I guarantee these will be better than any steakhouse mashed potatoes you have ever had!
Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place them in a pot and cover them with cold water.
Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until the potatoes are tender, but not over-saturated, about 20-25 minutes.
Drain and the potatoes to a pot and set them over low heat. Gently stir until they're dry, about 1-2 minutes.
In a saucepan, heat milk, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and butter. Once the butter melts, remove from heat.
Pass the hot potatoes through a ricer into a bowl. Do not let the potatoes cool first. They must be hot.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the warm milk mixture and discard.
Gradually mix the milk mixture into the potatoes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with butter and chives, if desired.