter)
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 01:59:49 GMT
--------
   Oh I do get it hot enough, but if I do, I get the bottom quickly burned,
and the rest is not cooked through.

   Unfortunately, I have these damn Electric burners. I'm stuck with it for
now. Praying for Gas! 
 
============================

From: Pete <pfederic[at]erols.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 04:10:08 -0500
--------
SRitter wrote:
> Oh I do get it hot enough, but if I do, I get the bottom
> quickly burned, and the rest is not cooked through.
> Unfortunately, I have these damn Electric burners.
> I'm stuck with it for now. Praying for Gas!

EXACTLY! I experienced the same problem and I use GAS flame.
Hot oil seems the trick but then the bottom browns quickly
and the tendency is to remove it or flip it too soon before
the center has time to cook. I use a 10" Cast Iron pan w/med
flame and am still experimenting to achieve the perfect
Hash Browns. 

Personally, I think that many recipes require detailed specs
for cooking equipment as well as ingredients and technique.
At least with critical foods such as Hash Browns, it is best
to specify pan size, pan type, typical cooking length of time
for a given volume, and precise amount of oil if not the 
exact oil temperature too. Sometimes you need to change the
temperature during cooking to get a certain result.
It's a real challange and perhaps this is why I enjoy
cooking so much and with the additional payoff of EATING
the creation a bonus <Big Grin>.

Eventually, I'll figure it (perfect Hash Browns) out and 
post my results here. In the mean time I am taking notes and
truely appreciate all the comments and suggstions to date
even though I am not the originator of this thread.

============================

From: Ivan Weiss <ivan[at]blaze.accessone.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 19:04:37 -0800
--------
Pete wrote:
> Eventually, I'll figure it (perfect Hash Browns) out and 
> post my results here. In the mean time I am taking notes and
> truely appreciate all the comments and suggstions to date
> even though I am not the originator of this thread.

This thread intrigues me. There are a lot of variables to making "perfect"
hash browns (as if they will ever turn out exactly the same every time).

There is the raw-potato-cooked-potato debate. Either way works. If the
potatoes are cooked they must be grated while cold. Shorten your cooking
time accordingly.

There is the lots-of-oil-little-bit-of-oil continuum. In my experience,
it's best to err on the side of more oil.

There is the high-heat-low-heat discussion. Higher than medium is the
floor, IMO.

Some people grate raw potatoes, then soak them in water. For the life of
me, I can't imagine why this would be necessary. But hey, whatever works.

Some people grate onion with the potatoes. I use 6-7 cloves of garlic per
pan, but I'm weird. A grated carrot with the potatoes is really good,
though.

Watch your hash browns like a hawk. Keep sliding your spatula under them.
Do not turn till the edges are browned all the way around. Turn once and
only once. That's my path to success. YMMV.

Keep trying till you get it. I have been cooking hash browns for 40 years,
and it took me years to get it right. Chances the method you develop will
be unlike anyone else's. Enjoy. I take my hash browns seriously, and
they're worth all the effort IMO.

============================

From: alzelt[at]aol.com (alan)
Date: 11 Nov 1998 04:34:44 GMT
--------
Ivan Weiss writes:
> I have been cooking hash browns for 40 years,
>and it took me years to get it right. 

well, Ivan, i guess the variables in hash browns are about as numerous as in
peeling boiled eggs.

============================

From: Ivan Weiss <ivan[at]blaze.accessone.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 19:14:10 -0800
--------
ALZELT wrote:
> well, Ivan, i guess the variables in hash browns are about as numerous as in
> peeling boiled eggs.

At least, 'bro.

============================

From: Pete <pfederic[at]erols.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 10:33:19 -0500
--------
Ivan Weiss wrote:

> There is the lots-of-oil-little-bit-of-oil continuum. In my experience,
> it's best to err on the side of more oil.

The more I read in this thread, the more this seems true.

