I have a thick skin, but my baked potatoes don’t. Why?

My mother was a great cook (surprising, considering she was English, and we all know about British cuisine :D). She never wrote down her recipes, or cooking methods. So, now, after all these years, I’m trying to re-create all of those wonderful meals for my sweet daughters, but mom’s gone so I can’t ask her for the recipes. I’ve had some successful re-creations, but also some clunkers. When those occur, my kids take a bite and yell, “FAIL!”
…F***ing brats! (I’m just kidding; I love my kids).

Anyway, mom always made the best baked potatoes: fluffy on the inside and thick and crunchy on the outside. Try as I do, I get the fluffy insides, but I cannot get a thick crunchy skin. At best, I get a thin crispy skin.

I use Idaho Russets, which I’m near-certain mom used. I’ve varied my baking temperatures (from 325 to 475f), varied the rack height, and I’ve varied my methodology (dry, slathered in olive oil or lard). But, no dice, my potatoes perpetually come out with hideously awful thin skins. This is not acceptable, not by a long shot.

Is it me, or is it the potato? Can Idaho spuds today be different than the Idaho spuds of yesteryear? Did those bastard genetic engineer potatoologists actually concoct some new breed of Russet and let my beloved thick-skinned spud go extinct?

And, speaking of potatoes, who are these miscreants who wrap their potatoes in tin foil, thus assuring no skin crisping!?! Communists!

So, tell me; are modern potatoes different?, is there some crucial detail I haven’t thought of with regard to my potato baking?, or should I just drop my hopes like a hot …well, you know what.

edit: nevermind, addressed in OP

Don’t use a pan, cook right on the rack

Bake it nude (no foil or oil) but roll it in some kosher salt before it goes in the oven

Slice the potato lengthwise the second it comes out of the oven to let all the steam escape

Food Network says to rub it with olive oil first (mixed with pepper & kosher salt), but I don’t. I brush the salt off before eating.

Crap, that explains it!; I’ve been using Christian salt all this time. :smack:

So that’s what made you so cross about it.

Don’t crucify me, pal, it was merely an observation.

Bacon fat

This could be your answer: http://foodserviceblog.idahopotato.com/what-happened-to-my-crispy-baking-potatoes/

Alright, I just finished my dinner. I made a Cornish hen with a side of lima beans and a baked potato (I splurged, because my kids are away, otherwise it would’ve been Beanie Weenies, with a side of beans and weenies).

Everything tasted just fine. I am not the type of person who likes to toot his own horn, but I just happen to be a very talented, self-taught, master of the kitchen, so it’s no surprise that everything came out delicious (:))

Today’s potato was of the Idaho variety, medium sized, oblong, nicely proportioned and relatively blemish-free. I preheated the oven to 350-Fahrenheit and did not put the tater in until that agreed upon temperature was reached. It went in naked, except for my wetting the spud beforehand with water and coating it with a modest sprinkling of orthodox “kosher” salt. It went into the oven, directly on the middle oven rack, a few inches from the Cornish Hen, which was minding its own business in a small baking pan, all by itself. They both baked for 70-minutes.

After the 70-minute bake, I removed the bird and tater and let them rest, to gather their wits, for 5 minutes. Then, I took a knife and ripped open the potato long-ways and fluffed up its innards with my fork. Then I put a dollop of Irish butter and a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh snipped chives and a sprinkling of fresh crumbled bacon bits into the potato flesh and mixed it all about. Then, along with the hen and beans, I ate it. And, it was good. But, it wasn’t great.

It wasn’t great because the damned potato still did not develop the thick crunchy skin I remember as a child. Oh, it was a little crunchy and a little thick, but nothing like the alligator-like potato skins my mom used to deliver on a consistent basis. What the hell?

Tell me I’m not losing my mind. You dopers who were around in the 50,s, 60’s and 70’s; you remember those thick skinned baked potatoes, don’t you? Huh? Do you see them around anymore? What happened to them? Is it some kind of conspiracy? If it is some kind of secret potato conspiracy that you’ve been sworn not to tell, at least type me a message, in small font,* pssst, Tibby, it’s not your imagination, there really is evil going on in the potato world.* At least then I could get some sleep.

SeaDragonTattoo, I haven’t read your link, yet. Maybe the answer is close at hand!

AH HA!!!
I was right!

Though, perhaps not expounded upon in a typical, respectable, peer-reviewed publication (e.g. Phrenology Quarterly), SeaDragonTattoo’s link does appear to give some glimmer into the dark and mysterious Idaho Potato “situation.” Further and deeper research is obviously required to untangle the intricacies of this shameful conspiracy. I recommend that we, on a global scale, lobby leaders of all respectable nations (i.e. not England…ever watch Benny Hill? Shameful) and demand suspension of funding for combating silly things, like ISIS, global warming and decimation of the Bluefin tuna population (who the hell needs Bluefins when we got plenty of Yellowfins?) and use that money where it can really have some positive worldwide consequence: the Idaho baked potato problem.

From what I can ascertain thus far: we had a perfectly fine variety of baking potato for decades in the mid to late 20th century. This potato was given the scientific name, Burbank Russet, named after the illustrious tuberologist, Dr. Burbank Russet. Dr. Russet’s potato baked up thick-skinned and crunchy, giving joy and sustenance to billions of men, women, children and animals throughout our solar system.

Then along came an evil supervillain scientist by the name of Dr. Russet Norkotah :mad:, and all hell broke loose. This is the point where our global potato investigative agents and covert hit-squad needs to take up the reins and return our beloved Burbank Russet baked potato back onto our dinner tables.

What I don’t understand is, at least with regard to the microcosmic sample base of the SDMB community…where is your sense of recreational outrage? Where is your heady swelling of rebellious fervor? Where are your snarky attitudes?

Don’t you geezer (certainly not me) Dopers remember thick skinned baked potatoes? Can’t you young Dopers imagine the delight of thick skinned potatoes? Don’t you want thick skinned potatoes on your dinner plates once again? Won’t you fight for that to happen?

And, what about apples? Haven’t you noticed apples haven’t tasted the same since about 1965?..

thick skinned spuds, made their own boat to keep the gravy or butter where it belonged contributing to that spuddy goodness.

Kosher salt is larger and not shaped the same. It draws out more moisture … so, yeah :smiley:

Not a geezer, for sure, but I have found my outrage thanks to your post. I never really thought about it to any extent, but when I was a kid (1980-ish), I’d wait all afternoon for that salty, crispy potato skin, rip out the guts, and eat the skin filled with sour cream and melted butter. It was better than chips or even fries. Forget the fluffy innards, I was all about that skin. :slight_smile: Yum!
Now, I’m more likely to scrape the thin, floppy, useless skin off and eat the guts. :mad:

At least I know now it’s not that my mom or I forgot how to cook a simple potato, I can blame Dr. Eviltater and his no-good modern frankenspuds.

Here’s more proof: an anagram of Russet Norkotah is “Sunk roots hater”!

What, I ask you, is a potato if not a “sunk root”? Clearly there is some fiendish devilry at play here.