Homemade mashed potatoes are a delicious side to most any meal. Once you learn the technique for making mashed potatoes, you can vary the recipe in many ways by adding different ingredients such as cheeses, oils and seasonings. Without the right technique, mashed potatoes can turn out gummy. The length of time that you cook the potatoes initially can affect the end product.
Prep the Potatoes
To produce fluffy and delicious mashed potatoes, use the right kind of potatoes in the first place. Yukon gold potatoes are the best choice when it comes to making mashed potatoes because of their medium starch content. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and peel each one. Use a large pot to boil the potatoes and fill it up about three-quarters of the way full of water. When the water gets to a high boil, add the potatoes to the water. The potatoes should be a uniform size so that the cook times will be similar. It's important to also add a teaspoon of vinegar to the boiling water; this works to ensure that the potatoes maintain the color that they started off.
Cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes. At this time, you can start testing each potato with a fork every few minutes. If you're using bigger potatoes, you will likely need about 10 more minutes. Once the fork can easily be inserted into the largest of the potatoes, it's time to drain the potatoes.
Removing Moisture From Boiled Potatoes
Make sure there is no moisture in the potato when you go to mash it or the mashed potatoes will come out gummy. Do this by thoroughly draining the potatoes and then placing a large skillet on the stove on low. Place the potatoes in the skillet for a few minutes and allow them to further dry out.
When it comes time to mash the potatoes, first cut them up into 2-inch chunks. In the same pot that you boiled them (now off the burner and cooled) use a potato masher to mash them. Use milk with a higher fat content for mashing, as it will make them creamier. And most importantly, make sure the milk has been warmed beforehand. If the milk is cold, then the potatoes will come out gummy.
If you want to make a variation on the traditional mashed potato recipe, consider adding some non-traditional ingredients. For bleu cheese or goat cheese mashed potatoes, add 1/2 cup of the cheese to the mashed potatoes depending on how strong you want the taste to be. If you want to make wasabi mashed potatoes, consider adding a tablespoon of wasabi paste depending on how hot you want your potatoes to be.