> Some people grate raw potatoes, then soak them in water. For the life of
> me, I can't imagine why this would be necessary. But hey, whatever works.

I experimented with copycat recipe for McDonalds French Fries and
pre-soaking in water/salt/sugar mixture for about 20 minutes is
part of the secret. Salt &amp; Sugar I can understand but what the
water only does I am not sure. Joy of cooking book also suggests
a pre-soak in water for french fries but offers no explanation.

> Keep trying till you get it. I have been cooking hash browns for 40 years,
> and it took me years to get it right.

I'm cooking for myself about 12 years now and the most difficult
and challanging items to date have been Eggs-SunnySideOverEasy
made perfect every time, Pizza from scratch with that pizzaria
quality crust, HashBrowns cooked to the center but not soggy,
Mcdonalds Copycat Fries.

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From: doggie[at]uswest.net (steve knight)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 18:31:36 GMT
--------
Pete wrote:
>pre-soaking in water/salt/sugar mixture for about 20 minutes is
>part of the secret. Salt &amp; Sugar I can understand but what the
>water only does I am not sure. Joy of cooking book also suggests
>a pre-soak in water for french fries but offers no explanation.

It removes the starch

============================

From: Ivan Weiss <ivan[at]blaze.accessone.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 18:29:58 -0800
--------
SRitter wrote:
> Unfortunately, I have these damn Electric burners. I'm stuck with it for
> now. Praying for Gas! 

I make perfect hash browns every time on an electric range (!%^&_(* gas
company won't put a line down my road). Made some today, in fact. And I
use my largest burner, which has settings 1 (lo) through 6 (hi). I use 4
or 5 for hash browns. Of course, I use a cast iron skillet which is
well-seasoned.  The pan is a variable, too. 

============================

From: oran[at]netcom.com (Steve Ritter)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 03:22:47 GMT
--------
  I also use a cast iron skillet which is well seasoned. (Took me a while
to follow the seasoning technique to the letter - as in, no soap, and keep
the stuff building up on it:)

  With the Electric burner, I still end up with soggy stuff. I'm too
apprehensive to add enough oil. I know in restaurants they wouldn't give a
rodent's posterior about your health, they just want to make it Golden
Brown. So you like it. It's almost like splurging as oppose to eating:)

  I want the crust.. I'm not getting enough of it so far. It's a difficult
decision. I think I will keep searching for a better technique, rather than
make my potatoes swim in oil.

============================

From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 14:26:51 GMT
--------
SRitter wrote:
>  With the Electric burner, I still end up with soggy stuff. I'm too
>apprehensive to add enough oil. 

This must be your problem.  Good hash browns require substantial oil.
Some foods were not intended to be health food.  If you want a healthy
potato dish, look for something other than hash browns.  

============================

From: Ivan Weiss <ivan[at]blaze.accessone.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 20:23:45 -0800
--------
Kay Hartman wrote:
> This must be your problem.  Good hash browns require substantial oil.
> Some foods were not intended to be health food.  If you want a healthy
> potato dish, look for something other than hash browns.  

W-h-a-a?!? Olive oil isn't healthy? };+>~

============================

From: Pete <pfederic[at]erols.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 10:16:27 -0500
--------
SRitter wrote:
>   I want the crust.. I'm not getting enough of it so far. It's a difficult
> decision. I think I will keep searching for a better technique, rather than
> make my potatoes swim in oil.

SRitter, interesting point about the oil. As I understand, properly
deepfrying french fried potatoes results in much less fat cooked
into the food as many may think. Reason being that it cooks quickly
and does not absorb much fat.

Although Hash Browns are not being deep-fried in the exact same
way as french fries, having more oil in the pan may allow the
potatoes to cook more quickly which would result in less fat
content then if not enough oil was used. In other words, using
too little oil may result in longcooking times, underdone at
the center, and saturated with fat potatoes. I think this
is also my problem (using too little oil).

To test my theory here, I bet you/we could try both methods
(Less oil/More oil) and then judge by texture, taste, and
weight of the finished product.   

