Better Hash Browns
Why This Recipe Works
Hash browns can be difficult: The potatoes discolor soon after they’re grated, the potato cake falls apart when you try to flip it, and the exterior often burns before the interior is fully cooked. In our recipe, we prevented discoloration by giving the grated potatoes a quick rinse in salted water. This also seasoned the potatoes perfectly and lowered the gelatinization temperature of the potato starch, which helped the shreds stick together. After squeezing excess water out of the potatoes, we parcooked them in the microwave, which removed more moisture and jump-started the gelatinization process so that the potatoes were cohesive even before they went into the skillet. Molding the hash browns in a cake pan meant we didn’t have to fiddle with sticky potatoes in a pan of hot oil. It also made a smoother potato cake that was less likely to stick to the pan, so we could use less oil.