How To Make The Best Mashed Potato If You Don't Have A Masher

Bobbie Edsor
·2-min read

Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes are hard to beat. As long as they’re smooth, it’s hard to go wrong. But unless you eat mash on the regs, you might not necessarily own a potato masher.

Have no fear! Tiktok star and professional chef Poppy O’Toole, AKA PoppyCooks, has shared her absolute ultimate creamy, fluffy mashed potato recipe – and she does even use a masher or potato ricer!

According to Poppy, the key to the creamiest, smoothest, most indulgent mash around is to use a completely different kitchen utensil: the humble sieve.

Photo credit: Ethan Calabrese
Photo credit: Ethan Calabrese

Yep. In a Tiktok “mash-terclass”, Poppy shared that she chooses to push her cooked potatoes through a fine mesh sieve in order to make the best mash possible. The holes are much smaller than a potato ricer (the utensil lots of chefs tend to opt for when making mash), resulting in completely lump free potatoes!

In the video, Poppy talks us through her entire 'best mash' process. The chef says that the best mash is made with a starchy potato, such as Maris Pipers and Russets. These are peeled and sliced, rather than chopped, to make sure all of the pieces take exactly the same length of time to cook. She pops them into a pot of cold, salted water and brings the whole lot to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked.

She then drains the potatoes and leaves them in the sieve for five minutes to make sure all of the steam has evaporated off. The less water left lingering in the potatoes, the creamier the final mash will be.

All pretty standard so far, right? Well, here’s where Poppy’s recipe gets interesting: once the potatoes have had a chance to steam-dry, she pushes them through a sieve along with lumps of cold butter at the same time.

By pushing the mash through the sieve along with the butter, rather than adding the fat afterwards, the fat molecules can cling to the potatoes' proteins and stop them overdeveloping. We love it when chefs get all science-y.

It’s pretty much the same technique as when you rub your butter into flour when making shortbread: coating your proteins results in a more tender final texture – whether that’s a crumbly shortbread biscuit or a creamy (as opposed to gluey) mash!

Once all of the potatoes pass through the sieve, she adds more butter (a woman after our own hearts…) followed by a little bit of warmed milk. Apparently, warming the milk first helps it get absorbed quickly into the mash, again helping make sure those pesky proteins aren’t getting overworked. Then, it’s just a case of seasoning and serving. Et voila: the best mash of your whole ruddy life.

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