============================

From: doggie[at]uswest.net (steve knight)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 18:33:15 GMT
--------
For fried spuds I mix the spuds in a bowl with just a little oil and
seasonings. then every piece is coated but not too heavily.

============================

From: evergene[at]sirius.com (Evergene)
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 07:04:08 GMT
--------
Kay Hartman wrote:

    [good hash brown directions snipped]

I do a variation on the Hartman Technique. I begin by putting some
very thinly sliced onions in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil,
to saute until brown. I remove the onions and set them aside, and add
some oil (corn oil, usually) to the skillet (don't wash or wipe the
skillet; the remaining onion-flavored olive oil is Good Stuff). It's
less than 1/4 inch deep--enough to generously coat the skillet. I get
the best results if the grated raw potatoes are dry when they hit the
hot oil, so after I squeeze them, I spread them between paper towels
or a cloth and press them dry. When the oil is almost but not quite
smoking the potatoes go in the pan. Kay's idea of adding the spices in
the middle of the spuds is a good one. I don't add salt until after
they're cooked. Let them cook undisturbed until they're brown on the
bottom side, then turn them and let the other side brown. (You could
add 1/2 of the sauteed onions just before you turn the spuds.) When
they're almost cooked, add the remainder of the sauteed onions. Finish
cooking, then drain on a paper towel, salt and eat.

Key points: oil should very hot; potatoes should be dry before hitting
the oil.

============================

From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 14:05:07 GMT
--------
Evergene wrote:
> Kay's idea of adding the spices in the middle of the spuds is a good one. 

I wish I could claim credit.  It was Jack's idea.

============================

From: shadesmountain[at]webtv.net
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 19:49:44 -0600 (CST)
--------
I keep boiled potatos in the fridge (skin on).  Use barely any oil in
cast iron skillet. Peel potato, grate into hot skillet, spread out a
little and don't turn until brown  Quick and easy.  jennifer

============================

From: Robert Frankfurt <amf551[at]pacbell.net>
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 19:15:07 -0800
--------
shadesmountain wrote:
> I keep boiled potatos in the fridge (skin on).  Use barely any oil in
> cast iron skillet. Peel potato, grate into hot skillet, spread out a
> little and don't turn until brown  Quick and easy.  jennifer

Add onions?

============================

From: jfh[at]acm.org (Jack Hamilton)
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 16:39:40 GMT
--------
Robert Frankfurt wrote:
>Add onions?

Why ruin the taste of perfectly good potatoes?  

============================

From: "C.L. Gifford" <saiga[at]concentric.net>
Date: 09 Nov 1998 01:02:51 PST
--------
Kay Hartman wrote:
> 6.  When the potatoes are golden brown on the bottom, turn them over.

I am trying to get a picture of this in my mind. How do you turn
the potatoes over? As one piece? In sections? Or?

Charlie (Liam)

============================

From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 14:14:58 GMT
--------
C.L. Gifford wrote:
>I am trying to get a picture of this in my mind. How do you turn
>the potatoes over? As one piece? In sections? Or?

We turn the whole thing over in one piece.  Jack is better at it than
I am.  Jack tilts the pan into the turn.  It minimizes grease splash.
I'm not coordinated enough to handle that maneuver.

============================

From: borg[at]dons.usfca.edu (Chris Borg)
Date: 10 Nov 1998 10:20:11 GMT
--------
I read the topic as "Perfect Hash Brownies"

============================

From: alzelt[at]aol.com (alan)
Date: 10 Nov 1998 17:24:02 GMT
--------
Chris Borg writes:
>I read the topic as "Perfect Hash Brownies"

now that is something worth biting into.

============================

From: harryd[at]telusplanet.net (Harry A. Demidavicius)
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 04:53:16 GMT
--------
>now that is something worth biting into.

Alan, I now have the item to bring to my next cook-in ...

