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Subject: mashed potatoes in a food mill?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: tqq 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 00:56:13 GMT
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my local PBS affiliate aired an America's Test Kitchen episode last 
weekend which covered mashed potatoes.  i was surprised to see them do 
it in a food mill rather than a mixer.  i don't think they mentioned 
mixers at all.  is there much (or any) difference between using a food 
mill and a mixer for mashed potatoes?

the potato skins were removed, by the way.

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From: stan[at]temple.edu
Date: 25 Jan 2002 01:04:45 GMT
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tqq wrote:
>   is there much (or any) difference between using a food 
> mill and a mixer for mashed potatoes?

This topic comes up fairly often here. The concensus is that using a food
mill to mash potatoes avoids breaking the starch molecules in the
potatoes, while still giving them that fluffy consistency that mixing them
in a food processor or electric mixer yields. Its a bit more work to use a
food mill, but I can attest from personal experience that the results are
well worth the effort. Another way to mash potatoes that works very well
is to put them through a ricer. Any decent cookwares store will have one
or two different food mills and ricers available for a reasonable price. 

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From: Pat Meadows 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 19:40:59 GMT
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stan@temple wrote:
> The concensus is that using a food
>mill to mash potatoes avoids breaking the starch molecules in the
>potatoes, while still giving them that fluffy consistency that mixing them
>in a food processor or electric mixer yields.

We use a potato masher:  a hand-held thingie.  Do you know
where that fits in on the continuum?  

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From: Peter Aitken 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 01:06:52 GMT
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tqq wrote:
>   is there much (or any) difference between using a food 
> mill and a mixer for mashed potatoes?

In my experience a food mill is much superior. It gets all the lumps out
while not over-beating the potatoes which can make them gummy. A food mill
has other uses too, such as making tomato puree, and I consider it an
important kitchen tool.

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From: Vox Humana 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 01:17:28 GMT
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tqq wrote:
>   is there much (or any) difference between using a food 
> mill and a mixer for mashed potatoes?

Potatoes contain a lot of starch that gets pasty when it is over
manipulated.  I think it has something to do with starch retrogradation, but
what ever the cause, it is better avoided.   The food processor is the best
example of how to turn potatoes into glue.  Mixers come in second.  While
have used a mixer many times, the result is not as good as it could be.  The
traditional potato masher is ok except it leaves lumps.  By far, the best
way to "mash" potatoes is with a ricer or a food mill.  I like the food mill
better because it will quickly process large batches of food and it has
multiple uses. You have to keep reloading the ricer and unless you have some
super fancy model it only has one size opening through which to extrude the
food.  I finally broke down and got a food mill last year and I have never
had better potatoes.  I use it for soup, puréed vegetables, and applesauce.
I got the Martha Stewart food mill at K-Mart for $14.00  It was a good
investment and far less expensive than the identical model sold under other
names.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 25 Jan 2002 02:00:40 GMT
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tqq wrote:
>   is there much (or any) difference between using a food 
> mill and a mixer for mashed potatoes?

A mixer produces whipped potatoes, a food mill produces something akin to a
combination of whipped and riced potatoes... neither method results in mashed
potatoes... to mash means to crush each potato once and no more... not to force
it through anything or to continue mixing onced crushed.  If there are no lumps
it's not mashed potatoes.

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From: ABC 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 18:15:26 +0000 (UTC)
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What on earth is wrong with a potato masher for coarsely mashed potatoes or
using a wooden spoon to cream them!  That takes all the guesswork out of the
mashing potatoes since you can 'feel' the texture of the potato.  It seems
to me that people never do things the simple way these days but always look
to using a machine, apart from the simplicity of it look at the washing up
you save yourself.

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From: Miche 
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002 08:16:57 +1300
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ABC wrote:

> What on earth is wrong with a potato masher for coarsely mashed potatoes or
> using a wooden spoon to cream them!

The fact that I can never make them lump-free enough for my preferences 
that way.

>  That takes all the guesswork out of the
> mashing potatoes since you can 'feel' the texture of the potato.

When it "feels" lump-free to me, it actually isn't.

>  It seems
> to me that people never do things the simple way these days but always look
> to using a machine, apart from the simplicity of it look at the washing up
> you save yourself.

Nope, I tried it the simple way and it doesn't work for me.  Sometimes a 
machine is the appropriate tool.

