A baked potato, or jacket potato, is a potato that has been baked for eating. When well cooked, a baked potato has a fluffy interior and a crisp skin. It may be served with fillings and condiments such as butter, cheese or ham. Potatoes can be baked in a conventional gas or electric oven, a convection oven, a microwave oven, on a barbecue grill, or on/in an open fire. Some restaurants use special ovens designed specifically to cook large numbers of potatoes, then keep them warm and ready for service.
Prior to cooking, the potato should be scrubbed clean, washed and dried with eyes and surface blemishes removed, and basted with oil (usually Olive oil) or butter and/or salt. Pricking the potato with a fork or knife allows steam to escape during the cooking process. Potatoes cooked in a microwave oven without pricking the skin might split open due to built up internal pressure from unvented steam. It takes between one and two hours to bake a large potato in a conventional oven at 200 °C (392 °F). Microwaving takes from six to twelve minutes depending on oven power and potato size, but does not generally produce a crisp skin. Some recipes call for use of both a microwave and a conventional oven, with the microwave being used to vent most of the steam prior to the cooking process.
1 large russet potato
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash the potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork, poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the potato so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place it in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with the salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath becomes soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. There will be some steam, so be careful.