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Kartoffelpuffer and hash browns -- rinse potatoes?

 
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Kartoffelpuffer and hash browns -- rinse potatoes? Reply with quote

I have never had the greatest success making hash browns, and last night's attempt at kartofellpuffer came out rather poorly.

I like the German word because it rolls off the tongue so neatly, but really just means potato pancakes.

Anyway, I use russet potatoes.

I'm willing to experiment, but if anyone has sure advice I'd welcome it.

Sometimes I rinse the potatoes and squeeze the excess water out using a dish towel. Sometimes I just squeeze the excess juice out. Sometimes I do nothing at all. In any case, either pancakes or hash browns don't come out very well.

I've learned not to salt the grated potatoes because then they leak moisture.

I'm a little stingy with the grease, which is either bacon fat or peanut oil. Pan is cast iron, and a decent med-high heat (pre-heated).

What am I missing here?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1023
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"hash browns" is not universally defined - around here that's sliced/diced potatoes that have been parboiled and then fry finished.

but I'm reading between the lines you are shredding / grating the potato then making a patty?
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's correct Dilbert.

Never crossed my mind to blanch them gratings, but might be worth a try.

Seems like a bit of extra work, though.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
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Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

typically one does not blanch the shredded style - the cut / sliced 'chunk' style is.

for making the shredded patty style (or up to "a whole pan size") recipes always use a 'binder' - which is usually egg and often flour.

toss the shreds with the flour, add the beaten egg.
seasoning vary.

the cast iron pan is my preferencel as well - there is a 'trick' to the heat.
I use a liberal dose of oil - but not really 'deep'
the heat has to be high enough to cook them through and form a crust, but if it's too high they'll burn before that happens.

if the centers are wet and falling apart - probably cooked too fast/too hot.

obviously, the thicker the patty, the more touchy the heat issue.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the problems with both is probably not enough oil. I just don't like fat, so tend to skimp. I've got the heat down right.

When making the potato pancakes, I added the egg first, then the flour. That seems like a BIG mistake. You want the flour to coat the shreds, then the egg to bind them together. Thanks for pointing that out.

Any comments re rinsing and/or squeezing the potatoes?

Another friend suggest different potatoes (Yukon gold), but Russets should work, shouldn't they?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1023
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>rinsing / squeezing...
I would not recommend the rinse approach. that 'removes' starch from the potatoes and starch+water=glue and part of the theory is to make the shreds stick together.

the squeezing thing is more difficult to put "rules" on - simple reason: freshly harvested potatoes have a lot of water. in storage they lose water. close to the end of the storage 'season' (may-jun-jul) they're pretty dang dry 'out of the box'

as I shred, I put them on a paper towel. if the towel is thence "soaked" I do the squeeze routine.

I'd stick with the high starch aka Russet types.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>rinsing / squeezing...

The rationale behind that is that either the hash browns or the kartoffelpuffen often come out "gummy" -- too much starch, I assume.

Potato starch is a weird creature. Once thought I'd save some time by making mashed potatoes in the pressure cooker. Diced them as I always do, gave them a couple minutes, let cool. Went and mashed them with the masher, then whipped them with electric mixer as I always do. Could have used the result as wallpaper paste.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1023
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>The rationale behind that is that either the hash browns or the kartoffelpuffen often come out "gummy" -- too much starch, I assume.

or there was too much water and they fell apart.

potato Kloss are another one with 'squeezing' issues.
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