Breads and Crackers · Potatoes

Potato Bread

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This batch was for Bill.  He wanted a soft bread, something good for sandwiches. 

And I had potatoes.


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The recipe is from one of my favorite bread books, George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker, on pages 51-53 (at least in the edition I have).  I made one little minor change to the recipe, which I've indicated below.

Mr. Greenstein had this to say about Potato Bread:

Long before the invention of modern yeast, potatoes and the starchy water in which they are boiled were used to leaven bread.  Today we use the potatoes and their boiling water for the flavor and tenderness they impart to the finished bread.  Potato breads keep exceptionally well in the bread box or refrigerator and can be frozen.  Friends in the Midwest still compete at fairs and food shows,  justifiably proud of their potato breads, some of which come from family recipes handed down through the generations.  My father often spoke about potato breads that were baked in Europe when he was a young man.  Although we now have potato flour, starch, and instant flakes available for baking, I like this recipe using fresh mashed potatoes and the water in which they cooked.  You can use instant mashed potatoes but you do not get the benefits of the potato water.

This recipe provides two loaves of soft but substantial bread,

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just perfect for sandwiches or toast. 

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Shall we?  Mr. Greenstein's instructions are in bold, and my commentary is in italics throughout the recipe.

Here's what you'll need:

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1 medium potato

 2  1/2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup warm water*

2 packages active dry yeast

2 T unsalted butter or shortening, at room temperature (I used butter)

2 T sugar

1/3 cup skim milk powder*

5 to 6 cups unbleaches all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

Flour, for dusting work top

Vegetable oil, for coating bowl

Shortening, for greasing pans

Water or melted butter, for brushing loaves (I'm not sure why – it wasn't mentioned in the instructions)

    *I substituted a quarter cup of warm 2% milk for the water and skim milk powder.

Got everything ready?  Okay, let's make some bread.

Wash and thoroughly scrub the potato, then cook in the boiling water until soft (approximately 10 minutes) (actually, it took longer than that with my potato, fyi).

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Drain, reserving 2 cups potato water.  Peel the potato, mash, and set aside to cool.  Extra potato water can be refrigerated and used in any yeast recipe for added nutritive value and tenderizing power.  (I boiled off a bit too much water, so I just added a little plain water to the potato water to make it 2 cups even.)

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Dough

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In a large bowl sprinkle the yeast over the 1/4 cup warm water (in my case, the warm milk); stir to dissolve. 

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Stir together the cooled mashed potato and butter and add to the bowl together with the 2 cups reserved potato water. 

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Add the sugar, milk powder (unless you're me) 5 cups flour, and salt.  Stir until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time if necessary.

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(And you might want to WAKE UP, JAYNE and switch to a dough hook before you go any farther.  Duh.)

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Potato dough will remain a little sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough feels smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes). 

(I used my stand mixer for the whole kneading process.)

Rising

Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled mixing bowl and turn to coat. 

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Cover and set aside until the dough doubles in volume. 

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Punch down, cut in half, shape into two balls, and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes. 

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(tick tock tick tock)

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Shaping

Press down each ball and shape into a pan loaf. 

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Place into 2 greased 8- or 9-inch loaf pans, cover, and set aside to proof until the breads come up above the tops of the pans. 

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Dust with flour and cut a deep slash down the length of each loaf.

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Baking

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until the bread has a hollow sound when the bottom is tapped with your fingertips (about 50 minutes). 

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The sides should feel firm.  If necessary return the bread to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.  If using tiles or an oven stone, finish the bread on them for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans and let cool on a wire rack.

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When cooled to room temperature, slice – and enjoy!

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31 thoughts on “Potato Bread

  1. I don’t know. Maybe to retain it’s potatoey flavor? I was just following the instructions, and since I wasn’t told to cut up the potato, I didn’t. It wasn’t a big deal – I was puttering around doing other things while the potato cooked.

  2. Your bread looks perfect. Thanks for the detailed instructions and pictures. I’ve been trying to bake my own bread every week and have been wanting to try potato bread.

  3. Nice looking bread! I didn’t know that you could keep extra potato water in the refrigerator. I’m making mashed potatoes tonight and will save the water for my future breads. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I’m thinking that if you aren’t going to use the water within, say, 5 days, you might want to freeze it. Not sure how long it will stay good in the fridge beyond that.

