There are many ways to “skin a potato” but when it comes making the perfect mash, these simple steps produce really good results:
- Gentleness equals tenderness.
No matter what tool you use to mash potatoes, use it with some precision.
- Warm the dairy.
Gently warming the milk or cream before adding it will help it incorporate better, avoiding a “gummy” texture and also keeping everything warm.
- Chunks of butter.
Cut the butter into small cubes and add a little at a time, allowing each to melt before adding the next batch.
- Cold water.
Always start with cold water to ensure even cooking. Place the potatoes in the pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Type matters.
Russet potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture so they absorb butter and cream while staying light and fluffy. Yukon Gold has a more delicate flavor and also mash well, but if you’re feeling adventuresome, try purple.
- Size matters too.
Be sure to use potatoes of similar size, or cut them into uniform chunks to help them cook evenly. (Don’t cut them too small or they will absorb too much water.)