Baked potatoes are deliciously fluffy and comforting, and can be packed with whatever toppings you can imagine, whether it be some tuna mayo, chili, or even just a little slab of butter. Who would have thought that simply baking an average potato would yield such a delightful treat?
Bake potatoes are immensely popular across the world, thanks to their simplistic concept, but extremely versatile nature. The only real problem with baked potatoes is the time needed to make them!
Sure, you can make one much quicker by placing it into the microwave, but for the baked potato purists amongst you, that simply isn’t enough, and won’t yield the perfect results you expect.
Making a baked potato in an oven can take upwards of an hour, during which time you’ll be salivating at the thought of chowing down!
So how come when you order a baked potato at a restaurant it doesn’t take over an hour to arrive at your table?
How do they make them so quick, yet still have them at the perfect level of fluffiness? Are they microwaved? Or is there some hidden secret? Let’s dive into the secret world of baked potatoes for some answers!
How Do Restaurants Make Baked Potatoes So Fast?
Put simply, restaurants are able to make baked potatoes quickly by planning well ahead of time. Restaurants do not have some secret device that’s able to make baked potatoes cook at half the time.
They still take upwards of an hour to make, but they simply bake them hours ahead of time, to be ready to serve when customers want them.
Restaurants will create entire batches of baked potatoes in their large ovens, pull them out when finished, and then place them into warming equipment, which helps to keep the potatoes warm all day, ready to be plated up for customers when they order them.
This helps to keep the baked potatoes fresh for hours across the day so that they are just as fluffy and soft as they would be if pulled straight from the oven!
How Do Restaurants Know How Many Baked Potatoes to Make?
So now that we know that baked potatoes are created ahead of time, by kitchen staff, the question now turns to ‘How do they know how many to make?’ Surely it must be rather difficult to create the exact amount needed, and there must be leftover potatoes, right?
In order to minimize wastage, and to ensure that every single customer who orders a baked potato is catered to, the restaurant will take a look at how many baked potatoes, on average, are ordered, every day.
They might compile this information onto a spreadsheet, which helps them to determine exactly how many potatoes they need to bake ahead of time so that every customer can be satisfied.
Compiling the average number of baked potatoes ordered also makes it easy to see if there are particular periods in the year where people are more likely to order a baked potato.
For instance, one restaurant might find that more people order baked potatoes during the winter when it is cold outside than in the summer. This can help them to order the appropriate number of potatoes in anticipation of certain periods or events.
What Happens to Unsold Baked Potatoes?
It’s inevitable when preparing food in anticipation of demand for it, that some of the food will go to waste. Though restaurants can anticipate a certain number of orders for baked potatoes, these numbers will never be 100% consistent, and on a day that they expect to receive 200 baked potato orders, they might only receive 195. So what happens to those last 5 potatoes?
Restaurants like to make use of every single ingredient they have at their disposal, and this even applies to leftovers. Restaurants that have leftover potatoes will often choose to use them for different purposes the next day.
The most common usage for leftover potatoes is for soup bases. Many soup recipes contain potatoes, which help to thicken a soup up and give it a more satisfying texture.
Leftover potato can even be used to help create dishes like fishcakes, which make use of potato to make them soft and fluffy on the inside, while still being crispy on the outside. There are so many ways to make use of potatoes, hence why they are such popular and versatile vegetables, both in home kitchens and even in the top restaurants in the world!
Do Restaurants Microwave Baked Potatoes?
There may be some restaurants out there that certainly do make baked potatoes in a microwave oven, though very few would ever admit to it. This can help to significantly lessen the strain on kitchen staff, as ovens won’t be taken up by potatoes that take up to an hour to bake. This is incredibly useful for small restaurants with small kitchens.
It is unlikely that more prestigious restaurants would use microwaves to make baked potatoes, as it would be a significant hit to their reputation if such a secret were to get out.
Baked potatoes take a long time to make. That’s unavoidable, so restaurants take this into strong consideration. They cook large batches of baked potatoes well ahead of time and then place them into warming devices so that they are ready to be picked out and plated up for customers as soon as they are ordered.
Some restaurants may use microwaves, to significantly cut down on the preparation time of a baked potato, but it’s unlikely that you’d be able to tell for sure, as most restaurants would prefer that that remain a closely guarded secret.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Wrapping Potatoes In Foil Make Them Bake Faster?
You might have seen baked potatoes served in foil, and assumed that they cooked faster because of that foil. Unfortunately, this is not the case, in fact, placing foil around a potato will cause it to take longer to bake, as the foil would need to heat up first.
Why Do Restaurants Put Salt On The Outside Of Baked Potatoes?
Salt absorbs moisture. By placing salt on the outside of a baked potato during the baking process, restaurants can cause the skins of the potatoes to become crispy, which makes them more satisfying to eat!
How Can I Speed Up The Process Of Baking Potatoes?
If you don’t want to wait upwards of an hour to enjoy your baked potato, you can instead place a potato into the microwave. Before you place it in, pierce a few holes into it, and then set the microwave to run for around six minutes.
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