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Subject: Lumpy Mashed Potatoes?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: XQDA24A[at]prodigy.com (Miss Elizabeth Lightfoot)
Date: 18 Mar 1997 20:17:15 GMT
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I realize this is probably a basic question, but hey one has to start 
cooking somewhere.  Whenever I make mashed potatoes, they still have 
little lumps in them.  How does one prevent these or get them out so 
the potatoes are smooth?  Many thanks for any help.

Liz

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From: The Wheats 
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 21:25:26 -0500
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I have been cooking for my family for more than 15 years and I just
learned the answer to your question. Cook the potaotes until tender.
Mash them with your mixer THEN add your butter, milk, ect..
I hope this works for you!

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From: Susan.Brooks[at]AtlantaGA.NCR.COM (Susan Brooks)
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 18:17:52 GMT
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If my mashed potatoes didn't have lumps included, my family wouldn't eat them. 
The lumps also help disguise the mashed turnips I sometimes include...:-)

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From: harryd[at]telusplanet.net (Harry Demidavicius)
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 05:13:41 GMT
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Mash Harder; Add more milk; add more butter; in that order

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From: chuck[at]cei.net (chuck groetzinger)
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 18:16:04 GMT
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An electric mixer will get out the little lumps, though I actually
prefer the little lumps. Probably comes from the days when my mother
passed off boxed potatoes to us, and the only way of visually telling
was by looking for the lumps.

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From: lea[at]sirius.com (Lea)
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 20:52:55 GMT
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 I actually disaggree with the posters.  The reason your potatoes are
lumpy is because they probably are not cooked long enough.

 The secret to great mashed potatoes is picking the right potato.
Sometimes it's a matter of season, as any potato can lack sufficient
starch, so that it falls apart if cooked enough. This is the reason
why people undercook the potatoes, but with good ones you can get them
a lot more done before mashing!


 Try THIS:

 Get Yukons or even  better  yellow fins if you can find them.  Both
work better than russets.  red potatoes can be ok too.  DO NOT cut up.
Peel and boil whole.  If you cut them up you loose starch into the
water and you can't get them well done.

 Boil until soft, completely but not falling apart.  If the potato
falls apart but still isn't really soft, or if it kind of
disintegrates you have just got potatoes that are too young or too low
in startch and there isn't much you can do, but try again with
different potatoes.

 I use half and half and a generous amount of butter, (and salt and
pepper , of course), and a simple hand held potato masher with some
muscle, and NO LUMPS.(or if their are , they are so well done they
melt in your mouth!

 People undercook their tates or cut them up in small pieces, and that
is not right!  Be Patient and allow time!!!

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From: Lyndon Watson  (Lyndon Watson)
Date: 24 Mar 97 09:21:10 +1200
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Lea writes:

> The reason your potatoes are
> lumpy is because they probably are not cooked long enough.

Yes, that's what I would put it down to, too.  Fully cooked potatoes
prctically fall apart under the masher; but those hard centres of
undercooked potatoes are just about impossible to mash down completely.

>  The secret to great mashed potatoes is picking the right potato.
> Sometimes it's a matter of season, as any potato can lack sufficient
> starch, so that it falls apart if cooked enough. This is the reason
> why people undercook the potatoes, but with good ones you can get them
> a lot more done before mashing!

If you're having trouble cooking potatoes fully without turning them to
mush, you could also try steaming rather than boiling.  Since the
potatoes are not actually in the water, you can help the cooking along
by dicing them first.  This method works well in a pressure cooker.

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From: The Fantastic Mr Aristotle 
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 18:05:53 -0800
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Lyndon Watson wrote:
>Lea writes:
> > The reason your potatoes are
> > lumpy is because they probably are not cooked long enough.

I *must* disagree.

> Fully cooked potatoes
> practically fall apart under the masher

How long are you cooking them for? If they're falling apart that easily 
they must be *well* overcooked. The trouble is once they have been cooked 
this long they become very sticky. Ideally you want them to remain quite 
dry after cooking.

>  The secret to great mashed potatoes is picking the right potato.

Absolutely. Pick a floury potato (such as desiree) rather than a waxy 
type. It shouldn't matter about the season -- as potatoes are grown all 
year round there should always be a suitable variety in season.

The other important factor is the method of mashing: after the initial 
breaking down of the cooked potatoes, beat them using a wooden spoon. 
Alternatively, push them through a sieve or use a mouli (vegetable mill).
You could use a food processor, but be careful because it is easy to 
break them down too much, giving the same sticky mess as if you had 
overcooked them.

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From: Ross Lipman 
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 13:43:49 -0500
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I dice potatoes with skins left on.  I cook the potatoes in boiling
water until soft.  Then I put into food processor with whatever else
(olive oil, fat free sour cream, garlic and rosemary usually) and
process until desired consistancy.

The results are always fantastic and never lumpy.  The first time I
prepared with this method, my wife and I ate out of the processor bowl
while the rest of dinner was cooking.....

