Rosti and me

Joined May 29, 2002
Ok, I admit defeat. I have been trying on and off for a long time to produce a perfect rosti (implied umlaut) and still that golden brown, crusty cake with the moist interior eludes me.
I have tried:

Start with the grated potato as is to keep the starch
Start with the potato washed and dried to get rid of the starch
Start with the potato unwashed with some melted butter mixed in
Start with the potato washed with some melted butter mixed in

Cook in non-stick pan with a smidgen of oil
Cook in non-stick pan with more oil
Cook in non-stick pan with a smidgen of butter
Cook in non-stick pan with a more butter

Cook over low heat
Cook over medium heat to start and then low heat
Cook over low heat to start and then medium heat

Combinations of all the above with every kind of potato known to mankind.

Before finally removing rosti from my repertoire, can some kind soul impart the secret (if there is one) to me.
Maybe I should just accept that I was not meant to be a fighter pilot, a brain surgeon, a violin virtuoso or a person who can produce the prefect rosti.........
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Wow! Sounds like you've tried everything! Well, almost.

I looked up in Gisslen's Professional Cooking. They recommend to boil and cool the potatoes before you grate them. I'm not sure I agree with that, but it would give you a soft product inside while crisping up oustside.

When I have technical difficulties with basics, I often like to see what Alton Brown has to say. Here's how he makes his: Alton Brown's roesti .

I haven't made roesti for a while. Let me try them and get back to you...


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I've attempted them twice and they were both failures. So I'll have to try Alton's method.

Joined Mar 3, 2002
Wow! you're to be commended for determination. I've not made them yet, but have been collecting some recipes, trying to figure out what to do. My mother used to make them (individually), going from the raw shreds, but as I didn't especially like them as a child I never bothered to watch her technique.

I've stored up a couple recipes thinking I'd tackle these when the weather shifts. So I'll share. Some call for boiling or parboiling, some for rinsing several times, some for soaking the starch off, draining and returning the starch to the potatoes, some for washing an removing as much water as possible. So confusing. You've got me revved up, but it's too hot for roesti potatoes!

Kamman's "making of a cook" (p 416-7) has a recipe for "Swiss Roesti: that uses 1 1/2 cups shredded boiled potatoes : 1/4 cup lard, butter, or oil, cooked in a 9" nonstick or cast iron pan in a large cake til it forms a crust, flipping and repeat crusting. She has another, "Shredded Potato Pancakes" that calls for 6 medium Yukons : 1/2 cup clarified butter or oil. Shred into cold water, wash & drain a total of 3 times til no starch is visible. Dry in towels. Season and shape into 6-12 patties cooking in bubbling butter (or oil) over medium high heat 15-20 minutes.

I also have recipes on file which I believe are from the NYTimes (maybe Gourmet) which I include below and an URL for Pepin's:

x (claiborne's famous meal at Chez Denis
1 lb russet potatoes
½ lemon
1 medium black truffle sliced thin
½ stick butter
4 Tbs vegetable oil
Peel potatoes and drop into acidulated water. Grate potatoes coarse and return them to the bowl of water. Let stand 3 minutes; transfer with slotted spoon to kitchen towel, spreading them out on the towel and patting them dry. Pour off water in bowl slowly, being careful to save the white residue of potato starch at the bottom; in bowl combine shredded potatoes, the starch, and the truffle.
In well seasoned crepe pan (6") heat 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs oil over moderate heat til foam subsides; add 1/4 potato mixture and flatten with spatula. Season potato cake with salt and pepper and cook it, pressing it down with the spatula occasionally for 3 - 5 minutes or til underside is golden. Turn cake and cook it, pressing it down with the spatula occasion dfor 3 - 5 minutes til underside is golden. Transfer cake to ovenproof platter, keep it warm, uncovered, in preheated 200f oven and continue t make cakes with remaining potato mixture, butter, and oil in the same manner, serving 4.

½ lb russet potato, in 1" cubes
1/4 ½ and 1/ cream
4 tbs flour
1 egg
2 tbs chopped onion
1/2tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
Veg oil for brushing griddle
2 tbs grated Parmesan
Heat griddle til hot enough to fizzle water. Puree potato with cream, flour, egg onion salt, baking powder, stopping and scraping down sides a couple times.; transfer to small bowl --will not be entirely smooth. Brush griddle with oil and spoon batter in level Tbs onto griddle, spreading it with back of spoon to form pancakes 3" diameter. Cook pancakes 45 seconds to 1 minute or til the undersides are golden brown, turn with spatula and cook 45 seconds to 1 minute more or til undersides are golden brown. Transfer with spatula to heated platter. Repeat til finished. Serve immediately or sprinkle with Parmesan and heat in 400 oven for 5 - 10 minutes til Parmesan is melted. Makes about 18. Serves 4 as side dish.

ROSTI: 10-87 serves 4 - 6
1 ½ lb large russets
½ cup minced onion
3/4 stick butter
garnish: crumbled bacon
Bring water to boil and simmer potatoes 20 minutes (only partially cooked through). Drain; cool; chill overnight; peel; grate coarse with hand grater. Combine with onion, salt, and pepper. In 9" non stick skillet, heat 4 Tbs butter over moderately high heat til it turns a light brown. Do not burn. Pour half of it over the potato mixture and toss well. Return skillet to heat add potato mixture, spreading it evenly and tamping it down; cook over moderate heat 10-15 minutes til underside is golden brown. Remove skillet from heat, invert heatproof plate over skillet and with pot holders invert the rosti onto the plate. Add remaining 2 Tbs butter to skillet, heat over moderately high heat til it turns light brown and slide it onto a heated platter. Serve rosti cut in wedges, sprinkled with bacon. Serves 4 as luncheon entree or 6 as side dish.

