I have been trying to prepare rösti a number of times these last few weeks with meager results. I have tried both making fresh rösti from grated potatoes and using vacuumed ready-to-fry rösti from the supermarkert.
Grating potatoes myself took a lot of time and yielded the worst results, so I will describe my issue based on the slightly better experience I had with processed mixes (according to the package those only contain potatoes and vegetable oil).
- The rösti tends to stay too fluffy, and when pressed with a spatula (tried metal, plastic, and wood) constantly sticks to it - so that I cannot compact the mixture well.
- The lower layer of the rösti became somewhat robust a couple of times, but trying to lift it from the pan to turn it around always broke the rösti into bits.
- I can't seem to find an optimal ammount of pressing the rösti together: press too much and the rösti sticks to my spatula as well as to the bottom of the pan, press it too little and it doesn't clunk together well.
I am sure at least my "sticking" problems could be diminished by more advanced kitchen utensils (not that mine are bad, but they are definitely not chef-grade ^^), still, seeing as this is a traditional dish which peasants likely prepared in iron pans, I would expect it to be comparably easy to omelettes. What am I missing? And no, oiling the pan better doesn't help, the oil just gets absorbed by the rösti and makes them fattier.