‘Roasting oven, ROASTING OVEN? But I want baked not roast potatoes!’ That may be but they are still best prepared in the roasting oven whether cooking a single potato for your lunch or a larger batch to warm-up a crowd after the Bonfire night fireworks display.
While this is a relatively straightforward task there are a few pointers to consider to make sure your baked potatoes are perfect every time.
A single baked potato...
Don’t forget about your potato...
As you know, using the range cooker largely (or totally!) eliminates cooking smells as the ovens are flued to the outside - in our experience this has led to many a forgotten potato being left in the oven. We find it useful to set a timer to remind that the oven is ‘in use’ - after the potato has taken that long to cook we jolly well want to eat it!
Are you in a hurry...?
If you’re after a potato in a hurry you can either cut the potato in half (although not really our preferred method as it’s not really a ‘proper’ baked potato then - we’re traditionalists!) or use a couple of thick metal cooking skewers stuck right through the potato to better conduct heat into the centre.
Are you in a REAL hurry...?
You can speed up the cooking even more by combining simmering and roasting. Cover the potato with boiling water and pop on the simmering plate for around 10 minutes (effectively parboiling - although this does flout the 7-minute rule for using the plates, on this occasion we don’t mind too much). Carefully remove and dry the potato (remember it will be hot) and finish off the cooking on the third set of runners in the Roasting oven for around 30 minutes.
Cooking baked potatoes for a crowd...
The golden rule of cooking baked potatoes if that they must be cooked in a single layer, not piled on top of each other.
You may remember a previous article on the Aga range cooker shielding principle; if you cook two trays of potatoes in the roasting oven at the same time,the top layer will effectively shield the bottom layer from cooking properly (acting a little like a cold shelf). It is important to swap the top and bottom trays around halfway through cooking to make sure they are all perfectly cooked. A full-sized tray of potatoes will take around 1½ - 2 hours to cook; if you need to cook a second tray factor in double the cooking time.
If you need to cook any more than two trays it is best to cook in two batches; the cooked potatoes will happily keep warm for a few hours in the Simmering or Warming Oven until you are ready to eat them.