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I am trying to find a way to mix salt into my mashed potatoes without having unpleasant bits of salt appear in each mouthful.

I usually steam them with their skins-on, before mixing in salt, and vegan butter with a touch of truffle oil.

I have tried:

  1. Whisking the salt into the vegan butter before mixing them into the mash. But I can still taste bits of salt in the mash.

  2. Whisking salt directly into mashed potatoes. This is even worse than 1.

  • 3
    FWIW, I add a splash of soy milk to my mash. I never thought about it, but I suppose the salt dissolves in that. – Strawberry Oct 20 '17 at 9:00
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    Finer ground salt? – pjc50 Oct 20 '17 at 9:09
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    @pjc50 - My first thought was to ask what form the salt is in when OP tries to mix it. Using coarse sea salt is going to have different results than one ground up superfine, as you point out. – PoloHoleSet Oct 20 '17 at 14:52
  • @Strawberry Do you know where does your soy comes from? – Rodrigo Oct 21 '17 at 2:34
  • @Ridrigo, deforested areas of central France, I believe – Strawberry Oct 21 '17 at 2:44
37

Until the salt is dissolved, you will always have the problem of separate grains. It seems that your potatoes are not moist enough for it to happen on its own. And salt won't dissolve in fat.

My suggestion is to choose a liquid - and it can be water, if you insist on staying vegan, else dairy is the typical choice - and dissolve the salt in it. You don't need much, a teaspoonful may be enough. Once you have the salty liquid, mix a small amount of potatoes into the liquid until dispersed. Then add a bit more, repeat, using larger and larger portions of mashed potatoes, until all is mixed. This will give you an even dispersal of the salty taste.

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    This is my preferred method. We used it when I worked in an industrial kitchen, along with using white pepper to season, so as to not mar the appearance with black flecks. It is a great method to prevent salt crystals from remaining, and distributes the flavor better, imo. – Paul Beverage Oct 20 '17 at 0:37
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    This does make sense. I was wondering why I never have that issue myself, and then I realized OP uses VEGAN butter. I checked out some vegan butters, and they all seem to have less water in the mix than dairy-butters! – Layna Oct 20 '17 at 6:00
  • The amount of water in typical butter is enough that you could dissolve about one teaspoon of salt in the water contained in a full half-cup stick of butter. But it's an emulsion, with the water spread very evenly through the butter, so I suspect the solubility gets reduced (no idea how much, could be a lot). And it certainly wouldn't ever be fast; the ideal situation of saturating plain water with salt takes plenty of time/stirring, and a mostly-fat emulsion is far worse. – Cascabel Oct 20 '17 at 21:00
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    Yes, it does. First, the rate of dissolution depends on how concentrated your solute is. Second, with very little water, you run the risk of saturating your salt slurry. So, more water means easier dissolving, but of course the mash will also end up softer. I assumed you don't want this, because your recipe does not have any liquid. – rumtscho Oct 21 '17 at 10:37
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    You can saturate any solution - imagine adding a single drop of water to a cup of salt, the drop can never dissolve all the salt. It will dissolve a certain amount and no more, and then you have a "saturated solution". Any extra salt will remain solid. I don't have it in my head what is the minimum amount of water you have to add to a teaspoon of salt to dissolve it, it might turn out that, say 1:1 doesn't cut it. A "slurry" is when you premix a powder with water so it will be more workable. Maybe not the best term here, because it is more frequently used for powders which don't dissolve. – rumtscho Oct 21 '17 at 11:03
10

I make both vegan, vegetarian (ovo/lacto), and standard mashed potatoes in a few different ways. My favourite way to add salt is to use seasoned stock or demi-glace. There are great vegan and vegetarian options here (including homemade).

You can also grind your salt (assuming it's kosher or sea salt) in a burr grinder, or crush it in a mortar and pestle. Alternative is to use pickling salt, which is ground extra finely to simplify the pickling process. Smaller grains will dissolve in the potatoes faster.

I've also seasoned garlic as it roasted, and included that with olive oil (instead of vegan or regular butter). Season roasted garlic is pretty tasty, and the heat + roasting does pretty well in dissolving the salt. I find that olive oil is pretty great in potatoes as a simpler alternative to any form of butter.

  • Thank you. Is a burr grinder more effective than a regular salt grinder? – user60513 Oct 21 '17 at 10:23
  • Consistency is the main difference (and how long the grinder lasts). Really, though, any grind will do. – Bruce Alderson Oct 23 '17 at 14:46
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Add more salt to the water you boil the potatoes in, or generously salt the tops of the potatoes while they are in the steamer.

Just like pasta, the boiling water is one of the best ways to get flavor into the item.

Unlike pasta, with mashed potatoes you get the ability to add flavor later as you mash, so you can choose salty things to add if you weren't able to get enough salt into the potatoes while boiling.

  • I would add salt to the boiling water but I usually steam the potatoes. The potatoes are also steamed with their skins on, so would salting their tops be really effective? – user60513 Oct 21 '17 at 11:02
  • You may need to experiment to see how much salt gets into the potatoes using that method, but it should be able to get through the skins. Are you removing the skins after steaming? If not the salt on them will incorporate in the mash. – music2myear Oct 21 '17 at 16:43
1

It sounds like you're cooking with rock salt or salt flakes. Just use regular shaker salt. It tastes exactly the same (at least once you've mixed it up in the food) and it'll always be fine enough to mix in immediately.

1

Try heating the butter and truffle oil and add the salt to that. If it does not dissolve then no harm done. You can add additional water until the salt dissolves. Look for a vegan butter with high water content. Soy milk and other vegetable based milks have fairly high water content.

As pointed out in comments I am aware NaCl is does not dissolve in fat as fat is not polar. On the butter it is a package deal. The truffle oil needs to get mixed in so why not mix it in early and it will mix easier hot.

Or start with moister potatoes then cook off liquid to get to the desired moisture.

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    "Solid is more soluble in hotter liquid." unless the material just isn't soluble in that particular liquid. – RonJohn Oct 20 '17 at 9:10
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    @RonJohn No kidding. Question is about salt. – paparazzo Oct 20 '17 at 11:46
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    I second what @Ron said; you aren't going to have any luck trying to dissolve salt in hot butter/oil...unless "heating" involves heating the mixture to over 800°C (the melting point of salt). Then again, at those temperatures, it won't be butter/oil you're dealing with ;) – paracetamol Oct 20 '17 at 13:37
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    First, sald is not soluble in oil. Second, table salt's solubility in water is unusuall in that it is almost independent of temperature. So warming will not help in this case at all. – rumtscho Oct 20 '17 at 14:03
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    @Paparazzi Dispersing finely powdered, high purity dairy salt in solid butter (and subsequently shaping them into sticks/blocks = salted butter at the store) isn't the same as dissolving solid salt in heated (liquid) butter. Kudos for the question though! :) – paracetamol Oct 20 '17 at 16:52
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Not sure how your vegan butter is composed, but could you dissolve the salt into that first? Alternately, you could whiz your salt in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to create a finer grind.

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