Cook the potatoes: Peel and cut potatoes into big pieces (that can fit in the palm of your hand). Place in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover the potatoes by an inch or so. Bring to a simmer and add 4 pinches of salt, a bay leaf and a smashed clove of garlic. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
Potatoes are done when the tip of a knife yields a firm, not mushy texture. Drain the potatoes, discard the bay leaf, and toss the potatoes back into the pan over low heat to dry them out.
Assemble the mashed potatoes: Pass the potatoes through a ricer and add them back into the warm saucepan. Add butter and stir to melt and combine with the potatoes. Add the milk in two additions, continuing to stir the entire time. Taste and season with more salt. Serve immediately.