Photo: Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott
Drying the cooked potatoes in the pan means that they'll absorb that much more flavor from your herb-infused dairy. Don't skip this step!
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" pieces
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 sprigs thyme (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover by 1". Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender but not saturated or crumbly, 20-25 minutes (boiling will lead to waterlogged pieces).
Drain potatoes, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid if making potatoes ahead. Return potatoes to pot and set over low heat. Gently stir until dry, about 1 minute.
Meanwhile, heat milk, thyme sprigs, if desired, bay leaves, and 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
Pass hot potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl (if allowed to cool, the potatoes will become gummy).
Remove herbs from warm milk mixture; discard. Gradually add milk mixture to potatoes, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth; season with salt and pepper.
Serve mashed potatoes with a few pats of butter on top.
Do Ahead: Potatoes can be made 4 hours ahead. Pass through ricer into a large pot and cover. Just before serving, reheat over low, gently stirring in reserved potato cooking liquid as needed to loosen.