Preheat oven to 400°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly. Partially mash potatoes, including skins, with a potato masher; set aside.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to bacon drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add salt, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté 2 minutes. Add potato, milk, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, if desired. Top individual servings with bacon, green onions, and cheese.