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Subject: Why Not Use Electric Mixer for Mashed Potatoes??
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: wo2639[at]silcom.com
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 21:15:41 -0800
--------
I make great mashed potatoes, just the way my mother used to make them,
cooked in water until soft, with a clove of two of garlic. I drain the
water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. Why does every
recipe for mashed potatoes insist that they be mashed using a "ricer" or
old-fashioned potato masher. That, to me, leaves lumps. Someone enlighten
me, please?

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From: Don Wiss
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 13:30:27 GMT
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>recipe for mashed potatoes insist that they be mashed using a "ricer" or
>old-fashioned potato masher. That, to me, leaves lumps. Someone enlighten
>me, please?

What's wrong with lumps? Or is your goal to get them as close to the
powdered kind as possible?

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From: marcia[at]birch.med.umn.edu (Marcia Brott (Medicine))
Date: 7 Mar 1997 17:05:49 GMT
--------
I have always used the electric mixer for mashed potatoes because that's
what my mother always did.  Why do you think they would they turn out like
instant?  They are still real potatoes prepared exactly the same way, just
a little fluffier.  Besides, I always have lumps anyway and I don't mind
that, and I always end up making a tremendous mess when I try to mash
by hand.  

To be fair, though, I remember my husband explaining to his family that
when I talked about "mashed" potatoes I really meant "whipped" potatoes.
Where I grew up nobody made that distinction and the only place I had ever
heard the term "whipped potatoes" was on the school lunch menu.

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

From: djours[at]mindspring.com (David Ours)
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 20:46:50 GMT
--------
The best reason I can come up with for not using your hand mixer for
making mashed potatoes is that it will burn up the motor in your hand
mixer unless you make really soupy mashed potatoes.

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From: steven l. sesar 
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 03:05:30 GMT
--------
First, the reason that your potatoes are starchy or gooey, is that they
are overcooked & essentially, waterlogged. Secondly, I have have been
making mashed potatoes in a mixer for the past 20 years, with excellent
results. So, don't overcook your spuds, folks & happy mashing!

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

From: marcia[at]birch.med.umn.edu (Marcia Brott (Medicine))
Date: 12 Mar 1997 16:54:07 GMT
--------
I guess I must be really lucky or something, because I never thought
mashed potatoes were this touchy of a dish.  I have always used whatever
kind of potatoes I had around, don't really pay attention to whether or
not they overcook, and use the electric mixer all the time and my mashed
(whipped) potatoes always turn out nice and fluffy with just a few lumps
to make them interesting (except when I accidentally slosh too much milk
into the bowl, oops!). No starch, no goo, no water.  Although a friend
once told me that her husband visited a potato chip factory and brought
home some potatoes.  When she tried to mash them, they were like mashing
wax!  I guess those must be pretty specialized for chip-making.

ObPotatoHint:  Slice an onion and saute it in butter _very_ slowly while
the potatoes are cooking until it turns very dark brown and crispy.  Add
it to the potatoes (butter and all) and mash it all in.  Mmmm!  Works with
shallots, too.

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

From: Kate Connally 
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 10:30:16 -0800
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Don Wiss wrote:
> What's wrong with lumps? Or is your goal to get them as close to the
> powdered kind as possible?

That's a totally unwarranted assumption.  What's
wrong with *no* lumps, anyway?  Certainly many
of us find it more aesthetically pleasing to eat
mashed potatoes with no lumps.  Just because in
pre-mixer days when people had to mash by hand
and were probably too tired (due to lack of labor-
saving devices) to get all the lumps out doesn't
mean that's the way they're supposed to be.  I bet
rich people with cooks didn't get lumps.  Anyway,
if you like lumps, then eat 'em that way but don't
go around disparaging those who don't like lumps!

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

From: sue[at]interport.net (Curly Sue)
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 15:59:36 GMT
--------
wo2639@silcom wrote:
>recipe for mashed potatoes insist that they be mashed using a "ricer" or
>old-fashioned potato masher. That, to me, leaves lumps. Someone enlighten
>me, please?

People who write recipes insisting on ricers want *no* lumps (and the
authors probably like to see their faces in their waxed kitchen floors
:>); those who insist on a masher usually like the lumps.  (I think
it's analogous to the "pulp" vs. "no pulp" argument for orange juice.)