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From: Vox Humana 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 20:02:02 GMT
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ABC wrote:
> What on earth is wrong with a potato masher for coarsely mashed potatoes or
> using a wooden spoon to cream them!  That takes all the guesswork out of the
> mashing potatoes since you can 'feel' the texture of the potato.  It seems
> to me that people never do things the simple way these days but always look
> to using a machine, apart from the simplicity of it look at the washing up
> you save yourself.

You make it sound as if a food mill is some nuclear powered hi-tech device.
Your grandmother probably had one.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 25 Jan 2002 21:02:36 GMT
--------
ABC writes:
>What on earth is wrong with a potato masher for coarsely mashed potatoes or
>using a wooden spoon to cream them!  That takes all the guesswork out of the
>mashing potatoes since you can 'feel' the texture of the potato.  It seems
>to me that people never do things the simple way these days but always look
>to using a machine, apart from the simplicity of it look at the washing up
>you save yourself.

If only you could read.. oh, well, ABC... you have 23 more letters to learn.

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From: Miche 
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 21:35:01 +1300
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tqq wrote:
> the potato skins were removed, by the way.

A mill will remove them for you.  

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From: jamie 
Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 06:14:27 GMT
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Go with a potato ricer .. it is heaven incarnate (and fun as hell to make
mashed buddadas with)!!
(looks like a giant garlic press)

Parfait!!

James

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From: hahabogus 
Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 12:05:51 GMT
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With a mixer you can run into the problem of over mixing and that can make 
for a snot like end product. The releasing of the starch when using power 
tools with cooked potatoes is a possible outcome. This released starch 
makes the spud sticky and gum like. A food mill or a potato rice will give 
you nice mashed spuds. The use of a mixer on low for a short period will 
give you nice whipped spuds.

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From: Peter Aitken 
Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 13:57:29 GMT
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jamie wrote:
> Go with a potato ricer .. it is heaven incarnate (and fun as hell to make
> mashed buddadas with)!!

A food mill does exactly the same thing as a ricer but is more flexible and
can be used for other tasks such as making tomato sauce.

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From: limey 
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 11:01:38 -0500
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Peter Aitken wrote:
> A food mill does exactly the same thing as a ricer but is more flexible and
> can be used for other tasks such as making tomato sauce.

Peter - I followed your advice some months back and bought a Mouli
food mill (instead of a ricer).  It makes great apple sauce (and I
don't need to peel or core!).  I haven't tried tomatoes yet - I'm
waiting until the summer, when tomatoes are really tomatoes - and if
the squirrels don't get there first  :-(

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 04 Feb 2002 16:03:16 GMT
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Peter Aitken writes:
>A food mill does exactly the same thing as a ricer but is more flexible and
>can be used for other tasks such as making tomato sauce.

But neither produces mashed potatoes.  Pushing potatoes through small
perforations takes mashing a step further, producing extruded potatoes, two
entirely different textures.

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From: rmi1013934[at]aol.com (Rosie Miller)
Date: 04 Feb 2002 23:11:39 GMT
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Peter Aitken writes:
>A food mill does exactly the same thing as a ricer but is more flexible and
>can be used for other tasks such as making tomato sauce.

My  experience with the food mill was the potatoes came out gummy,not unlike
the food processor results.  My first choice is the ricer, second , the Kitchen
Aid. 

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From: david wright 
Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 23:35:17 GMT
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Rosie Miller wrote:
>My  experience with the food mill was the potatoes came out gummy,not unlike
>the food processor results.  My first choice is the ricer, second , the Kitchen
>Aid. 

Are you sure you have a food mill in mind? A hand-crank mill that you
put over a bowl? I can't distinguish between the results of putting
potatoes through my food mill and what I used to get using a ricer.

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From: Peter Aitken 
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 17:28:07 GMT
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Rosie Miller wrote:
> My  experience with the food mill was the potatoes came out gummy,not unlike
> the food processor results.  My first choice is the ricer, second , the Kitchen
> Aid.

Are you sure you're not doing something odd? A food mill does exactly the
same thing as a ricer - forces the potatoes through small holes - so it's
hard to imagine the results being any different.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 05 Feb 2002 22:17:31 GMT
--------
Peter Aitken writes:
>Are you sure you're not doing something odd? A food mill does exactly the
>same thing as a ricer - forces the potatoes through small holes - so it's
>hard to imagine the results being any different.

Ricers mash and extrude, whereas food mills mix, masticate and extrude...
neither produces mashed potatoes but a ricer comes much closer.  It's called a
mill for a reason.. to mill, to grind, to chew.


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