These potato dinner rolls are incredibly soft, light and moist dinner rolls and the perfect choice for your holiday table or next to your Fall and Winter soups.
I am probably a little more bread obsessed that most, but who's with me in their love of a really great dinner roll? As I look forward to holiday season, it's not the turkey I'm thinking about right now. It's the rolls! So I thought I'd share what I think is the perfect dinner roll.
These potato rolls are incredibly soft, light and moist and not only that, they stay that way for days! That makes them perfect for all the leftovers. And these rolls are also easily made vegan. Simply use oil instead of butter and sugar instead of honey. This is always a nice option if you are feeding a crowd with varied diets.
These potato rolls start with just one large potato, that is boiled and mashed. If you happen to have leftover mashed potatoes on hand, you can even skip that part. I used a Yukon gold potato here, which gives these rolls a slightly yellowish tint to the rolls.
There is just something about potato (and potato cooking water) in bread dough that does the most wonderful things to the texture and flavour. It's my favourite and I think you will love these, too!
Potatoes: You can use any type of potato here. Russets are fine, as are yellow-fleshed potatoes. You'll only need a couple of small potatoes. And as mentioned above, leftover mashed potatoes are just fine here. If the leftover mashed potatoes are buttered and salted already, you may want to reduce the amount of additional butter and salt you add to the dough a bit. In a pinch, mashed potatoes from instant potato flakes would also work.
Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast here. Rapid-rise yeast is not recommended.
Flour: I prefer to use unbleached all-purpose flour for all my breads, as it tends to produce a better bread. If you only have bleached flour, that's fine to use.
Don't forget you're going to need the potato cooking water, too, so be sure to drain the potatoes into a bowl or large measuring cup!
As you prepare the dough (and shape), add only enough flour to make a dough that isn't sticky, but that is still very moist - right on the edge of sticky. The more moisture/the less flour added, the more tender your finished rolls.
I use a fine mesh strainer to sift the flour on top after shaping. It makes for a nicer, finer finish that just scattering it by hand.
Baking time for these rolls will vary slightly, based on your oven and the pan you use to bake them. Watch them regularly after about 15 minutes. My pan/oven took about 20 minutes.
You'll want to take your rolls out when they are "just done" - lightly golden on top and not yet browning on the sides. Again, the less time in the oven, the more moist the rolls and the longer they will stay moist. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can check the roll in the middle of the pan and if it is about 172-175F. you're good to take them out.
This recipe makes 9 rolls. If you'd like more, double the recipe and bake in two 8-inch square pans.
These rolls freeze well, so you can make ahead and freeze. Thaw in the wrapping at room temperature, then warm wrapped in foil in a 350F. oven for 10 minutes or so.
My Best Tips for Baking with Yeast
I think most problems people have with baking with yeast, is treating yeast-based recipes like say, a cake recipe, where you just add all the ingredients together, mix as prescribed and bake as detailed.
Yeast recipes just can't be that precise. Things like temperature, moisture in the flour your are using, the season your are baking in and rising time that can differ from one kitchen to the next, make yeast recipes less consistent from one kitchen to the next.
Now that you know this though, that's more than half the battle :) Just trust what you see, how the dough feels and how much it has grown in size as it rises (rather than the clock) and it will all be good!
- Be careful with the temperature of your proofing liquid before adding the yeast, so you don't compromise the yeast from the start. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won't activate. Too hot and it will die. The best temperature range for proofing liquid is 105-110F for Active Dry Yeast. Instant yeast is a bit more forgiving and can take temperatures up to 120F. All yeasts die at about 140°F. An Instant Read thermometer is handy to have on hand to check.
- Always treat the amount of flour specified in yeast-based recipes as "approximate". Flours will vary from kitchen to kitchen and by season, so the amount needed to make a smooth, soft dough will vary.
- Given tip #2, I always hold back 1/4-1/3 of the flour specified in a recipe and add in only as much as is needed. If you dump all the flour in at the start, you may find that it is too much and it's difficult to adjust well after that.
- Use a large glass measuring cup to proof your dough. It's easy to see when the dough has doubled.
- Be patient. Rising times are also "approximate" and will vary as well. Trust what you see and not the clock.
Simply Perfect Potato Dinner Rolls
- 1/2 cup mashed potatoes, from 1 large or two small mashing potatoes such as Russet or Yukon Gold
- 1/2 cup potato cooking water
- 2 Tbsp butter, or vegetable/canola oil *see Note 2
- 1 Tbsp honey, or 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar *see Note 2
- 2 1/4 tsp instant or dry active yeast
- 1 tsp fine table salt
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more as needed and additional for topping
Prepare the mashed potatoes:
- Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a medium-large saucepan. Cover potatoes with at least an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat slightly and continue cooking until potatoes are tender. DO NOT DRAIN YET! Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour potatoes and water over, reserving the potato water in the bowl and the potatoes in the strainer.
Prepare the bread:
- Place 1/2 cup potato cooking water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scoop out the potato flesh, discarding the skin. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Measure out 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes and add to the bowl with the potato cooking water. Add the butter (or oil) and honey (or sugar).
- Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until mixture has cooled to lukewarm (about 120F for instant yeast or 110F for dry active yeast). Sprinkle in yeast and mix to combine. If using instant yeast, proceed to next step. For active dry yeast, let stand 5 minutes before proceeding.
- Add salt and 1 cup of the flour to the mixture and still using the paddle attachment, mix until combined. Remove the paddle attachment and replace with the kneading hook. Begin adding the more of flour gradually, until you have a moist dough ball, not sticky to touch, but almost. You may need to add a bit more flour than specified, but be careful you don't add too much. You want to stop when the dough is just not sticky, but is still very moist.
- Remove dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
- Remove dough to a floured work surface and gently deflate. Divide dough into 9 equal pieces (*see Note 1). Form each piece into a ball (*see Note 3) and place into your prepared pan in 3 rows of 3 rolls, leaving a little space between rolls. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to rise until doubled and puffy. Using a fine mesh strainer, dust the top of the rolls with a dusting of flour.
- Bake rolls for 20-23 minutes, or until just lightly golden on top and not yet browning on the sides. If you have a thermometer, remove when the centre roll is about 172-175F. Cool rolls in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool to warm (to enjoy right away) or to cool completely. If not enjoying immediately, store in an airtight container or freeze.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.
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