Soaking vs Rinsing Potato Shreds for Hash Browns
I make a very good homemade shredded hash brown. However I am very anal about my cooking techniques and always strive to achieve the best results possible.
When making homemade hash browns it is widely recommended to soak the potato shreds in water for a period of time to remove the starch. I also change the water during the soaking process.
As I change the water I notice the water gets cloudy almost immediately, no soaking time is really needed to make the water cloudy. So then I started just continually rinsing my shredded potatoes in a bath of water until the water runs clear (basically, just filling up a bowl and then straining the water out immediately and repeating). This takes a few minutes of constantly changing water but it is way faster than soaking.
My question: Is there any practical need to soak instead of a thorough rinse? Does the soaking time draw out additional starch that won't be otherwise extracted with a few minutes of continual rinsing? When the water runs clear does that mean you have achieved the desired result regardless of method/time?
I also enjoy Cooking Theory 101, so maybe someone can shed some light on what is happening during the soaking process. Knowing the theory behind why stuff is done allows me to adjust my cooking style as needed to achieve the same result.
FYI, I get good results with both methods, but sometimes the difference between a good dish and great dish is nuanced imo.
There is nothing happening in the soaking process that doesn't also happen in the repeated rinse process. But the soaking process does tend to use less water. If you rinse until the cloudiness in the water disappears (or nearly disappears) you'll have done an excellent job of eliminating the starches that make your hash browns gummy.