Use A Bench Scraper For Better Loaded Potatoes

The bench scraper is a misunderstood tool. Unlike flashier kitchen gadgets and single-purpose gizmos, bench scrapers don't look like much — picture a rectangular piece of metal with a handle. The reality, though, is that the tool is actually pretty versatile. It can cut dough, transfer chopped ingredients, smash aromatics, and even clean work surfaces. Yet, the best application for the humble bench scraper may be priming potatoes destined to be loaded with tasty toppings.

Post-bake, spuds need to be sliced before any ingredients can be added. While you could stop there, simply cutting a spud in half is a cop-out. Since part of the appeal of a baked potato is its texture, it's important to fluff up the flesh. Otherwise, you'll be left with something reminiscent of a boring boiled tater, void of any characteristic creaminess. Although you could use a fork to help break up tender potato innards, we recommend reaching for a bench scraper instead.

After using the tool to slice the potato lengthwise, a bench scraper can also expose more of the spud's soft interior by making a few horizontal cuts. In addition to giving potatoes a texturing-improving mash, the greatest benefit of working with a bench scraper is that it greatly maximizes surface area. By effortlessly breaking up the potato's interior and creating a nearly flat base in the process, this allows more toppings to be added, giving ingredients a better opportunity to fully seep into every nook and cranny of the potato.

What to remember when prepping potatoes with a bench scraper

Using a bench scraper will be helpful regardless of how many additions you incorporate into your baked spud. However, it's still wise to start off on the right foot. Rather than opting for teeny tiny taters, choose larger potatoes that can be more easily filled — we're big fans of sturdy, yet fluffy russets. After baking them for the appropriate length of time, slice them quickly so as not to give them the chance to steam and turn gummy. Likewise, limit the number of movements you make with the scraper as you don't want to end up with a completely pulverized potato.

The bench scraper tip for priming baked potatoes for toppings is always a good idea, but it's especially useful when dealing with bulkier additions like a scoop of hearty chili or a generous dollop of seafood salad. Given how effective the tool is in multiplying surface area, this hack makes sense when crafting abundantly, totally, and fully-stuffed spuds like a pizza-inspired potato layered with marinara, mozzarella, and the works.

At the end of the day, the bench scraper proves itself to be a worthy investment. Not only will it make prepping baked potatoes (and toppings) a breeze, but it'll allow for a limitless number of additions to be piled on, ensuring that your loaded potato creation is more drool-worthy than you ever could have imagined.