Have you ever enjoyed a warm piece of sliced potato bread fresh out of the oven, slathered in melting honey-butter? Seriously, a little slice of heaven. Because who doesn’t want a little slice of heaven now and again? Right? You’ll feel like you’re being wrapped in a fuzzy warm blanket on a cold winter’s morning when you enjoy a fresh slice of this homemade bread with your breakfast and hot chocolate!
I am super excited to share THE Best Potato Bread recipe out there with you guys. I’ve worked to make this the best there is. So light and fluffy~ and easy! There really is nothing that can beat the delicious taste and aroma of fresh, homemade bread. You’ll love baking this recipe and sharing it with friends and family. And get some practice in the fine art of baking bread too. So tie on your apron and let’s get started!
I used to be scared to death to even attempt to make bread. I had no idea how yeast worked, and kneading for 10 minutes strait by hand just sounded like so much fun. Not! Even being scared to death, that little ‘self-reliant’ part of me always had the desire to learn. I always thought to myself, “how cool would it be if I could actually make bread at home from scratch? Then I wouldn’t have to buy it at the store anymore…’ When I finally received a heavy duty kitchen aid stand mixer for Christmas a couple years ago, it gave me the courage to finally start my bread baking journey. (No more drudgery kneading by hand! Ha ha ha!)
Potato bread is great because the potato itself adds moisture to the bread, giving it an extra softness. In this recipe, you can use left over mashed potato, or even instant mashed potato. (Just don’t use any mashed potato with crazy flavors in it, like bacon or garlic!) In this post, I’ll go over a few important tips I’ve learned when making basic bread recipes.
The first thing I would recommend is purchasing an instant read food thermometer if you don’t already have one. This tool is the number one tool I always recommend to anyone who has a desire to become a good cook. It will seriously save your life! (Plus countless recipes too.)
Yeast breads can be tricky because of, well, yeast. When making bread with rapid rise yeast (like this recipe does), you want the temperature of your liquid ingredients to be high, about 120 to 130 degrees F. These temps are higher than for normal yeast, which likes 110 degrees best. The higher temps makes the specially treated yeast very happy (the perfect temperature to activate it quick!) and it will do what it’s supposed to do; create bubbles (OK it’s gas…but who want’s to think of their bread being full of gas? :0) that will ‘leaven’ or raise your dough. In the past I always burned my yeast to death by using milk/water that was too hot, and I’d have an epic fail on my hands. Plus yeast is sensitive to salt~ too much will inhibit yeast growth!
I also like to use a product called “Dough Enhancer”. It’s in a brown canister/container and you can usually find it in the baking isle of your local grocery store. I’ll add a tablespoon to my dry ingredients and I find that it helps the dough to rise, making my loaves a bit more soft and fluffy. I have to thank my super awesome friend and fellow blogger Shatzi for making me aware of this product!
If you’ve never baked home made bread in a loaf pan (in the oven) before, there’s a technique to properly placing the dough in the pan. Divide the dough in half equally. Take one half of the dough and roughly shape it into a rectangle that’s about as wide as your loaf pan. Roll the dough out so it’s about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick, doing your best to maintain the width of the rectangle.
Then gently roll it from one short end to the other. Turn the dough up and pinch shut the seams on the bottom and sides. Place the rolled dough seam side down in the loaf pan, pressing it gently so the dough touches all sides. Repeat with the remaining portion. I put the loaf pans in a warm oven to rise, loosely covering them with greased plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. Don’t use a towel. I know that’s the way grandma used to do it, but that’s because grandma didn’t have plastic wrap!
So you’ve made it to the baking stage! Yay! Your house should smell like heaven, or grandma’s, or a fairly tale cottage. This particular bread loaf is done when the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Once again our handy instant read thermometer is a life saver. Insert it just above the rim of the loaf pan down towards the center of the bread. Once done, pull from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. I like to get out my pastry brush and glaze the loafs with melted salted butter while they’re still warm. This makes the crust soft and will prevent it from drying out. Plus it adds additional flavor to your bread.
Baking really is an art form that has a million different techniques and variants that can have a significant impact on how your loaves turn out. The bread can be affected by the type of flour you use to the humidity in your home. Even the altitude can influence the way your bread bakes. Don’t let these factors intimidate you! Just keep trying, and you’ll learn something new each time you bake. I think that baking bread is an excellent skill that everyone should learn :0) Enjoy the journey!
The Best Potato Bread
Yield 2 Loaves
- 1 and 1/2 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes
- 3/4 cup soft butter
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp Rapid Rise/Quick rise active dry yeast
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour (about), more for dusting work surface
- 1 tablespoon dough enhancer (optional)
1. Begin by turning your oven to the warm setting (or as low as it will go) and move an oven rack to the center position.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the mashed potatoes, eggs and butter. Next, Mix in the sugar and milk until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into a microwave safe mixing bowl. Carefully warm the mixture to about 120 degrees starting with one minute, then 30 second increments using a food thermometer. Pour the heated mixture back into the stand mixer bowl.
3. In a separate clean mixing bowl, whisk 4 cups of flour with the salt, yeast and dough enhancer (if using). Switch out the paddle of your stand mixer and replace with the dough hook. On low speed (2), slowly add the flour mixture until the dough comes together around the hook. Slowly add the rest of the flour while the machine is running. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. If the dough isn't coming together around the hook (too sticky), then add a tablespoon more flour. Continue to let the machine knead the dough for about 4 more minutes, adding more flour a tablespoon at a time if needed, until the dough no longer sticks. The dough should knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. With the machine off and unplugged, gently press your finger into the dough. If it 'bounces back' a bit and doesn't stick to your finger, it's done. If it sticks to your finger, add another tablespoon to 1/4 cup flour and knead for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough firms up and isn't sticky.
4. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and pull the dough hook out. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This would be a good time to lightly grease/spray your loaf pans. Turn OFF the warm oven. (You just want the residual heat to raise the dough.)
5. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for a few seconds until it comes together into a nice sort of 'ball'. With a sharp knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into two even halves. Cover one piece with plastic wrap. Roll the other piece of dough into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. It should be about as wide as the loaf pan you plan to bake it in. Carefully roll the dough from short end to short end, and pinch and fold the ends underneath along the seam. Place the dough, seam side down, in a lightly greased bread/loaf pan. Gently press the dough down enough that it touches the sides of the loaf pan. Cover lightly (aka don't pull tight the edges) with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat for the other loaf and place pans in the warm oven to rise 45 minutes. You're ready to bake it when the dough has risen about 1 inch above the rim.
6. Gently remove the loaf pans from the oven, placing them somewhere draft free. SLOWLY remove the plastic wrap. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the loaves on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 190 degrees. Remove and gently dump out onto a wire rack. *Glaze the crust with melted butter* (optional). Cool on their sides for approximately 1 hour. Slice and serve, or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and additionally in tin foil to store in the freezer.