Potatoes blowing up
April 2, 2005 11:58 AM   Subscribe

We can't seem to keep our baked potatoes from bursting in the oven in our new rental. White or sweet, always poked with forks, or even cut in half, inevitably bits of the potato wind up all over the side walls. What's the matter with our oven?
posted by dpcoffin to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
 
Is it possibly a convection oven, which heats food much faster? Or maybe the temperature is not what it is supposed to be.

Look for the word 'convection' anywhere on the oven, and get a cheap oven thermometer.
posted by bh at 12:09 PM on April 2, 2005


Do you wrap them in tin foil?
posted by Captaintripps at 2:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Geez, you don't soak the potatoes in water, do you? The evaporation process causes steam to build up in the potato and it needs release. In fact up to 20 percent of the potatoes weight steams away.
posted by alteredcarbon at 2:33 PM on April 2, 2005


I take this question to mean that you've never had this problem in other ovens. Have other things you've cooked in there gone awry? That would suggest temp problems.
posted by mai at 3:03 PM on April 2, 2005


Is it a microwave oven? They are excellent for exploding things like eggs and if the one in your new place is very powerful it could be doing the same thing to your potatoes. I have a convection oven that I bake spuds in all the time without the results you describe, so I doubt that is it. Could you give us some details on how you bake potatoes for possible clues?
posted by TedW at 3:39 PM on April 2, 2005


Plain old electric oven, not convection or microwave, sheet of aluminum foil placed on rack below...potatoes washed, not soaked, dried off, lightly rubbed with butter, poked with fork and sweet potatoes cut in half, baked at 450...explode!
posted by dpcoffin at 3:11 PM on April 3, 2005


Sounds like you're overbaking them. Try 375ºF for about 75 minutes. And poke 'em like you mean it, baby.
posted by naomi at 3:58 PM on April 3, 2005


Besides lowering the baking temperature by as much as 100 degrees, you might try putting the potatoes on a layer of rock salt on a baking pan. The salt will help wick away the excess moisture and make the potatoes nice and flaky. Rock salt is big enough that any chunks stuck to the potato can easily be brushed off the bottom after baking if desired. The same cup of rock salt can then be saved for future potato bakes.
posted by obloquy at 5:35 PM on April 3, 2005


I'm guessing bh is correct. Are you burning other dishes? In one apartment I moved into, the oven thermostat was broken, allowing the heat to rise uncontrolled. I bought a thermometer after burning a few dishes, and the heat rose so high that the thermometer glass broke. Needless to say, the landlord had to get me a new oven.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:29 AM on April 4, 2005


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