If you don't prick holes in a potato before baking...
Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:42 PM
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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:45 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:49 PM
I was baking some potatoes in their skin to turn into gnocchi. I always prick my potatoes with either a fork or a small paring knife. At about the time I thought the potatoes might be done, I slid my small paring knife into the center potato (of three) and determined they were done. I pulled the tray out of the oven and set them on the stovetop. The left potato was making an odd sort of whirring noise that I had never heard before.
Within about fifteen seconds, I head a muted "pop" noise and looked over to discover that the top half of my potato had blown itself off and was covering walls and floor with bits of fluffy potato shrapnel.
I was as surprised as anyone else. Kind of makes me wonder what would've happened had I used that particular potato to test for doneness instead of the one that I did.
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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:54 PM
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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:56 PM
There is another reason to do it, however, and that's to allow more moisture to escape from the potato flesh, helping to ensure a dry, fluffy result. Since reading this (I can't remember where) I give my bakers 15 to 20 deep stabs with a fork prior to baking. It seems to help, though it might just be one of several self-delusions I carry about. It certainly doesn't hurt.
Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:20 PM
I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?
Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:51 PM
This seems to happen more often with the Yukon Gold - possibly because I usually cut the eyes out of Idaho potatoes but the Yukons don't need it.
As I usually cut the ends off sweet potatoes, I seldom bothered to prick them but a few weeks ago I had one burst in the oven and the cleanup was annoying.
I have used an ancient ice pick as long as I can remember. The point is stuck in a cork when not in use to protect it as it is very fine and very sharp and it makes holes that are perfect in size (in my opinion).
Edited by andiesenji, 12 January 2011 - 02:52 PM.
Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:00 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:25 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:27 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:16 PM
Very strange...Maybe the altitude?
Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:24 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:56 PM
My parents used to slice off one end of the potato when I was young, but at some point they stopped doing it. I gathered it was to make them easier to handle. I think they picked it up from Graham Kerr.
Posted 12 January 2011 - 05:48 PM
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Posted 12 January 2011 - 06:48 PM
Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:46 PM
Plus, it's fun to stab something repeatedly with a fork.
Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:53 PM
Especially when *I* had to clean up the potato guts out of the (non-self cleaning) oven.
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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:34 AM
Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:43 AM
A little off-topic but this belief is, indeed, a fallacy but for a different reason.
I thought that it was only an issue in the microwave because of the way it cooks from inside out and the steam build up will lead to explosion. Could be an old wive's tale...
Microwaves do not cook food from the inside out. See the last paragraph under "Principles" in the Wikipedia entry: Microwave oven
That being said, I've been a potato pricker all my life. Never understood why it had to be done but see now it's an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure (or time spent cleaning the oven).
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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:54 AM
Posted 14 January 2011 - 10:39 AM
Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:46 AM
popcorn pops because the kernel's hull is so tough that steam builds inside up until it suddenly bursts. damaged popcornkernels and regular dried corn cant hold in the steam well enough for that effect.
a bit off topic, but chestnuts can create even more destructive shrapnel.
i have had a chestnut explode, despite being slit. i was frying them on my porch, and its shell embedded into the drywall ceiling above. if you dont cut chestnuts at all, the results can be even more dramatic. one author said when he cooked chestnuts for the first time, he put the un-slit chestnuts to roast in his fireplace and then went off to another room. soon he heard noise like that of machine gun fire, and ran in to see exploded chestnut fragments all over the room.