Have you ever bought potato bread at the grocery store? You can get a traditional sliced loaf or hamburger buns. I used to love to grab a loaf if I was feeling like I wanted something different and special. With that in mind, I set myself the task of making my own with the bread machine dough cycle. However, I was not expecting it to be as much of a challenge as it was to create EXACTLY what I wanted.
I spent almost a whole week researching every recipe I could get my hands on. I tried a few, adapted a couple more. Nothing gave me the flavor and texture I wanted. There had to be a recipe I could create that blew the store-bought stuff out of the water.
I exclusively use the dough cycle in my 2-pound bread machine and have done since I bought it. In my experience a lot of the recipes that I was making were specifically written to be mixed and baked in the machine. Not that there is anything wrong with set it and forget it, but I believe it can be used for convenience, much like a stand mixer. With this convenience you can have the best of both worlds, delicious bread and more free time.
If you have trouble with your hands & wrists or simply love a more hands off approach to the dough mixing process, then this little kitchen appliance is a miracle worker. For myself, it is a little bit of both, so with that in mind I set out to either find or develop recipes that suit my needs. Not just in the end result of the loaf, but in the process of making it. I want fresh bread, I need something easier, but I still want to get my hands in the dough and add those special touches that make it something truly special.
This soft & fluffy bread uses whole potato, not the instant flakes. There’s a time and place for those recipes but I wanted the texture and the nutrients from fresh ingredients. Getting it right involves two little tricks that I stumbled upon by accident and soon discovered that making this bread without them simply did not work out. So please don’t skip the extra steps. I promise the end result is DELICIOUS and still very easy!
What You’ll Need
2-Pound Bread Machine- This recipe makes a very large amount of dough. Unbaked, it rises up to the lid. I have made the recipe several times and the weight ranges from 1009 grams-1015 grams. By using the dough cycle and without baking in the machine, I can maximize the amount of dough made in one batch. Such a big amount of dough gives me one large loaf or other variations such as a smaller loaf with rolls & buns. Potato Bread Buns pair perfectly with my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
Russet Potatoes- Potatoes are a good source of potassium, folate, vitamins C and B6. This is yet another reason why I was determined to make a recipe with fresh potato vs instant. My family eats a lot of bread and healthier options are always on the top of my list if I am able.
For this recipe you will only need one very large or two smaller potatoes. I like to be extra cautious and cook two potatoes so I am sure I have enough. If you have extra, you can save it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can also make another loaf of bread or use it to help thicken soups and stews.
HOW TO PREPARE: Peel, rinse, and cut the potatoes into cubes. Boil in about 4-5 cups of water for roughly 15-20 minutes until soft. Strain off and reserve the liquid.
Do not salt the water, we just need plain potatoes here. I like the idea of making the potatoes when I bake bread rather than use pre-seasoned leftovers from dinner. It gives me the versatility to choose my toppings and I could even make sweet rolls if I wanted to. Hint, hint.
After you have drained the water, mash the potatoes with a fork. Removing any large chunks. They should still be slightly fluffy, like riced potatoes.
Reserved Potato Water- I tried other liquids when developing this recipe and this final try had the best crust without spraying with water or doing anything special. It also had that perfect texture, a soft bread with structure and the fluff that you love to see in a dinner roll. It’s just perfect.
You can keep the remaining water in the fridge for up to one week to use in other bread recipes. It’s fantastic, nutritious, and cost effective. Win, win.
Honey- Yet another component that makes this bread off the charts tender.
Bread Flour- This is a must. Because it is such a soft bread, you really do need the structure it provides. You can also use all-purpose, it does work. Don’t let it ever stop you from making bread, I do it all the time. Just keep in mind that your dough may be a little sticker and trickier to work with. Bread flour absorbs better and the higher protein content gives it more stability when slicing.
If you are unable to get your hands on bread flour, you can make your own for this recipe. I have and it’s very easy. Measure 490 grams of all-purpose flour and 10 grams of Vital Wheat Gluten. Whisk together and you have your combined weight of 500 grams (4 cups) of bread flour.
