Baked Potatoes for a Crowd
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Need to bake potatoes for a crowd or large group of 20, 50, or more people? You can actually bake potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm for up to 6 hours before you need to have them ready. Here's how.
How Do You Choose the Right Potatoes for Baking?
When you are going to bake a lot of potatoes at one time, try to pick out potatoes of similar size so that the potatoes will bake evenly in the oven. Large potatoes will take a lot longer to bake than smaller ones.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Normally you would bake the potatoes at 400 degrees, but when you are cooking this many potatoes at one time it would take them too long to bake at that temperature.
How Do You Prepare Potatoes for Baking?
Wash the potatoes well and scrub them with a vegetable brush. Lightly coat the potatoes with olive oil or vegetable oil and cover them with a light coating of sea salt. Gently prick each potato with a fork a couple of times.
Place the prepared potatoes on a large baking sheet, making sure that none of the potatoes are touching each other. You can cook more than one baking sheet of potatoes at a time, so place as many potatoes in the oven as you have room for.
How Long Does it Take to Bake Potatoes?
It takes about an hour for potatoes to bake all the way through. Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes on one side and then turn them over and bake them for 30 more minutes. The potatoes are done when you can easily stick a fork into them.
While the potatoes are baking fill a cooler half full of hot water and let it sit until the potatoes are done. When the potatoes come out of the oven, pour the hot water out of the cooler and quickly place the baked potatoes in the warmed cooler.
If you need to bake a second batch of potatoes, bake them and then place them in the cooler with the first batch. If you keep the cooler closed, the potatoes will stay warm up to 6 hours.
Note: Some people like to bake potatoes with foil wrapped around them. This is fine if you are going to eat the potatoes right away, but it is not a good idea to use foil to store the potatoes in for hours at a time because bacteria can grow in the foil and possibly cause someone to get sick when they eat them.
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