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Easy and Perfect Baked Potato

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Hard to believe I have tried many ways of fixing baked potatoes to find the foolproof technique for a crispy skin, a soft flaky texture, and the least amount of preparation.  Something as basic as a baked potato should not warrant this much effort, and yet, the perfect baked potato is worth all that and more.  Here is the simple secret.

I used to poke my potatoes, rub them lightly with oil, sprinkle on some salt, and individually wrap them with tin foil for the baking.  The only way that made the perfect potato was if I baked it on my grill.  However, two problems existed:

  1. Too much effort to prepare each potato
  2. Too much propane used with the grill lit for over an hour

After trying several variations, here is the approach that allows me to bake these potatoes with the least amount of effort, enabling me to focus on preparing other parts of the meal while the potatoes turn out perfect.  Whether you prefer just the inside, or the whole thing, skin and all--as I do--, give this approach a try.

Ingredients:Easy and Perfect Baked Potatoes

  • Baking style potatoes (such as russet) at room temperature
  • Coarse kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and scrub the potatoes, then dry them and poke a few holes in each with a fork.
  3. In a baking pan, sprinkle a bed of the coarse salt.  It does not need to be deep, but the bottom of the pan should be pretty well covered.
  4. Place the potatoes on the salted pan, and bake in oven for 1 hour
  5. After the hour, turn off the oven, but leave the potatoes in there until you are ready to serve the meal.  (You won't overcook them.)
  6. Serve with toppings you prefer.

Notes:

You will notice the skins getting lumpy toward the end of the baking.  This is a good thing!

If you have many potatoes, allow for more time--especially if you have to use two pans in the same oven.  With an oven mit, you can check the doneness of the potatoes with a quick squeeze; the potato will be soft and squish under your pressure.

If your potatoes are refridgerated, and you do not have time to warm them to room temperature, either allow more baking time, or briefly microwave them for a few minutes prior to baking.

 

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