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I don't want to add egg to bind hash browns. What is the best way to bind hash brown without the eggs?

My first thoughts are should I still grate the potato, or boil first to soften to enable them to bind?

  • Just a guess-baking soda? – Simon Kuang Jun 25 '14 at 3:26
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I follow Alton Brown's recipe from Good Eats for grated (the only way!) hash browns and never have problems with it binding. It's from the episode "Another Man Food Show: Breakfast" if you want to search it out. He talks on the show about why the type of potato matters and recommends a high starch potato like an Idaho or Russet. I use Russets as they're readily available here and never have any issues.

Summary of the cooking process:

  1. 10 inch cast iron skillet to medium low. I think I've tried it in a non-stick skillet and while it cooks, you don't get the same browning.
  2. Grate potato with large grater. Squeeze out the water from the grated potato. I use my hands, he uses a tea towel.
  3. Add bacon fat to the skillet. Scatter the potato evenly and cook for 5 minutes without touching it at all. I compress them down a little bit after I've scattered them.
  4. Turn down the heat, flip and cook for another 5 minutes. I flip it by sliding it onto a plate, flipping it in the air there, and then sliding it back on. Using a second plate to flip it might be easier.

Notes:

  • I think the biggest thing is the type of potato. I tried it a few times with some other potato because I had them on hand, and it turned out terrible. I've also tried with previously boiled potatoes, and it was even worse.
  • Not touching is important too. You want to give them time to stick together.
  • I would like to add emphasis to using a cast iron skillet for proper browning and crispness. Also - why are you using a plate to do the flipping rather than a frying spatula? – jsanc623 Jun 23 '14 at 15:17
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    Because I find it easier to flip with a plate then with a spatula. I make less of a mess, especially if I want the hashbrown to bind together. – talon8 Jun 23 '14 at 16:52
  • Ah oops. I read this as separate (smaller) hash browns :) not one large one – jsanc623 Jun 23 '14 at 17:34
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    If you find the potatoes too starchy, soak them for 30 min in cold water, then drain and dry. The tea towel method - spread out and wrap the potatoes in a tea towel and then twist the towel tightly as if you were "wringing it out", squeezing as much water from them as you can (over the sink). – Michael E. Jun 23 '14 at 18:19
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Try this really simple technique I discovered in a hash brown recipe once: Place grated potato into a bowl. Sprinkle salt over (about a teaspoon), mix salt through the potato and leave for a few minutes. Pick up handfuls of potato and squeeze excess moisture out until you've done all the potato.

The salt draws out the liquid. This seems to make the potato stick together really well.

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