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Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to Bake a Potato in the Microwave 02-15

How to Bake a Potato in the Microwave

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Want to eat a steaming baked potato for dinner, but you can't wait and put it in the oven for an hour? Nuke it in the microwave! Here's how to have a baked potato in 15 minutes or less.

Steps

  1. Wash and dry the potato. Be sure to remove any stubborn dirt. (If you have one, a bristled scrubbing brush is great for cleaning potatoes.)
  2. Using a fork, poke holes in the potato to vent steam. Aim to get three or four pokes on each area: top, bottom, and two sides. Or, you can cut a deep "X" into the long side with a knife.
  3. Wrap the potato in a wet paper towel and put it on a plate. The wet towel helps keep the moisture in the potato and prevents it from shrinking.
  4. Put the plate in the microwave and choose a cooking time. Use 3 minutes for a very small potato; 4.5 minutes for a medium-sized potato; 6 minutes for a large potato; and 7 to 8 minutes for a huge potato. Increase the times by about two-thirds for multiple potatoes. (For instance, two large potatoes would be 10 minutes.)
  5. Choose the cooking power. For a mid-size to large microwave, reduce the power to one-third for a single small potato or one-half for a single large potato.
    • Cooking by Microwave, like any other method, can't increase temperature of water-based material above the boiling point. Beyond a certain point, extra power only boils off water from the outside faster.
    • If the outside of a potato is drying out before the middle is cooked, you're using too much power.
    • It's a good idea to turn the potato over approximately halfway through the cooking time, so it cooks evenly on both sides.
  6. Know when to stop cooking the potato. The microwave should stop before the potato is soft enough for eating and while it is still slightly firm deep inside.
  7. Let the potato rest for five minutes. This allows the core of the potato to finish cooking with the heat that is trapped in the inner layers; this helps it to become fluffy inside without over-drying the outer portion. Wrapping it in aluminum foil after taking it out of the microwave will speed this up.
  8. After waiting for the passive cooking, you now have a baked potato ready to eat.
  9. Cut open the potato and garnish it (optional). Use your choice of butter, parsley, green onions or chives, sour cream, cheese, or crispy bacon. For a complete meal, top the potato with chili or scrambled eggs.

Tips

  • Some microwaves have a "baked potato" button; use that when in doubt.
  • Lengthen the time when using microwaves with less power. An 800 Watt microwave requires 1.5 times the microwaving time.
  • Using a rotating carousel for microwaving is the best way to get the potato evenly cooked all around. If you don't have a rotating carousel, pause your microwave twice during the microwaving time, and manually turn the potato a half turn each time. To decide when to turn the potato, divide the cooking time into 3 fairly equal units.
  • To add flavor to your potato skin, try rubbing the potato with olive oil, kosher salt (or sea salt - you want something rough that will scrape the skin just a little), and basil before you start microwaving it.
  • If you are in a rush, you can cut open the potato immediately after the microwave stops, add your toppings (or not), and then do the final cooking in the microwave by microwaving another 30 to 60 seconds.
  • You may also want to try making yourself a "Potato Sack". Sometimes it makes cooking the potatoes quicker.
  • Make sure the potato has the correct softness when it is first taken out. You can use a fork or sharp knife to test the center. If the potato is too hard, you can microwave it a minute or so longer. If it is already soft enough for eating, cut it open immediately and cook for less time on your next try.
  • You can "boil" potatoes for mashing more or less the same way. Use thin-skinned potatoes and be extra careful not to dry them out. Plastic wrap or simply cooking several in a plastic bag helps.
  • Try using parchment paper to wrap the potato, which can be saved and re-used.


Warnings

  • If you wrap the potato in plastic wrap, take care to use a brand that will not melt. Make sure it is microwave safe.
  • Do not wrap the potato in metal foil while it is inside the microwave; this could cause sparking that damages the interior surface of your microwave.
  • The plate will be rather hot, so use a towel to take out the plate.
  • Do not overcook! Err on the side of under-cooking. Overcooking a potato could burn it or cause it to explode.
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