what are the best potatoes to bake?
I'm not sure I have it quite right - the time before I got a 4 pack of red rooster potatoes, but my friend set the oven. we punctured them, coated them in olive oil, sprinkled the sea salt and in they went for 2 hours.
They came out with a really thick crispy skin, and they were real dark. I suspect it may just be that they were cooked at gas mark 6 (425 degrees).
Because last night, I got a couple of huge unknown type potatoes, and cooked them at gas mark 4 (350) for two hours. Donna wanted hers barely an hour in, and it was still a tad hard, but an hour after, mine was only just fluffy in the middle. And there wasn't much of a crust.
So would the potatoes have been crustier if they were smaller and a different type? Or is it purely the temp? or both?
Cos I can get a whole bag of red roosters for nearly the same as the 2 giants I got yesterday (what a rip off!)
Idaho potatoes are a form of russet. Most people consider russets, a high-starch potato, to be best for baking. Yukon Golds, which are a medium-starch spud with a thin skin, are also tasty when baked, but the skin is not as crisp. I have baked all-purpose and redskin potatoes too, and found them acceptable.
I think the higher heat method makes the best skin, which is my favorite part. James Beard recommends baking russet potatoes at high heat for a couple of hours, which caramelizes some ot the flesh just below the very crunchy skin (my personal favorite). Oiling is not necessary. I would not want to put a towel around the finished potatoes for more than a few seconds, for fear of steaming the skin. Martha Stewart recommends holding the hot potato (with a potholder) high in the air, then tossing it forcefully onto the counter. This fluffs up the whole interior of a baked russet.
Roosters are a fairly generic russet variety suitable for boiling or baking.
It may be that the unknown variety was simply not suitable for baking. Look out for King Edward, Desiree or Maris Piper which are all the fluffy sort you need.
Good crispy skin and fluffy inside are down to three things - right variety, hot oven, cooking time. Big ones are obviously going to take much longer than the smaller Roost