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Q&A: Tips on Holding Mashed Potatoes
How long can I hold mashed potatoes on my cafeteria line?
Mashed potatoes are great for foodservice operations because they hold so well, but many people have questions on how long they should actually hold them. Fresh mashed Idaho® potatoes should be held for no more than 60 minutes on a steam table (moist heat #7) or warming cabinet (175 °F – 200°F). Always preheat the steam table or warming cabinet. Keep potatoes covered with a layer of plastic wrap or a lid. If dry heat is used, set a pan in water bath.
Processed dry or dehydrated mashed potatoes can be held in a steam table (moist heat #5). For ideal taste and texture, granules should be held no more than 30 minutes; flakes not more than an hour and fifteen minutes. Frozen product can be held longer, up to 4 hours, on a steam table. Ask the manufacturer for specific product holding times
Sometimes fresh mashed potatoes will have a soupy texture if they are overcooked or over-mixed. I recommend baking or boiling 5 lbs of peeled (or 6 lbs of unpeeled) Idaho® potatoes until fork tender, then whipping with 3/4 cups hot milk for 1-2 minutes on a low setting. Then add 1/4 pound butter or margarine and whip on high for 3-4 minutes. This will yield 25 half cup servings.
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