And the other reason might be that people who use hand mixers (like
you and me) don't write recipe books.

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From: Tosser 
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 08:50:54 -0800
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The only problem I've had using power tools to make mashed spuds is when
I beat/whip them too long they can get gooey.  Remember, when you know
more than the "experts" it should tell you something about them (and
you).  

Congratuations on your promotion to "expert".  :)

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

From: nancy-dooley[at]uiowa.edu (Nancy Dooley)
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 17:03:10 GMT
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wo2639@silcom wrote:
>water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
>thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. 

I understand that it breaks down the starches and turns them into a
big, gluey mass.  Of course, if you stop before that point, they
should be fine.

I like genuine mashed potatoes - with my hand masher, there are no
lumps; add a little hot milk and butter  and they are creamy, smooth,
and hot.

I find that using the ricer tends to let them cool too much before
serving.

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

From: Brawny[at]knox.mindspring.com (Brawny)
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 01:34:25 GMT
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Nancy Dooley wrote:
>I like genuine mashed potatoes - with my hand masher, there are no
>lumps; add a little hot milk and butter  and they are creamy, smooth,
>and hot.

And I like "mashed potatoes" with chunks of potato still left intact.    

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

From: Mona 
Date: 9 Mar 1997 11:01:20 GMT
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>water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
>thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. 

I dont know, but I always use my mixer, as mom taught me, and love them that way, nice and creamy!  mmm

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

From: stan[at]thunder.temple.edu (Stan Horwitz)
Date: 10 Mar 1997 16:41:47 GMT
--------
Nancy Dooley wrote:
: I find that using the ricer tends to let them cool too much before
: serving.

I found an easy way to avoid the cooling problem. I just rice the pototes 
right back into the same pot that I used to boil them. Of course, I empty 
the water from the pot first. Rice a few potatoes, put in some butter and 
a bit of milk then continue this process until the potatoes are all 
riced. I then turn on the heat and gently mix the potatoes with a slotted 
spoon. The result is unformly mashed potatoes with a consistency that is 
between the lumpy type that some people enjoy and the almost liquid type 
that other people like and the potatoes are piping hot!

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

From: Kate Connally 
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 10:24:45 -0800
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wo2639@silcom wrote:
> water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
> thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. 

Because it's just one of those old wives tales that
*JUST AREN'T TRUE*.  Keep doing what you've been doing.
Why would you even think of changing if you're satisfied
with the results you've been getting?  Ignore the "so-called"
experts when your good sense tells you other-wise.  Trust
your own common sense.

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

From: Joel.Ehrlich[at]salata.com (Joel Ehrlich)
Date: 08 Mar 97 20:46:10 GMT
--------
Kate Connally wrote:
> Because it's just one of those old wives tales that
> *JUST AREN'T TRUE*.  Keep doing what you've been doing.
> Why would you even think of changing if you're satisfied
> with the results you've been getting?  Ignore the "so-called"
> experts when your good sense tells you other-wise.  Trust
> your own common sense.

True - within limits.

Using a mixer to whip potatoes runs the risk of over-whipping them,
which will break down the starch granules and turning what were whipped
potatoes into a gluey porridge.

Using a mixer with discretion and paying attention to the condition of
the potatoes, obviously, precludes such a happening.

Lastly, a ricer does not and cannot produce lumpy potatoes. The potatoes
are reduced to thinly extruded, soft granules. A ricer produces mashed
potatoes equal to those produced with a properly used mixer. But it's
more trouble to use a ricer than a mixer.

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

From: pdavis[at]pipeline.com (Pamela Davis)
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 23:06:06 GMT
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Joel Ehrlich wrote:
>Lastly, a ricer does not and cannot produce lumpy potatoes. The potatoes
>are reduced to thinly extruded, soft granules. A ricer produces mashed
>potatoes equal to those produced with a properly used mixer. But it's
>more trouble to use a ricer than a mixer.

Agree completely.  For years everyone enjoyed my hand beater
potatoes, fluffy and just a hint of gloss.  Then I read here
about ricers, put out the word and got a ricer for
Christmas.  Same result.  So it's a toss up in my opinion to
be resolved by which is easier.  Getting out and assembling
the mixer is a pain.  Cleaning off and washing the ricer is
a bigger one.

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

From: sue[at]interport.net (Curly Sue)
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 18:05:14 UNDEFINED
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Elizabeth (Betsy) Wilson writes:
>This subject is treated (as always) in great detail in one of Harold 
>McGee's books (I think the second one - The Curious Cook).  He says that 
>electric mixers will break the starch granules and you will get 
>gluey/pasty potatoes instead of nice fluffy ones.

I've heard that (breaking of starch granules) about using blenders or food 
processors for "mashing" the potatoes, but not re: hand mixers.  Hand mixer 
blades aren't sharp enough nor fast enough to do much damage at the starch 
granule level.   Hand mixers are designed to make things fluffy (incorporate 
air), whereas blenders/food processors are designed to chop and pulverize.  
That's why you get fluffier whipped cream from a hand mixer than from a 
blender.   Anyway, never fear.  If he does say that about hand mixers, I can 
say with authority from my own experience he's wrong :>

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

From: Joel.Ehrlich[at]salata.com (Joel Ehrlich)
Date: 08 Mar 97 23:41:49 GMT
--------
Curly Sue wrote:
> I've heard that (breaking of starch granules) about using blenders or
> food  processors for "mashing" the potatoes, but not re: hand mixers.

Even a stand mixer is safe if used at a low speed and for longer than
required to mash, fluff and smooth the potatoes. It's high speeds and
long beating times which do the damage.

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From: damsel[at]usa.net (Damsel)
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 02:31:45 GMT
--------
I make them with an electric mixer all the time.  I have tendonitis and
arthritis, and it HURTS to mash them.  So, now we eat "Whipped Potatoes."  If
you add a little sour cream when mixing them, they're even yummier.

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

From: Edwin Pawlowski 
Date: 11 Mar 1997 03:40:18 GMT
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Damsel wrote:
> If
> you add a little sour cream when mixing them, they're even yummier.

Try cream cheese.  After mashing, put them in an oven proof dish and put
them in the oven at a high heat until the top gets browned.  My grandmother
made them that way for special dinners and we continue the tradition now
for our grandchildren. 

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

From: Brawny[at]remove.knox.mindspring.com (Brawny)
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 12:44:52 GMT
--------
I cook an onion with my potatoes.  Put in the good 'ole KA.  Add cream cheese,
two eggs, s & p to taste and mix it all together.   Then put it back in the oven
at 350F for 30 minutes and it makes an excellent potato souffle!    If I am
getting a real fancy feeling, I will pipe the top with the potato mixture in a
pastry bag.  

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From: foodie5113[at]aol.com (Foodie5113)
Date: 22 Mar 1997 11:30:51 GMT
--------
My mother also always used a handmixer, rather a lot of butter, and
whipping cream instead of milk.  My husband, who is the one who cooks
regularly at our house, thought hers were fabulous.  For years, he's done
them with the same ingredients, but with a different result--too whipped,
gluey.  

Last Thanksgiving, he was doing something else and I did the potatoes. 
Same ingredients--I probably used more butter, but I realized what was
wrong with his.  My mother turned her mixer to the lowest speed.  Husband
uses highest speed, and besides our mixer is probably more powerful. 
.This time I used lowest and didn't mix them to death.  .  Great potatoes
with some texture, even an occasional lump.  

Fabulous!

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

From: Molly 
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 03:51:50 GMT
--------
wo2639@silcom wrote:
>I make great mashed potatoes, just the way my mother used to make them,
>cooked in water until soft, with a clove of two of garlic. I drain the
>water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
>thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. Why does every
>recipe for mashed potatoes insist that they be mashed using a "ricer" or
>old-fashioned potato masher. That, to me, leaves lumps. Someone enlighten
>me, please?

That's the same way my mother taught me to do it too, and it's what I
prefer!  I've heard some people say that they don't feel like they're
"real" potatoes without the lumps, they suspect that they're instant
instead.  All I know is that a few months ago I was taken out to lunch
to a Marie Callender's restaurant, had a hot turkey sandwich with
stuffing, gravy and "homestyle mashed potatoes".... well, those things
had so many lumps (and these were BIG lumps, the size of marbles) that
I just ended up telling myself to pretend they were supposed to be
boiled potatoes....  talk about disappointed!

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From: Tom & Micki 
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 08:00:41 -0500
--------
I found that using a hand mixer does tend to make the potatoes grainy.
However, whipping the potatoes in my mothers kitchen aid mixer leaves
then light and fluffy.  Go figure.

Potatoes also become grainy if overboiled.  Take potatoes out when
a fork is inserted easily but doesn't quiet break the potato apart.
Potato should feel soft.  Also, watch the amount of milk added.
Milk should only act as a softener.  Don't cream them.

Micki, Boston

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

From: stan[at]thunder.temple.edu (Stan Horwitz)
Date: 8 Mar 1997 13:35:29 GMT
--------
wo2639@silcom wrote:
> water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
> thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. 

I don't see why this is a no-no if you use a low speed on the mixer. Its
using a food processor or a high speed mixer that causes a problem. The
reason is that it breaks apart the molecules in the potatoes with such
force and efficiency that it creates paste, literally. If you use a low
speed setting and are gentle, your potatoes should not turn to paste.

Frankly though. I don't bother with an electric mixer of any type when
I cook mashed potatoes. I just use a food ricer which is a cheap gadget
that you can get at any cookware store. You put each chunk of potato in
it, several at a time and squeeze the riced potatoes back into a pot.
Throw in some butter and milk and mix around gently over low heat and you
have heavenly mashed potatoes all the time. The food ricer is also very
easy to clean and you never have to worry about creating book paste. The 
ricer will not leave any lumps at all if you follow it up by briefly 
stirring the potatoes with a sloted spoon.

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

From: birgitte[at]ix.netcom.com (Birgitte)
Date: 8 Mar 1997 16:45:56 GMT
--------
wo2639@silcom writes: 
>water, add HOT milk, a dollop of butter, seasoning, then mash the whole
>thing with my small hand mixer. Evidently, this is a no-no. 

Once I did the mashed potatos with a handheld mixer (the kind you hold
upright with the blades) and I found out...my potatos were pasty and
gluey. I never did that again. To keep the lumps out cook the potatos a
little longer until they are really about to fall apart on their own.
Then you can mash them by hand easily.

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

From: florence[at]oasys.dt.navy.mil (Sandy Florence)
Date: 17 Mar 1997 16:24:53 -0500
--------
I can tell you first hand that you do not want to use a mixer when mashing
potatoes.  I was preparing this fantastic potato dish that included
many ingredients, sour cream, cheese, garlic, etc, and I thought the
potatoes would be very fluffy if I used my mixer.

Weeellll- let me tell you, I could have glued bricks together with the
concoction that I had in the bowl after using the mixer.  It was weeks
later that I read an article that said NEVER no NEVER use a mixer when
mashing potatoes because it does break down the starch granules.

I hope this answers your question and you won't have to find out like
I did that this was a definite no no.

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

============================
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
Subject: Re: Spud Species (WAS Re: Why Not Use Electric Mixer for Mashed Potatoes??
============================

From: sue[at]interport.net (Curly Sue)
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 18:10:32 UNDEFINED
--------
TJ writes:
>She also said not to bother because as the years have passed the
>potatoes she can get now make lousy mashed potatoes. Have any of the
>'golden circle' of cooks out there noticed a trend like this in the
>potatoes they get in the supermarket.

Absolutely.  There are "waxy" potatoes and "starchy" potatoes, depending 
on the type of starch granules.  The starchy ones are better for mashing.  
Waxy ones hold their shape when cooked and are not good for mashing- don't 
"absorb" butter well either.

(I used to know which was which but I don't anymore.  My guess is that the 
Idahos, Maine, and that ilk are starchy and those like the California long 
whites are waxy.)

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

From: Kate 
Date: 8 Mar 1997 15:21:26 GMT
--------
TJ wrote...
>She also said not to bother because as the years have passed the
>potatoes she can get now make lousy mashed potatoes. Have any of the
>'golden circle' of cooks out there noticed a trend like this in the
>potatoes they get in the supermarket.