Instant Yeast- I always use Instant Yeast aka Bread Machine Yeast. Any brand works for me as long as it is fresh. I store mine in the freezer because it will keep for YEARS and I buy it in bulk. A one-pound pack is much more cost effective.
Butter- Real butter please, no cutting corners here. The flavor is unbeatable in this bread. I prefer unsalted but if you use salted, just be mindful of the amount of salt that you use in the recipe if you are sensitive to the taste. I have used both and both taste great to my family.
Digital Scale- Accuracy is a must for me when making bread. There are so many other variable such as different brands of flour and even your current weather conditions that can affect your result. I rely HEAVILY on my scale to give me the most consistent results possible.
It can be frustrating when the dough seems perfect in the machine, but when you tip it out it is very difficult to handle and shape. Volume measurements vary too much. Some of us have a heavier or lighter hand when we measure and not all utensils are made from the same “mold”. I have some measuring cups that give me very different numbers. I would say that if I got anything to go with my machine, I would 100% start with a digital gram scale.
Not only is this handy for weighing out your ingredients, once you get the hang of it… if you are very careful, you can measure directly into the bread pan that you set on top of the scale. Much less mess and it is quicker. I only recommend this if you go slowly and are focused. If you over-measure, there is no way to remove the excess and you may have to start over.
I also use it for making my hamburger buns and rolls. I will weigh the whole dough ball when it is done and then divide it by what I need. Typically hamburger buns are around 100 grams each and dinner rolls are about 50 – 70 grams. I have inserted several pictures of weighing my ingredients and other variations that I have made with this dough. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comments below.
Silicone Spatula- The non-stick coating on bread machine pans is very thin. When you help the ingredients along in those first stages of the cycle, you will need something that will not damage the pan.
Digital Thermometer- The best way to check if a loaf is fully baked is to check the internal temperature. With this recipe, it is fully cooked at 190 F-200 F. You will also need to check the temperature of your mashed potatoes and reserved water. Too hot and it can destroy the yeast. I usually have mine at about 70-100 F, but no more than 110 F.
9 x 5″ Bread Pan- The most impressive loaf I have made so far has been the large one in my 9 x 5″. My next favorite has been the dinner rolls in my 8 inch round pan.
Cooling Rack- Get yourself a nice sturdy cooling rack. This is a very large loaf and you will need to cool it on a rack completely before cutting. I highly recommend giving it at least a few hours to cool.
Serrated Knife- A serrated knife is a must for cutting any bread. A standard knife will smash your slices and you definitely want those nice clean cuts for your toast or sandwiches.
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Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you have inserted the paddle into the pan before starting and always remove the bread pan from the machine before measuring.
- All ingredients should be room temperature. No warmer than 110 F or you risk hurting the yeast and starting over. This tip does not apply if you have a machine that pre-heats your ingredients for you.
- Place your machine in a secure area so it doesn’t take a “walk’ off of the counter when it is mixing and kneading. This has never happened to me, but I always keep it in mind.
- Order of ingredients: Every machine has the possibility of being different. I have several machines and they all work best by placing the wet ingredients first, then dry. That is how I have written this recipe. Please refer to the owner’s manual of your particular machine if you are unsure OR have a different order of ingredients.
- After adding your flour, make 2 wells. One for the salt and one for the yeast to keep them apart.
- Too wet or too dry. I have not had this issue. If by chance it is FAR too wet, wait until it is done and incorporate a little bit of flour when you knead by hand to knock out the air bubbles. Use a light hand and only use what you need to make it easier to work with. Generally a well floured surface has been all I needed. This dough should not run too dry because of the potato and honey. I live in Arizona where the humidity is very low most of the year and I have not had a dry loaf ever.
- In order to prevent over-rising during warmer & humid months, check the dough at the LAST 20 minutes of the cycle. If it is looking like it is going to overflow, simply open the lid and place a clean, light weight kitchen towel over the dough to prevent it from drying out. Follow the remaining steps.
- Final Proof: Place your shaped loaf in a draft free, warm area in your home. 75-85 F is ideal. I typically use my oven with the heat off and the light on or my microwave with the door closed. If you are unable to do that, find the next best warm and draft free area and use a light, lint free cloth to prevent the dough from drying out as it rises.
