Monday night – what better thing to do than go home, pop on the couch and relax? But first you have to grab something to eat. Hmm. You do not want to spend too much on ordering online, but also, you are not in the mood to make anything too fancy or time consuming, so what then?
How about those mashed potatoes in the fridge? That could work! The only thing left now is to figure out the best way to reheat them – stove, oven or even microwave?
You need something that will bring back to life the fresh and delicious taste of freshly cooked mashed potatoes and you need it done now!
Let’s find out why the perfect way of reheating mashed potatoes is the water bath method.
How Does It Work
Take a large bowl and fill it with hot water. Put it on the stove and bring it to a boil. Once done, take it off the heat carefully, and place it on the counter – put the smaller bowl with the mashed potatoes inside the larger bowl with boiling water.
Start stirring gently – this will heat the potatoes nice and slow, and they will stay hot for as long as your water is hot, meanwhile you will not be worrying if they will stick to the bottom of the pan, or get burned.
Tip: A great trick to keep the meal moist, is to add a splash of heavy cream, 1 tbsp of butter and some finely chopped chives – for freshness!
Why Does It Work – The Food Science Behind A Water Bath
The double boiler method is great for products or dishes that require constant moisture, in order not to get dried out. When the water starts boiling and we place the bowl or pot with mashed potatoes in, we allow the evaporation to heat the dish evenly over time.
Exactly because we have already brought the water to a boiling point, and it had started to evaporate, the temperature of the mashed potatoes will never exceed that of the water – meaning that they will not cook any further, but instead, will only get reheated.
Fun Fact – The History Behind It
The Water Bath or “Bain Marie”, was actually named after its inventor and it means “Mary’s bath”!
Maria was an alchemist, interested in finding a way of controlling temperatures for her experiments, which eventually resulted in inventing distilling techniques and of course, the method in question.
But of course, there are countless more ways to reheat mashed potatoes and we will show you several – try them out and choose the one that works the best for you!
In The Microwave
Probably one of the most universal kitchen appliances is the microwave – you can heat up things, boil, cook, defrost – many different options; a lot less time consuming, compared to other appliances too, but the question stands – is the result just as good?
If you have plenty of time on your hands, we recommend to go with the double boiling method, as it guarantees the best results possible, but if you are really out of time, then microwaving is the best way to go!
Here Is How It Works
The heat waves of the microwave might dry out your beautiful mashed potatoes dish, this is because they distribute the heat at a rather fast pace, but unevenly.
In order to keep your potatoes moist, add 3-4 tbsp of milk (depending on the quantity you have prepared already). Stir the milk in, reheat for about 30 seconds, get it out and try it – if you think more milk is needed, give it another splash or two.
You can go with butter as well, a pinch of salt, some black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice for tanginess and then heat it up again for another 30 seconds.
Going at short intervals is the key here, otherwise the uneven heat will dry the potatoes and they will get crusty. On the other hand, too much milk or stirring however, could get them gloopy, so be careful with that as well!
In The Oven
Let’s say that besides the mashed potatoes you have some veggies which you would like to quickly roast and have for dinner too – in this case, oven is the way to go.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 175°C and prepare your veggies. Depending on what they are, you can put them now on a separate tray or after the mashed potatoes are in the oven.
Get a tray and baking paper – cut the paper in the size of the tray and stick it to the pan with some olive oil. Rub butter or olive oil on top of the paper.
Grab your mashed potatoes and mix it with 1 tbsp of greek yoghurt or 2 tbsp of heavy cream – just like the microwave, the oven can quickly dry out the dish, so we must make sure that there is enough moisture. Taste everything before it goes in the oven, as after that, it will be too late.
Do not add too much salt, as it will contribute to drying out the potatoes faster; instead add a little bit of salt, if needed at all, and some pepper or a pinch of chilli flakes – if you like your potatoes spicy!
Leave that in the oven for about 30 minutes, depending on how strong your oven is, you might want to bring down the temperature with 20° near the 15-minutes mark.
Once out, give them a quick taste – careful not to burn yourself! Add the zest of 1 lime on top and serve while hot.
The last method is for all culinary geeks, who love trying out something challenging and new! It is time consuming, so definitely not the “to-go” method if you are tired and just came home after work, but we promise you – it is fun, innovative and once mastered, can be used for a lot of dishes and products!
The Sous Vide
This fancy method has an even fancier-sounding name! Translated from French,“Sous Vide” means “under vacuum”.
This is the process of vacuum sealing an ingredient and cooking it to a specific, constant temperature, while submerged under water.
It sounds quite difficult and tricky, but it is not – in fact chefs all over the world use it for different purposes – one of the most famous, being the technique of tempering chocolate.
But how and why would anyone reach for such a time-consuming method at home? The sous-vide can be used for many dishes – cooking fish, reheating ingredients, even boiling eggs. It is the most reliable method as the chef can control the temperature of cooking at all times – once the water is heated up to the selected temperature, it will not change. This produces results that cannot be achieved with any other method.
Reheating mashed potatoes in sous-vide can happen the following way – heat the water to 135°F or roughly 60°C. Season the potatoes with salted butter and pepper, add them to a leak-proof bag and remove all the air to create a vacuum.
Place the bag gently into the water and make sure it is fully submerged. Leave it there for about 4-5 hours. In the end you will have perfectly creamy mashed potatoes, evenly heated and fresh.
To Sum It Up
Try the water heating method and you will not regret it – it will leave you with an amazing end product for no time!
If you must use the microwave or oven to reheat your mashed potatoes, please do not forget to add enough moisture with some butter, milk or cream.
Think of clever ways to spice up the dish, by adding some extra ingredients like lemon zest, scallions or more seasoning.
Do not forget to have fun while cooking and set yourself for a challenge once in a while by mastering a new method or technique!