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From: Richard Mckee 
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 14:36:05 -0800
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The wet ingredients you add to the potatoes should be warmed first, such
as butter, milk, etc. Cold ingredients can and will cause lumpiness

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From: Lyndon Watson 
Date: 27 Mar 97 08:28:44 +1200
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The Fantastic Mr Aristotle writes:
> How long are you cooking them for? If they're falling apart that easily 
> they must be *well* overcooked. The trouble is once they have been cooked 
> this long they become very sticky.

They are not overcooked and not sticky.  Properly cooked potatoes of the
right variety mash easily with an ordinary masher.  They can easily be
tested for doneness by pushing a table knife into them as they cook - it
will slide easily through a potato that is ready for mashing, while the
hard centre of one that will make lumpy mash can easily be felt.

There's hardly any more to it.  A properly cooked potato will make
smooth, non-sticky, non-lumpy mashed potato without needing to be beaten
with a wooden spoon, or sieved, or dismembered in a food processor.  The
level of difficulty is about on a par with that of toasting a piece of
bread.

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From: vera[at]Eng.Sun.COM (Vera Lewis)
Date: 27 Mar 1997 01:43:22 GMT
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Try an electric hand mixer and add a little milk. Personally though I
like the lumps the tell me it's real potato not boxed dehydrated stuff.

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From: Madeline 
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 18:45:46 -0800
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Vera Lewis wrote:

>               Personally though I
> like the lumps the tell me it's real potato not boxed dehydrated stuff.

I like lumpy mashed potatoes too.  That's how my father used to make
them.  It reminds me of him.  I miss him now.

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From: jeanbhall[at]aol.com (JeanBHall)
Date: 8 Apr 1997 06:47:04 GMT
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Put potates through a Foley Food Mill (also called a ricer) before adding
milk, butter, etc.  Then, once you have added  other ingredients, you will
have NO lumps whatsoever.  

I have a GREAT recipe for mashed potatoes made with whipped cream cheese
and chives.  And best of all, it can be made a day ahead of time and then
simply heated in the oven.  Anyone who's interested, e-mail me at:

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From: nancy-dooley[at]uiowa.edu (Nancy Dooley)
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 16:52:39 GMT
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Here's one (but it works best when it's NOT made a day ahead):

Prepare mashed potatoes for 6 people, only leave out about 1/4 C. of
milk or whatever liquid you would ordinarily use, and leave out any
butter in the preparation of the mashed potatoes.

Grease a souffle dish.

To the mashed potatoes, add one well-beaten large or bigger egg, and
one regular (small) container of whipped cream cheese with onion and 
chives.  Mix thoroughly; dot the top with 2 T. of butter, sprinkle
with paprika and bake at 350 deg. F. for about 30 minutes, or until
puffy and slightly brown on top.

Serve immediately.

These are really good left over, but don't maintain their souffle
puffiness very well.  

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Subject: Re: Lumpy Mashed Potatoes
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From: Veda Bushart 
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 15:00:17 -1000
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Cook until yhey fallapart

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From: Mary f 
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 21:25:27 -0800
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get a ricer (a potato ricer).  A heavy thing which looks like a
huge cylinder and has a flat head that fits into the cylinder (kinda
like a large garlic press).  No lumps, nice fluffy potatoes :-).  
the Kitchen Aid or Cuisnart can make them gluey if you aren't careful.
good luck. :-)

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From: Heidi Awes 
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 07:37:32 -0800
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It may seem unusual, but I like lumpy mashed potatoes.  

I boil the potatoes in their jackets,(about 35-40 minutes) so they
retain their nutrients, peel them and mash them by hand. I Add a little
minced onion, butter or sour cream,  milk, salt and pepper, and eat them
plain without gravy.

I never have liked mushy food or food that is drowning in sauce.  It
leaves me with the impression that the initial quality of the food was
so poor that it had to be creamed, or that the flavor was so bad it had
to be covered up with sauce.  

It should be noted, however, that my husband does not share my view; I
do serve gravy on the side at his request.     

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From: tweedledum[at]webtv.net
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 18:37:39 -0700
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what's wrong with a few lumps? they're just like the ones grandma used
to make.

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From: stan[at]thunder.temple.edu (Stan Horwitz)
Date: 1 Apr 1997 20:08:16 GMT
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Lumpy mashed potatoes were something my grandma never made. If you prefer
some lumps in your mashed spuds, that's certainly fine with me, but I
prefer my mashed potatoes 100% lump-free. I like the mashed potatoes to be
smooth and somewhat thick in consistency, but not like paste, with a
slight butter flavor, and nice and hot. 

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From: Jean Middleton 
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 23:19:17 +0100
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Stan Horwitz writes
> I like the mashed potatoes to be
>smooth and somewhat thick in consistency, but not like paste, with a
>slight butter flavor, and nice and hot. 

That's how my grandma made them, and my mum, and I do it that way too.


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