- How to freeze: Fully cool the bread then slice. Freeze in labeled freezer bags for up to 3 months.
“POKE” TEST: This is the first of my most important tricks to a successful potato bread or any bread for that matter. When the cycle is done (my machine runs for 1 hour and 30 minutes). Gently poke the bread. If it bounces back right away, it is not done proofing in the machine. Let it sit in the pan with the lid closed for another 10-15 minutes.
Come back and check again. When you poke it and it slowly springs back, it is done with the first proof. If it sinks and does not spring back it is over-proved. This step is important because shaping the dough will be VERY challenging if it is under proved. Dough that is not ready will resist when rolling out and shaping. Dough that is over-proved will not rise well. Set a timer, this step is always a must.
ADD THE BUTTER LAST: This is the second trick that is absolutely necessary for this particular recipe. The first batch I made, this happened purely by accident. Every other loaf I baked after that came out impossible to manage and too sticky. It finally dawned on me that the missing link was waiting to add the butter last.
After you start the machine, set a timer for 3 minutes. The dough will be VERY dry. Scrape the sides with your silicone spatula to pull the ingredients into the mix. After you do that add the pre-measured 43 grams (3 tablespoons of butter).
Keep that spatula handy, help the butter off the sides if you need to and let the machine do it’s thing. The dough will smooth out and form nicely. I have attached plenty of pictures (above) to show you all the process. Trust me, it works like magic!
I hope you give this recipe a try and if you are new to the dough cycle, I hope this is helpful to you. Keep in mind, bread is unique. Your weather, the brands we choose for ingredients, and how we measure matters no matter which recipe you use.
This recipe is a result of trial and error, combined with determination. The worst thing that came out of this was extra bread in my freezer and some extra bread crumbs. On the upside, I created something delicious that I will make over and over again. There’s always a positive to the learning process. Go with the flow and bake some bread.
Bread Machine Potato Bread
- 1 2-pound Bread Machine
- 1 Digital Gram Scale
- 1 9 x 5" Bread Pan
- 1 Digital Thermometer
- 1 cup potato water, 70 – 110 F
- 1 cup mashed potato, plain, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted, room temperature
- potato starch or plain flour
- butter, melted, cooled
- everything but the bagel seasoning
- Weigh out all of your ingredients while your potatoes are boiling. (See above)
- Remove the bread pan from the machine and make sure your paddle is inserted. Add the ingredients from wet to dry as listed, or in the order recommended for your machine. Be sure to set the butter aside, you will be adding that later.
- Place the pan into the machine and lock into place. Start your dough cycle and set a timer for 3 minutes. At the 3 minute mark, use your silicone spatula to guide the flour off the sides. The dough will be VERY dry. Add the butter, again using the spatula if it sticks to the sides. We want all of the flour and butter to incorporate.
- Set a timer to check on your dough about 20 minutes before the end of the cycle. The dough will rise very close to the lid but should not overflow.
- After the dough cycle is finished, do your "poke" test to make sure it is ready to be shaped. If the dough springs back too fast, just let it rest in the machine for another 10-15 minutes.
Shaping & Baking:
- Flour a large surface area and prep your 9 x 5" pan by greasing it. Dump the dough out and gently knead for a minute to "knock" the air bubbles out.
- Press the dough ball out into a slight rectangle shape with your fingers. Flour your rolling pin and roll into a 10 x 18" rectangle. If you want a smoother surface, you can try carefully flipping the dough over so the smooth side is facing the counter.
- Start rolling from the bottom up towards the top. Pinch the bottom seam then pinch a tuck the sides. (See photos above)
- Place the shaped loaf into the pan and do the final rise either in the oven with the light on or in a warm, draft free area covered with a light cloth. Set a timer for about 45 minutes.
- When the dough has risen, you can pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Either leave it plain or add a dusting of potato starch or flour for a rustic look. If you like to add a topping, I suggest using a pastry brush to add melted butter and a sprinkle of everything but the bagel seasoning.
- Bake on the middle rack for 25-35 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 190F-200F.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn over onto a cooling rack and let rest for at least 1 hour before slicing. The longer you let it cool the better.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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