Silly right, blogging about taking a potato and baking it? I thought so, until I remembered how many people seemingly “can’t cook” and literally don’t know how to make a nice crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside baked potato! It amazes me, for only 2 minutes of work and a bit of waiting around, what a lovely reward you receive. I believe every human over the age of 10 should know how to bake a potato – even those who “can’t cook”, it is such a better option than takeout.
Baked potatoes are very underrated too, I mean load up a nicely baked potato with any of your favorite flavors and you could have a meal – sour cream and chives or bacon, butter or herb butter, mustard (my husband’s favorite) or even dump some beef stew in there and go to town (I learned that while living in England, they would put butter, some beef stew, a bit of sugar into a “jacket potato”, mix it around and dinner is served!)
Just eat it plain with a side salad. Yes it is carbs, but if you eat the skin you will get the nutrition that hides between skin and flesh, as well as fiber and the warm feeling inside that you are eating real food!!
Russet baking potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean your baking potatoes in the sink under cold water using a potato scrubber if you have one or a clean brush or new dish towel. Choose all the potatoes around the same size so they cook at the same time. Just want to get off the surface dirt. I believe in piercing with a fork 2-3 times on both top and bottom of each potato – don’t kill the thing, just sink in the fork 1 centimeter and out. It is to provide somewhere for the steam to go so the potato doesn’t explode. I have had that happen and the oven was a disaster!
Tip: Dry off the potatoes well before cooking, helping the skin a chance to crisp up.
Place the cleaned and pierced potatoes on the top rack of the oven, not on a tray or foil. You want the hot air to surround them and crisp the skin. Wait. In 65 – 90 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, you should have beautiful potatoes. You can tell it is done when the skin is crisp and the middle is fluffy! Open the cooked potatoes with a cross mark or a slit, add some seasoning on the white part of the potato and top as you like.
Usually potatoes are baked with the rest of the meal, if the other side dishes or main course are in an oven anywhere between 325 and 400 degrees, you are fine. Just adjust the time up if the oven is less than 375 and down if it is at 400 degrees.
Update: My fantastic chef and baker friend let me know that if you take your potatoes and cover them with a bit of olive oil and salt, it will also encourage the crisping of the skins. I find that cooking them dry crisps them but this trick is also worth a try!