============================

From: rdyoung[at]wcc.net (Bob Y.)
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 17:48:32 GMT
--------
Chris Borg wrote:
>I read the topic as "Perfect Hash Brownies"

And did you think they were made with the evil weed, or diced pre-Girl Scouts?

============================

From: Karen O'Mara <karen[at]randomgraphics.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 09:38:27 -0800
--------
Pat the shredded potatoes with a paper towel before adding to the pan.
Cook on lo-med  heat and don't turn them over before their browned on
one side, no matter how much you want to!

Cover, to steam the middle part, seems to help, too.

It's a tricky one, I think.

============================

From: Al Hemmalin <dogstar[at]pop.edgenet.net>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 12:12:48 -0500
--------
Has anyone mentioned the best kind of potato to use for hash browns,
either grated or diced?

============================

From: Ivan Weiss <ivan[at]blaze.accessone.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 22:19:07 -0800
--------
Al Hemmalin wrote:
> Has anyone mentioned the best kind of potato to use for hash browns,
> either grated or diced?

IMO they're not hash browns unless they're grated. If they're diced or
sliced, they're home fries. I made some of those babies today. mm-mm. 
YMMV.

============================

From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 14:22:01 GMT
--------
Al Hemmalin wrote:
>Has anyone mentioned the best kind of potato to use for hash browns,
>either grated or diced?

I use russets.

============================
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
Subject: How about home fries? Re: Perfect Hash browns?
============================

From: idlewild[at]webspan.net (June Oshiro)
Date: 7 Nov 1998 17:37:07 GMT
--------
i make home fries - which are akin to hash browns but just aren't
the same.  i prefer home fries.  shredded potatoes are for
latkes.

but i digress.  this is a super-fat dish.  i haven't made it in
years.  but i still think about it occasionally.


Home Fries

Recipe By:	Idlewild

4	    big		potatoes	cooked
4	    cloves	garlic		
1	    large	yellow onion	
1/2			red pepper	
	oodles		bacon grease	
			salt and pepper	
		     paprika	

This is a high calorie dish.  You are warned.  

The day before you plan to have home fries, cook the potatoes.  
Bake them, boil them, however you please - and let them sit in the 
refrigerator overnight.  This somehow seems to make it better.  
I'm not sure why.  Anyway, the general rule of thumb is one potato, 
one garlic clove, and one quarter of an onion per person.  I don't 
personally care for the peppers, but it adds a nice touch of color.  

Chop the potatoes into chunks or dice.  In a well seasoned cast 
iron pan, melt a dollop of bacon grease.  Toss in the potatoes 
but don't stir them too frequently - you want to let them develop 
that golden crusty outside, and that won't happen if they move a lot.  

Mince the garlic, cut up the onion, and chop the pepper.  In a 
separate pan, heat some more bacon grease, and cook the garlic, 
onions, and pepper until they are more or less done.  Others 
argue that it is best to cook them together, but I find that when 
the potatoes are done to my liking, the garlic and onion tend 
to be burnt.  When the potatoes are ready, add the garlic and 
onions, mixing well.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add a 
little paprika until you get a nice color.  

A word about bacon grease:  Many years ago, someone on 
rec.food.cooking actually did tests on home fries using vegetable oil, 
crisco, and bacon grease.  He concluded that for the crunch and 
the flavor, nothing beat bacon grease.  However, if your arteries 
can't handle it (or you keep kosher, whatever), you can use another oil.  
============================

From: billspa[at]ix.netcom.com (Bill Spalding)
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:44:53 GMT
--------
>The day before you plan to have home fries, cook the potatoes.  
>Bake them, boil them, however you please - 

This is the way my mother and her mother's mother did it.  PLENTY of
bacon grease.

I, however, cut the raw potatoes.coat lightly with olive oil  and
Microwave on hi speed for 5 min.

Put in freezer for 10 min.  Instant cold potatoes.  I have found that
cooling them doesn't appreciably detract from their taste.


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