Potato bread made with yeast, flour and mashed potato is a hearty bread, perfect for serving with soups and stews. Here’s my version of these rustic loaves.
The ingredients for this Irish bread are simple. The key to successful potato bread is time and patience to allow the yeast dough plenty of time to rise.
- 1 and 1/2 cup mashed potatoes (2 – 3 medium)
- 1/2 cup reserved potato cooking water
- 2 packets active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each)
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°to dissolve yeast)
- 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil (to grease the mixing bowl for the bread to rise in)
The first step is to boil and mash the potatoes. If you have left over mashed potato feel free to use it. However, I don’t recommend using mashed potatoes laden with butter and cream. The extra fat in the potatoes upsets the balance of ingredients in this bread recipe.
So first, peel and cube the potatoes, and cover them with water in a small saucepan. Bring them to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer them for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.
Strain the potatoes over an oven-proof bowl or jug. A little of this liquid is great in the bread, but if you are using older mashed potatoes, and don’t have any reserved potato liquid, just replace it with an additional half cup of warm water.
Mash the potatoes.
It’s important to make sure there are no lumps in the potatoes, so I like to press them through a strainer. A food mill works great, but I’ll have to wait until Christmas for one of those. As you can see from the photo the strainer works just fine.
Set the potatoes aside to start preparing the yeast and dough.
Add a half cup of warm water to the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. The water should be between 110° to 115° F. Sprinkle the contents of two yeast packets over the water. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. The yeast is ready when it starts to bubble and grow foamy.
While the yeast is working its magic, sift all of the flour into a large bowl.
Once the yeast is bubbly add all of the wet ingredient. First add the warm milk and a half cup of reserved potato cooking water.
Add the sugar and salt.
Toss in the softened butter.
Add about 4 cups of the sifted flour (a little over half of all the flour).
And whatever you do, don’t forget the mashed potatoes. Just toss them in on top of the warm liquids and flour.
Knead with a dough hook of an electric mixer.
Gradually add an additional 2 to 3 cups of flour to form a stiff dough. Knead it in the mixer until the dough is smooth and glossy, which takes about 8 minutes of constant kneading.
If you don’t have a mixer with a specialty dough hook, you can add the flour by kneading it into the dough on a clean, floured work surface. Great work for building those arm muscles.
Grease a large bowl with oil or melted butter. Place the kneaded dough in the bowl and turn it over to oil up all the surfaces of the dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Set in a warm, draft-free space and let the dough rise and double in size (about 1 hour).
I like to put the bowl in my cold oven. I find it is the best way to control cold air drafts, especially when the air conditioning is blowing in the summer.
See how much the dough rises.
Punch the dough down. My little girl loves to watch the dough deflate.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into two equal halves. Take each section,and knead it lightly to shape it into a loaf.
Place each dough section into two greased loaf pans (9 inch x 5 inch). When I make this bread I always make two loaves. All the waiting and kneading seems wasted on just one loaf.
Cover again and let the dough rise for an additional 30 minutes until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising for the final time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
It’s amazing to see how much the dough expands over time. Lightly dust the top of the loaves with flour if you like a rustic looking crust.
Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. The loaves are cooked if the base sounds hollow when tapped.
I dusted the loaf on the left with extra flour for a rustic crust.
Remove the loaves from the pans and cool them on a wire rack.
This bread is delicious when served fresh. It freezes well for up to two months.
This is a great bread to accompany soups and stews, or for rustic sandwiches with thick slices of hearty bread.
Hope you enjoy this bread as much as my family does.
Here is the printable recipe:
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom