Wednesday, December 13, 2023

How to Make the Absolute Best Baked Potatoes + Video

Never did I ever think I needed instructions how to make a baked potato. 

Last night I scored a T-bone steak marked own eight bucks! I wanted a really good, classic baked potato to go with it. That's when I remembered this recipe from America's Test Kitchen.

Let me just tell you that it was the BEST baked potato I ever had. I'm not kidding. It was not at all gummy or overdone at the ends. The skin was not "slippery" or like wet chewy leather. Instead, the inside was dry and FLUFFY! The potato released easily from the skin. And, oh that skin--it was crackling! You will not be disappointed!

No more nuked potatoes for me. No more wrapping in tin foil. 

This is when it pays to have a countertop oven. I have a compact Breville convection oven. In fact, I never even use my conventional oven. It is storage for pots and pans. I baked mine on the "roast" setting at precisely 450 F degrees.

You will need an instant-read thermometer. A scale helps, too, but is not absolutely necessary.

A little green never hurt. I always try to keep both chives
and parsley going through the winter. If not available, use
some celery leaves. Of course, without guests, who cares?

This recipe calls for four, 9- to 10-ounce Russet potatoes. Choose the nicest you can find. I like to be sure the ends are rounded not tapered. You want Russets for their thick skin. Save the thin-skinned Yukon Golds for mashing. I halved the brine since I only made two. Next time, I'm not sure I will dispose the brine when done; instead, I will save for upcoming week. Why not?
  • 4 Russet potatoes, 7-9 ounces each (if you don't have a scale, weigh them at the market). Choose unblemished, non-bruised with few "eyes" and uniform in shape and size so they all cook evenly at the same time. 
  • 2 tablespoons salt. I used Kosher.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Vegetable oil (I used olive oil), about 1 tablespoon. Next time I will use bacon fat.

Scrub potatoes well. Using a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife, lightly prick each potato all around--about a half-dozen times.

Roll in the salt brine. Remove to a rack to dry.

Place on a rack in oven (I used a simple rack I placed on top of oven rack) and roast at 450 F. degrees until the internal temperature reaches 205 F degrees, about 45-60 minutes.

Carefully remove and brush with oil. Return to oven to bake an additional ten minutes.

Remove. Cut an "X" into each skin. Lightly push ends toward center. I have individual earthen, oval-baked bowls I put mine into. For those who love the skin ... you may want to serve with a side of Kosher salt for dipping.

These are Mason and Cash bowls from England. Martha Stewart made them
popular here in the States. They are getting more and more difficult to find.
If you spot them in a thrift store, grab them. They have so many uses.

I have not tried the goat-cheese topping in the video below. I enjoy a ton of butter, salt, pepper, thick sour cream and chives.