This simple potato bread recipe creates a dough you keep in the refrigerator then use anytime you’re craving freshly-baked homemade bread or rolls.
Nothing goes better with Irish Lamb Stew for your St. Patrick’s Day feast than thick slices of potato bread slathered in butter. But who has time to bake a fresh loaf of bread on a busy weeknight? You do now that you’ve found my Potato Bread Recipe!
This is one of the first bread recipes I made as a new bride. It came from a 1970s-era Betty Crocker cookbook I’d found at a garage sale, a book that became my cooking Bible for the first several years of marriage.
I lost that cookbook during one of our military moves, and I miss it. With my scribbles on various pages and my husband’s ratings (from 1 to 5 stars) of different recipes, it was a kind of time capsule of our first years together. Slowly but surely, as my cooking skills improved, I’d edit recipes to eliminate things like condensed cream of whatever soups or scads of shortening and replace them with healthier ingredients.
One thing that didn’t change much was this potato bread recipe. Oh, I adjusted the amounts a bit over time and modified the process to make it even faster, but it’s essentially the same potato bread recipe I’ve been making for nearly 20 years now. It’s just that easy and that good.
My favorite part about this recipe is that you can make and refrigerate the dough over the weekend, then pull out enough to make a loaf or pan of rolls throughout the week. Talk about a convenient way to enjoy fresh from the oven bread (and that gorgeous smell) even on busy weeknights! Of course, you can just as easily bake it all at once if you’d prefer — the leftovers freeze beautifully.
Potato Bread Recipe
If you’re the kind of person who always makes far more mashed potatoes than your family can eat at one meal, you’re going to LOVE this recipe! Like Irish Boxty (recipe coming soon), this uses leftover mashed potatoes. It’s even better if you save and use the water you boiled the potatoes in, too.
Unlike trickier bread recipes, you don’t have to feed and proof the yeast or sift ingredients. In a stand mixer, you just add all of the ingredients and begin beating. In a bread machine, follow your manufacturer’s directions about the order — some say to add dry ingredients then liquids, others say just the opposite.
Once you’ve got the ingredients combined, it’s time to start kneading. That’s usually my favorite part of making bread, and I’ve been known to transfer dough from my stand mixer to a well-floured counter because I enjoy kneading dough that much. It’s therapeutic. If you go the manual route be advised that you’ll wind up using more flour, since this is a very sticky dough to work with, and that will lead to a denser, heavier result.
That’s why, with this potato bread recipe, I don’t indulge in kneading by hand. It just changes the bread’s tilth that much. Instead, I let the stand mixer’s dough hook do the work for me — roughly 7 minutes. (If you’re using a bread machine, let it go through the entire kneading cycle but stop it before the rise.)
Once kneaded, transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover it tightly with cling wrap or a lid. Now, refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours — or up to five days!
When you’re ready to bake, you just pinch off as much dough as needed — about 1/2 for a regular sized loaf or 1/3 to make eight rolls in a pie pan. Shape the dough appropriately and let it rise until almost doubled.
Since the dough is cold, letting it rise can take as long as 4 hours. You can speed it up by putting the dough in a warm place, though. I’ve got a microwave oven mounted over my stove with a light beneath it; putting the dough in the microwave with that light on helps it rise in as little as 2 hours. If you’ve got a gas oven, the pilot light alone keeps it warm enough to help the dough rise more quickly, too.
Once the dough has risen, bake loaves for 40 minutes or rolls for 30 then check for doneness by inserting a thermometer in the center. Bread is ready when the temperature reaches 190°F. Since potato bread is more dense and moist than plain flour bread, the old “hollow sound when you tap it” test doesn’t work, but the thermometer doesn’t lie.
Ready to make your own?
Serves: 2 loaves or 16 rolls
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1½ cups lukewarm potato cooking water (plain water can be used)
- 1½ sticks butter, softened (12 tablespoons)
- 2½ teaspoons table salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes, room temperature
- 6-7 cups all purpose flour
- Add, in the order written, all of the ingredients except 1 cup of flour to the bowl of a stand mixer. (If using a bread machine, follow the manufacturer's instructions on the order to add dry and wet ingredients.)
- Set aside the 1 cup of flour.
- Grease the inside of a very large bowl and set it aside.
- Using the flat mixing paddle, beat the ingredients together for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Add the remaining flour as needed until the dough is firm, not runny.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium speed for 5 minutes. If you're using a bread machine, let it complete the kneading cycle but stop the machine before the dough can rise.
- Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and cover it tightly with greased cling wrap or the lid. Refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours and up to 5 days before baking.
- To bake 1 loaf, remove half the dough from the bowl. Shape it into a log and place it in a greased loaf pan. To bake 8 rolls, grease a pie pan and shape the dough into eight 1-inch balls. Arrange these around the edges of the pan, one inch apart, with one in the very center.
- Lightly cover the pan with greased cling wrap and let the dough rise until almost doubled. At room temperature, this can take 4 hours. Placing it in a warm spot reduces the rising time to 2 hours.
- When the rising time is almost over, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the loaf for 40 minutes (30 minutes for rolls) then check for doneness. It is ready when the crust is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the center reads 190°F.
- Remove from oven and place the pan on a rack. For loaves, wait 5 minutes then gently turn the loaf onto the rack to finish cooling. Allow rolls to cool in pan.
- Use remaining dough within 4 days following same directions for rising and baking.