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"Why are baked potatoes soggy sometimes?"

Dear Anne and Sue,

I really enjoy serving baked potatoes with my summer barbecues. Sometimes they're soggy. Other times they're great. What am I doing wrong when they turn soggy?

Thanks from a curious barbecuer,
Joe

 

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Hi Joe,

Baked potatoes go well with grilled foods! You likely aren't doing anything wrong when the baked potatoes turn soggy, but you can take some steps to prevent this from happening.

In raw potatoes, the starch is present in microscopic granules that are elliptical in shape and much larger than the starch granules of the average cereal grain. The size and distribution of these granules determines the quality and character of the cooked potato.
As potatoes bake, their starch granules soften in the heat and absorb the surrounding moisture. As they increase in size and often burst, granular particles separate from one another, making the texture of the potato mealy and fluffy. However, if moisture is trapped inside the skin, it can make the potato quite soggy. Piercing the skin of the potato before cooking creates escape routes for interior moisture.

Potatoes that stand for long periods after baking also tend to be soggier than those served immediately. So don't bake potatoes ahead of time and then reheat them—they just won't be as good.

Purchase varieties of potatoes that are known as "mealy" because this type of potato is well-suited to baking. Mealy potatoes have a higher starch content, a lower sugar content, and less moisture than varieties classed as "waxy." The russet, burbank, and idaho are mealy potatoes that have stellar reputations for being fluffy and delicious when baked.

Thanks for the question,
Anne & Sue
  
 

 

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