Approximately 60 minutes baking time for one medium-sized potato is required. Added baking time will be required for additional and/or larger potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Baked Potato Requirements:
A medium-sized baking potato is the best choice for baking. Russet potatoes are the preferred choice of many serious potato bakers due to their crisp skin after baking. The best potatoes of any variety will have an even brownish skin color. It is best to avoid any appearance of green on the potato.
Cooking oil: olive oil or canola oil is generally considered best to use.
A cookie sheet
A sharp knife or fork
A vegetable brush
Give your potatoes the brush: a vegetable brush. Lacking a vegetable brush, a sponge will also do the job. Scrub the potato’s skin and rinse thoroughly, being sure to remove all dirt and any eyes. Use fork or knife to pierce the potato several times in order to release steam during baking. This will help to prevent the potato from cracking. Coat the potato thoroughly with cooking oil. Some people prefer to wrap potatoes in aluminum foil. Technically, this is steaming the potato rather than baking.
In a two rack oven, place the potato directly on the rack. Slide the potato on the second oven rack under the potato. In a one rack oven, place potato directly on the cookie sheet and place inside the oven.
Bake the potato for thirty to forty minutes. Turn the potato over and continue baking until the potato pierces easily. The skin should be puffy, crisp and golden-brown. The potato will be easy to press in, and contents of the potato should appear fluffy. Be careful in handling or touching any baked potato as they can retain heat for a long time.
Butter, margarine, cheese and added ingredients may be melted/cooked with the potato after the potato has been thoroughly baked.
Microwave Baked Potato
Microwaving potatoes does not consistently produce a baked quality potato. Microwaving also destroys a lot of the potato nutrients in the skin. On the plus side, microwaving is a much faster means to “bake” a potato.
Scrub the potato as has been described for an oven-baked potato. Do not coat the potato in oil. Dry the potato thoroughly. Pierce the potato several times on each side. This will prevent the potato bursting. Wrap the potato in a paper napkin or towel. Microwave the potato for six to eight minutes depending upon size.
When the skin pierces easily without resistance, the potato will be finished cooking. Be careful in handling any hot potato.