Q. Why did my baked potatoes turn brown on the inside when they were baked? We baked a large order of baked potatoes for fundraising events using convection ovens. We baked at 425 degrees F for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Most of the time they turn out great but the last batch were 90 count potatoes and turn brown on the inside. We normally only use the 100 count sized potatoes.
Posts Tagged ‘Russet Norkotah’
Q. I’ve noticed that some chefs call for the same size potato for multiple uses, kind of an all-purpose size. They typically call for an Idaho® Russet. As a culinary student I find this confusing… it seems like it would cost more to buy a big potato when you are just going to cut it up.
Q. I have done twice baked many times and never had them come out like this… where they are gooey when mixed with milk and butter. Any cure?
Q. I’m hoping you can help me out with your potato knowledge. We are a fresh soup producer and buy our potatoes (Burbank and Norkotah varieties) peeled, ¾” diced and rinsed in an anti-browning agent. At times we experience “hard” potato complaints from our customers. Through internal testing we see a small percentage of potatoes that have a waxy texture on the outside but are cooked through on the inside. Is it one variety over the other, could the sodium metabisulphite solution cause this or is it age of the crop?
Q. I am a cook of more than 45 years, and my mom for more than 80 years, and she is still a great cook. Within the past few months I have noticed the potatoes are tasteless, lumpy and mealy. After so many disappointments, we have decided that we might as well buy boxed potatoes. Although, I sure will miss my baked potato. What happened????
Q. Are there two grades of Idaho® potatoes, or two varieties?
A. There are two grades of potatoes typically sold in foodservice. A No. 1 potato from Idaho comes packed in cartons and has less defects, as well as a nice oval shape with few eyes. The No. 2 potato is commonly used in situations where the overall appearance is not as important such as freshly made French fries, mashed potatoes or hash browns. The No. 2 is packed in burlap bags, plastic or paper bags or can also be sourced in a one-piece box.
There are several varieties of Idaho® potatoes, to view the different varieties click here. The largest and best known variety from Idaho is the Russet Burbank, named after scientist Luther Burbank. It has high solids and bakes up dry and fluffy and fries crisp and golden brown. Another popular variety is the Russet Norkotah, which also works well as an all-purpose potato but has a slightly moister taste.
Q. What is the perfect baked potato to pair with a steak?
A. Everyone has their own ideas as to what makes the perfect baked potato, so that’s where having a personal opinion comes in. I get the opportunity to visit a lot of restaurants and the ones that make the potato the “star” have a couple of things in common. Because of the natural “meat and potatoes” association, the finest steakhouse baked Idaho® potatoes have a lot in common with the preparation that you can do at home.
- The potato never was close to or in a microwave. For convenience sake, it is ok to microwave potatoes at home, just know that they are not going to taste the same as something that came out of a piping hot conventional or convection oven. It’s a fact that potatoes have about 20% solids (sometimes referred to as starch) however the other 80% is moisture, as in water. Baking in a dry heat oven or on the BBQ grill forces much of that water to evaporate, leaving a nice crispy outer skin and a dry fluffy interior. So unless you are in a big hurry, turn on the oven.
- The variety of the potato (and I also believe the source or state) has a lot more to do with a perfect baked potato than you might think. Of course, I am assuming that you looked for the “Grown in Idaho®” seal on the nearby bagged russets and found that Idaho is one of the few states (in fact, the first) to label the variety right on the bag or plastic white enclosure tag, called a quick lock. Look for the words Russet Norkotah or Russet Burbank or other Idaho variety names such as Ranger, Umatilla, Alturas, etc. If you find a variety you like, then ask the produce buyer at the store to continue to stock it. If you want a little moister baked russet potato, choose the Russet Norkotah. This is the variety commonly sold in grocery stores from August to March. Personally I find that this variety needs to be baked a little longer, typically ten more minutes. While it is not as pretty a potato, the Idaho® Russet Burbank is the potato of choice by steak restaurants.
- Size: The expensive steakhouse chains such as Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, The Capital Grille, or Smith & Wollensky use an Idaho® Russet Burbank variety potato, about a pound each. Same with local favorites like Peter Luger in Brooklyn, Bern’s in Miami, Manny’s in Minneapolis, Gibson’s in Chicago or The House of Prime Rib in San Francisco. Budget steakhouses such as Sizzler or Golden Corral typically use a slightly smaller potato, the size you’ll find at most grocery stores in the loose potato displays, about 11-12 ounces.
Since restaurants use their ovens for lots of different food cooking applications the chances are that they are cooking the potatoes longer and hotter than you do at home. I recommend preheating the oven to 400°F, setting the timer for an hour. The potato is done when the internal temperature is 210°F, or a minimum of 185°F.
More tips when it comes to the perfect baked potato:
- Don’t store the potatoes in the refrigerator; the natural starches will convert to sugar and the potato will taste sweet when baked. Store in a cool dark place such as your pantry or where you store your dry cereals.
- Don’t wrap the potato in foil, this just steams the potato and makes the skin wet. Yes, some restaurants do this but primarily they are trying to hold the potatoes longer and dress them up. The brown skin may not be the prettiest vegetable but it does not improve the flavor when the water content is trapped inside a sealed wrapper.
I use a fork to pierce the potato on both sides to let steam escape and then I place the potatoes (with spacing around each) in the oven right on the racks so they will cook evenly and faster than if bunched together or on a cold metal tray.
- When a potato is done baking you can usually start to smell the aroma leaking out of the oven or vents. Pull one of the potatoes and poke it with a fork till you don’t see the tines of the fork. Just like baking a cake, the fork should come out nearly clean once the potato is thoroughly baked. Or, use a meat thermometer and check the temperature to see if you are above 185°F. If you need to hold a potato until dinner is ready, turn off the oven but keep the door closed and the heat will stay in for another 10-15 minutes. That’s about how long it takes for me to start and finish a steak on the BBQ.
- I open the potato with a fork, cutting a cross into the top of the potato. Then I push in both ends of the potato and it will blossom open, just like at your favorite steak house. If the potato is still moist inside I pop it into the micro wave for 30-45 seconds, pull it out and put on salt, pepper, and your favorite toppings such as butter, sour cream, cottage cheese or low fat yogurt. For a healthier option (which I love for a lunch entree) I put fresh salsa on the potato with no dairy products. It tastes great!