I know that if I stray from the potatoes with a high starch, low moisture
content than my mashed potatoes are not nearly as good.  Russets make the
best mashed potatoes, and of the russets my first choice is the Yukon Gold
followed by Idaho potatoes. Waxy and new potatoes don't work well for me. 
I use my food grinder to make mashed potatoes and after they are ground I
put them on the top of a double boiler and cut in COLD butter and end by
adding hot milk followed by seasonings.  I add the butter a bit at a time
until fully incorporated.  I boil the potatoes skin on (so they don't gain
too much water) and then remove the skin when I can handle them.  A food
mill takes off (separates) most, but not all, of the skin but I like mine
perfectly skinless so I pull off the skin before grinding.  Potatoes made
in the food processor turn to glue but I have made them with satisfactory
results with a hand mixer if I am VERY careful not to over process them.

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

From: Sheldon 
Date: 8 Mar 1997 21:21:22 GMT
--------
Potatoes that are to be mashed should be boiled with their skins *removed*.
Potato skins are a semi-permeable membrane, allowing water to easily
enter, but not to readily escape.  Potatoes boiled in their skins will then
contain more moisture then they did before they were boiled, and by the
time they are sufficiently cooled to facilitate peeling, the potato's
starch would have already been altered from the absorbtion of excessive
water, that, and along with over-cooking is what primarily contributes to
'pastey' mashed potoes.

Start potatoes in *cold* salted water, bring rapidly to the boil, then
lower heat to maintain a medium boil.  Boil peeled potatoes until barely
fork tender, drain pot of all water, cover with a clean folded linen towel
pressed to potatoes, which will retain heat, but still allow steam to
escape.  After 10 minutes potatoes will be dry, fully cooked, and ready for
mashing.  Uniformly cut [quartered] potatoes cook more evenly, and more
quickly then large, or unevenly sized potatoes.

Hint:  Always boil potatoes in a non-reactive pot (NOT aluminum).
         
       For mashed potatoes; boil with an eggshell.
         
       For potato salad; choose potatoes of uniform size, peel, but do not cut. 

       Add 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar per/quart of water.

       For French Fries; before deep frying, blanch potatoes for 30
seconds, then towel dry.

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

From: DBethel[at]erinet.com (David)
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 97 23:30:00 GMT
--------
Sheldon wrote:

>Hint:  Always boil potatoes in a non-reactive pot (NOT aluminum).
>         
>         For mashed potatoes; boil with an eggshell.
         
Could you explain why? I've never heard of potatoes being acidic. Is there 
some other sort of reaction that occurs with aluminum? I'm clueless about what 
an eggshell in the water would do as well.

>         For potato salad; choose potatoes of uniform size, peel, but do not cut. 
>         Add 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar per/quart of water.

Regarding the vinegar when making potato salad; I'm guessing the acid would 
react with the starch and sort of seal the potato thus preventing the 
absorption of excess water. 

Care to fill me in?

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

From: Kate 
Date: 9 Mar 1997 15:12:09 GMT
--------
This discussion about boiling potatoes for mashing with the skin on versus
the skin off doesn't comport with my experience nor what seems to me to be
common sense.  Any food scientists out there who can explain how or if 
Penmart's "semi-permeable membrane" theory makes any sense?  An easier
method of "drying" a potato after boiling is to drain the potatoes and then
put them back in the now empty pot at low to medium heat.  Roll them around
in the pan and they will dry out in a minute or two.  The 10 minutes in a
linen towel idea seems to be a waste of time and would result in cooling
the potatoes just when you want them hot to absorb the butter and milk. 
Finally, quartering the potatoes before boiling would certainly insure more
water absorbtion.  Boiling cut potatoes works just fine for anything BUT
mashing IMHO.  I had always peeled my potatoes first until I read an
excellent article in Fine Cooking Magazine devoted to perfect mashed
potatoes which recommended keeping the skin on to reduce water absorbtion. 
It certainly works for me.

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

From: merde[at]crl.com (Meredith Tanner)
Date: 14 Mar 1997 14:36:18 -0800
--------
Sheldon wrote:
>Potatoes that are to be mashed should be boiled with their skins *removed*.

i've never heard of anyone boiling unpeeled potatoes for mashing
and *then* peeling them... if i boil unpeeled potatoes for mashing,
i intend to mash them with the skins on.  i do cut them up, but
that's just because i'm too lazy to cook them for as long as 
they'd take whole.

either way, when i mash them, i do it right away, i don't let
them cool.  

i always use Yukon Gold potatoes for mashing, which have a good
texture and a really rich flavor.  and boiling them with the skins
on has never given me "pasty" mashed potatoes.


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