Put the cut potatoes into a large pot, cover them with cold water, and add salt and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well and remove the bay leaves. Meanwhile, in a small pot heat the cream, butter, garlic, thyme, and remaining bay leaves. While the potatoes are still warm, press them through a potato ricer or food mill into a mixing bowl. Add the warm cream, straining out the solids, a bit at a time until the potatoes are fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir in the chives. Serve immediately.