  5. About cooking that potato whole and with the skin: the reason why? Because cut-up potato soaks up water and becomes, well – a watery mess. A baked tater would work as well, but then you wouldn’t have the tater water. Making mashed taters the cut-up-boiled way doesn’t result in nearly the tasty taters a baked tater does.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, and we enjoyed reading your others, can’t wait to try them. We had some problem with the loaves not rising once we put them in the oven. They looked perfect going in and we were so excited until we took them out. What could we have done, or what should we try?

  7. Hi Lori,

    Did the loaves flatten when you put them in the oven, or did they just not rise any higher? How long did they rise in the pans (or on the baking sheet) before you put them in?

    Just trying to figure out what happened…

  8. The loaves had risen to the the top of the bread pans and looked just like the photo of your bread. I slit them and put them in the oven. They did not rise any more while they were baking. They actually fell a little. They taste great, they are just short and squatty little loaves. Not real good for a hearty sandwich. Haha!The crust is also very done and I didn’t cook them as long as you had recommended because when I cheked them they were looking burned. I don’t know what I did wrong. Thanks so much for your help and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

  9. This turned out amazing. So soft and tender and they rose SO HIGH in the oven! I make other breads but this was my first go at potato bread. I was shocked that it rose so quickly! Id say double the speed of normal white or wheat bread. Do you think thats because of the potatoes? Also, do you think, since im accustomed to a slower rise I could halve the yeast and allow it to rise more slowly. not that it bothered me. the bread is AMAZING. It put a big smile on my husband’s face 🙂

  10. the instructions should say “add the flour, then the salt” or “mix flour and salt first then add” or something like that, instead of “and salt”. I added salt first and think I killed the yeast – how frustrating… it’s my fault, I should have known better…

  11. sasha, Im sorry the salt killed your yeast. Its not my recipe – as I mentioned in the post, the recipe is from George Greensteins book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. The instructions are his, verbatim, not mine.

  12. I would think it is ok to use honey instead of sugar? And why not salted butter and then using less salt in the recipe?

  13. I love this bread! Made it on Monday, and we’re already out! About to make 4 loaves today. My 3 teenage sons can’t get enough! First thing they said when they came home from school yesterday was “can we have that bread?” A keeper!

  14. This is wonderful bread. I’m making it for the third time today. I use salted butter (and less salt) and use honey instead of sugar because honey acts as a preservative. If you use honey in your bread, it keeps fresh for a long time without developing mold. Not that this particular bread is in need of preserving — it’s eaten up long before that! Great recipe!

  15. I would love to know your substitution measurements (for honey and the salted butter). I love using honey to make bread, but so far I have only followed recipes that use it.

  16. Love this bread! i’ve never been able to make a bread that worked well for sandwiches, but this certainly does! Thanks for sharing!

  17. May I know how many cups of mashed potato are in 1 medium potato? I just started baking bread and not really familiar with how big (or heavy) a medium potato is, being Asian and all. I really would want to make this coz my family prefers potato bread over white bread.

    Thank you.

  18. Hi Khristine,

    A medium potato, once its mashed, would be around a cup to a cup and a quarter. A little more or less wont matter either way in your bread. Hope you and your family enjoy the bread!

  19. Love, love, love this recipe! Wanting to get my family off of all the processed food out there. I have been experimenting with breads that my kids will eat. My little guy LOVES this bread! Thank you for a bread that my finicky eater loves! Next time I make it, I am going to try and make rolls out of the same dough!

  20. For honey substitutions I use 1/4 cup of honey or even agave nectar. I like the taste of honey but the yeast loves Agave nectar!!!!

    use 1/4 cup of butter. We make our own butter and salt it lightly to sweeten it. I didn’t use less salt and the bread rose wonderfully.

  21. I was wondering the same thing; thanks for your answer! I’m going to use leftover mashed potatoes to use in this recipe. thanks! 😀

  22. Sounds like the oven may of been too hot. The heat may of killed off the yeast before it had a chance to rise during baking.

  23. Outstanding recipe. I made one loaf and with the remainder of the dough I used for cinnamon rolls. Spread softened butter on dough rolled out. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mixed. Rolled the dough up tightly land sliced into 10 rolls and placed in greased 8 inch square pan. Let rise and bake approximately 25 minutes or until 180 degrees. Drizzle with powdered sugar. Love this recipe

  24. Sometimes my mom would bake bread at 375-degrees for the first 10 minutes to get a nice oven spring, then turn the temp down to 350 for the rest of the baking. This might help.

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