1 large round white potato (brown skinned and not thin skinned)
nutmeg or crumbled dried thyme
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs sour cream or to taste
3 Tbs grated Gruyere or jarlsberg
Peel potato, sliced very thin, dropped into ice water. Drain and pat dry on paper towels. In bowl, toss with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. In well seasoned 6" crepe pan, heat half the butter and oil over moderate heat til foam subsides, arranging slices in pan, overlapping them to form an even cake pressing them down with a spatula and cook covered, pressing down occasionally with the spatula for 5 minutes or til underside is golden brown. Slide onto plate, add remaining oil and butter to pan, restore pancake to pan to cook other side. Cook 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Can serve with sour cream or use as element in other more complex dishes.
Joined May 29, 2002
"Thanks so far, guys" he said, furrowing his brow. "There are some new things here -recombine the starch,chill overnight(!!?),
acidulated water"
"However, " he mused, waggled his spatula at the screen "did you notice the 'til underside is golden brown'? How do I know whether the underside is golden brown without flipping the darn thing? As a purist, I will, of course, eschew the flour and par-boiling."
Joined May 3, 2002
ok, I have made different types of Rösti.

try raw potatoes, peel and grate them with normal grater.
add one egg yolk for every 2 medium potatoes. salt and pepper.
hot pan with olive oil or butter, take a small hand of rösti and lightly squeeze out extra juice, make into round thin shape and fry in pan.

it works.

I have also made it with cooked potatoes but its more difficult to find the correct texture. I have also seen cooks add some potatoe starch when needed but I would only recommend this rarely.
good luck.
Joined May 29, 2002
Pinarello, I can see the egg yolk doing the trick, binding-wise, but does that mean that the feat cannot be accomplished au naturel, as it were?
I still remember that little cafe in Zurich, on the edge of the lake, a perfect rosti, a Rhine Riesling........
Joined Dec 30, 1999

"How do I know whether the underside is golden brown without flipping the darn thing?"

Just take a thin spatula and gently raise up one edge to peek underneath after you think it's had enough time to become golden to verify...
Joined May 29, 2002
cchiu, that presupposes that you have a coherent mass the edge of which is 'liftable'. So far, all I have achieved is lifting some loose particles around the edge - not particularly informative.........
Joined May 18, 2001
I use high water-content, new potatos; nonstick pan; medium heat; and goose fat. Potatoes cooked in goose fat crisp easily and like to sick together.
Joined May 18, 2001
Anneke: I'm not sure but I've done a fair amount of cooking in the Jura (which borders Switzerland) and I've noticed that the new potatoes used there for rösti potatoes are usually high water content potatoes. The closest I've found in my neck of the woods are Yukon Golds.
Joined Dec 30, 1999

LOL! I was responding to your "How do I know whether the underside is golden brown without flipping the darn thing?..."

Of course it will depend on your successes in attempting the new methods of suggestions being introduced here...

Joined Mar 13, 2001
It would be such a pity for you to remove rosti from your repertoire. Here's how I do it, and it works every time, promise.

1. Start with uncooked--unwashed--grated potato; place into a dishtowel and ring to death (hubby does this for me 'cos he has stronger hands...);

2. Melt some unsalted butter with oil in a non-stick pan, medium heat; once the foam dies down, put your potatoes in, flatten and add a few pieces of cold butter around the edge; salt and pepper to taste;

3. Cover. Every minute or so, wipe the inside of the cover and do this for about 7 to 10 minutes; shake the pan once in a while to ensure that your potato won't stick; next, as cchiu pointed out, "Just take a thin spatula and gently raise up one edge to peek underneath after you think it's had enough time to become golden to verify..." the color;

4. Flip it; I use my lid (which is flat) or use a plate to turn it;

5. Brown the second side without a lid, shaking the pan once in a while to ensure that your potatoes won't stick. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes (it's hard for me to be exact because I never time this) but you will be able to judge if it's cooked or not.

Transfer to a plate or a cutting board and make wedges with a pizza wheel.

I sincerely hope it works for you.
Joined Mar 13, 2001

The potatoes I buy on a regular basis are Red and Yukon Gold. It seems to work with both varieties. I have no idea if the Red has a high moisture content though.
Joined May 29, 2002
Ok. On this day, the 12 of June in the year 2002, I shall make one last determined effort to attain the golden fleece.. er..rosti. Being a methodical sort of person, I have planned a careful campaign, based on the advice so kindly offered.
1. Launch an expedition to find potatoes with a high water content. I shall do this by buying all the different kinds I can find and then conduct a salt bath specific gravity test to find the least dense one (therefore highest water content).
2. Follow Kimmie's recipe, but replace the butter and oil with duck fat (goose fat is difficult to obtain hereabouts, bouland).

You will be the first to know the outcome.
Joined May 3, 2002
talking about the water content.
I remember I had peeled potatoes, soaked them in water then sliced very thinly with mandoline and each slice was placed in a hot pan (with oil) each new slice added overlapped a bit with the last one creating a circle, then cooked golden brown and flipped over, this was of course very time consuming during service but it worked out, most of the time anyway.
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