Method 1. The best method, for new potatoes. Select those of uniform size. When scrubbed, place them in a shallow pan, or upon the rack of the oven. The oven should be hot, about 450° F. or even a higher temperature. (See oven tests, Chapter IX (Eggs, Milk, And Cheese).) The length of time required depends upon the size of the potato, forty-five minutes being the average time.
Test by pressing firmly, protecting the fingers by a soft cloth ; or insert a fork. When the potato is done, it yields to the pressure of the fingers. If the potatoes cannot be served at once, break the skin that the steam may escape, cover with a cloth, and keep them hot.
Potato on the half shell carries serving one step farther. Cut the baked potatoes in two lengthwise, remove the contents, mash lightly, add butter or butterine, milk, and salt, allowing a teaspoonful of butter, a tablespoonful of milk and a shake or two of salt to each potato. These measurements cannot be given with exactness, because potatoes vary in size. Beat this mixture well, replace lightly in each half shell, and brown the tops slightly. This is nothing more than mashed baked potato, prettily served.
Method 2. The same as Method 1, except that the potatoes are pared before baking. A good method when the skins are not fair. A brown crust is formed on the potato, which is crisp and pleasant to eat. Large potatoes may be cut in two before baking, or even sliced.
What difference in length of baking will there be between Methods 1 and 2 ?