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Stupid Question? Brining Potatoes?

  • r

I love a good baked potato - my current method is to roast them at 500 degrees for 40 minutes, slathered in garlic, salt, coarse pepper, and rosemary. The outside tastes wonderful, but I need lots of butter and or sour cream for the inside (and more salt)

I love all of the condiments that are usually served with baked potato them, but a potato can be a fat/calorie magnent. I'm going to try it, unless someone replies with some bad experience!

I've also tried salsa, and ketchup, and other things to cut down on the fat, with some success.

Is it possible to brine so that the flavors infuse the entire potato, eliminating the need for condiments at all? I'd like to cut it open and just grate some cheese on it, eliminating butter, etc.

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  1. You don't want to introduce more water into a baking potato.

    Another approach: use a tablespoon of pesto. A little goes a long way, flavor-wise, and it's great on baked potato.

    1. I like to open my potatoes, add course salt, pepper and scallions or chives. THEN, cover with sour cream (I use fat free or low fat). The steam that's trapped between the hot potato and sour cream helps to infuse the flavor of the herbs through the spud. I don't even bother with butter.

      Good luck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Christina D

        I've even made a combo of low or non-fat yoghurt and a bit of sharp cheddar mixed with green onions, etc. -stuffed into potatoes and run under broiler

      2. I can't comment on the brining. If you're thinking about this from a health perspective, I can imagine some people would have issues with the amount of salt a brining technique would use.

        One relatively healthy food I eat with sweet potatoes and butternut is cream cheese. It's tangy AND creamy. I usually add some spices (smoked paprika, dukkah, etc) or herbs, but the cream cheese fulfils my creaminess requirements.

        How about buttermilk as a baked potato moistener? If it's so great in mashed potatoes, might be good splashed on the flesh of a piping hot baked tater, too...

        And since you started the topic of healthiness, I'll also add: sweet potatoes and new potatoes are healthier than normal, giant spuds according to the Glycemic Index. They are less starchy, and as a result are less likely to be quickly digested and injected into your blood stream as sugars (I'm sure someone out there can give a more technical explanation than me!). And I'm pretty sure that sweet potatoes are higher in fibre. I don't think of this as particularly killjoy information, as I love both sweet and baby potatoes!

        Happy eating, whatever you chow on.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kate

          Also, it should be remembered that, if you are concerned about glycemic issues, coating simple starches like potato with a moderate amount of fat helps to reduce glycemic reactions. One major reason that glycemic issues have become more widespread in the past generations is that folks, in an effort to continue to eat larger portions but with less fat to leverage caloric load, have been eating a lot more simply carbohydrates with less fat to help protect them.

          The law of unintended consequences.

          It's better simply to eat a reasonable balance of fat, carbs and proteins and eat smaller portions (which were once considered normal portions), rather than try to gimmick the balances against fats.

          1. re: Karl S

            An argument for eating fat! I'll try it on my girlfriend when she complains, as I slather my baked potato in butter AND sour cream. "My dear, I'm just trying to slow down the absorption of sugars into my bloodstream and keep my glycemic index level." (I like it!)

        2. If you can find good fresh yukon or other tasty gold potato, try baking those. We prefer these baked instead of russet potatoes, they are moister and much more flavor.
          I guess you could also get a cooking syringe " flavor injector" and inject melted flavored butter ( garlic? ) when the potato is 2/3's cooked...

          1. yes you can brine baked potatoes. They come out AMAZING! This recipe just has salt but I have put other flavors like garlic salt onion salt and herbs in mine. Try it and see how you like them!

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gu...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pillotopp

              Never heard of brining anything but meat-- I can't wait to try this!

              1. re: Pillotopp

                I've roasted big bakers with a salt crust, for a nice fluffy interior and crusty (salty) exterior, but never considered brining them; mm, gotta try it at least once.

              2. The problem that I see here is that baked potatoes only become fluffy because water is released from the interior during the baking process--hence the need to cut slits in the baked potato or introduce a lot of little holes with the tine of a fork. If you increase the amount of water in the potato, you may proportionately decrease the fluffiness of the interior of the potato.

                But, hey, potatoes are cheap. Go for it and please let us know how the bring experiment turned out.

                1. Well I tried this, brined 6 medium Idaho bakers for 4 hours. I used the Guy Fieri method:
                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gu...
                  but I'm not impressed. The skin of the baked potatoes was slightly crisper--sort of "papery" crisp, not crunchy/chewy like oil-rubbed bakers get.
                  No discernable difference to the inside, flesh was not salty. After cutting them and adding my usual salt pepper butter seasoning--the brining seemed just a waste of time and good kosher salt.

                  1. The Frugal Gourmet used to cut the spuds in half, season liberally with salt and pepper then tie (with butchers twine) the two pieces back together with a bay leaf in between the bake as usual.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                      That makes more sense than brining, I think! I wouldn't bother with twine though--I'd just wedge them or cover them with weight so they'd stay together.

                      1. re: blue room

                        i've also just wrapped them in foil, but then you lose the crispy skin effect.

                    2. I'd like to chime in here, this may be a stupid answer.
                      My favorite is to clean the large Idaho spud, dry, cover in light olive oil, as EVOE burns at high temps. Coat heavily with kosher or sea salt and let rest from 6 to 24 hours. Cook at 425 deg. for 1:20 min more or less on size. let rest 5 min. split then push in from ends gently. Now salt and pepper, add some butter and an optional slice of Havarti cheese, then add more butter and sour cream. I also have a great mixture to ad if you like this email me for more info or if enough are interested I'll post it. the potato holds heat well and will combine mixture.

                      let cool a couple minutes and enjoy, feed back is encouraged, thanks ~ J

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Spurdogs

                        Hilarious - this popped up and I was reading the original OP post and thinking "this person and I are on the same page." Then I realized that it was me that was the OP. Ha ha ha. Spurdogs has a good method, it appears. I have unsuccessfully tried to brine potatoes and corn on the cob since 2005. My latest thing for potatoes is to just buy the little ones (expensive, though) and roast in the toaster oven. S&P, an herb, and a ton of garlic. We use ketchup as a topping for health reasons.

                        I feel bad for not following up on this thread in EIGHT YEARS, y'all. I did the brining and the potatoes seem recalcitrant. Like they refuse to take it or something. The corn did okay, but I'm not sure that it is worth the effort to brine. So I'm still seasoning post bake.

                      2. The type of potato is what you need to consider. Lots of info about them out there.
                        I like HB's method and the type he uses for mashed.

                        1. The salt makes the water temperature hotter when boiling so you get more starch breakdowns. boiling with brine will reduce the amount of water in the unpeeled potato by as much as 15 percent. giving it a richer potato flavor and creamier texture.NOT WATERY. See picture description of osmosis. Water is drawn out from the potato because the brine contains more salt than the potato

                          Add one cup salt to 4 cups water to large pot and bring to a boil. Wash *but do not peel* the potatoes. let your potatoes cook for about 25 minutes on high - medium high heat. Drain the water and allow potatoes to rest until you see the skin of the potato(s) form a white crystal glaze.This is salt crystallization on the skin! you can wash it off if desired. Bake as desired for even tastier potatoes!

                          See Also: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Syracuse...
                          http://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/...