Homemade Potato Bread

Potato bread is so full of flavor! With a firm crust and lots of little air pockets, it's the best bread ever for making toast.

  • Yield: Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 large russet potato (about a 12 oz potato)
  • 2 cups (475 ml) milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 5 cups (680g) all purpose flour

Method

1 Cook, peel, mash the potato: You will need 6-8 ounces of mashed potato for this potato bread recipe. That's between 3/4 cup and one cup of mashed potatoes.

The easiest way to cook the potato is to poke it all over with the tines of a fork and microwave it 4 minutes on one side, 4 minutes on the other side, on high. Let it cool, then peel it, and mash it with a fork.

Or, you can boil the potato. Peel the potato, cut it into large chunks, cover it with water in a pot, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes or so until a fork easily goes through the potatoes, drain, cool, and mash.

2 Heat the milk, whisk in mashed potato: Put two cups of milk into a medium saucepan with the salt and sugar. Heat on medium heat until the milk starts to bubble at the edges, then remove from heat. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil and the mashed potato.

Pour into the mixing bowl of a standing mixer (or just a large bowl if you don't have a mixer), and let cool until it is still warm, but not hot, to the touch. (If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast in the next step.)

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3 Add yeast and 2 cups of flour: Stir in the yeast. Stir in 2 cups (264 g) of the flour. Use a standing mixer such as a KitchenAid (recommended), attach the mixing paddle, and mix on medium high speed for 4 minutes. This will help break up any potato lumps and help incorporate the mashed potatoes into the dough.

(If you are using a bread machine, put the milk potato mixture, the yeast, and all of the flour into the bread machine and knead for 8 minutes, skip the next step and proceed to step 5.)

4 Add the remaining flour and knead: Swap out the mixing paddle for the dough hook on your mixer. Add the remaining 3 cups (416 g) of flour and mix on medium low speed for 8 minutes. The dough should be rather loose and a little tacky.

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5 Put dough into a large bowl, let dough rise: Rub the inside of a large bowl with some olive oil. Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl and put it into this large bowl (can use your mixing bowl if you clean it, and coat the inside with oil). Gently coat the top of the dough with a little olive oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dampened towel (to prevent the dough from drying out). Place in a warm spot for 2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

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The dough should at least double in size. You'll know when it has risen sufficiently when you press into the top with your fingertip and the indentation remains for a while.

6 Punch down the dough, place in loaf pans: Press down on the dough with your hand to deflate it. Turn it out onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times. Cut the dough into two halves (a pastry scraper comes in handy for this).

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Rub a little olive oil inside of two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Place a dough half in each and press the dough into the bottom of the pans.

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7 Let dough rise again: Coat the top of the loaves with a little olive oil. Cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour or longer, until the dough has doubled in size.

8 Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf pans and gently place the loaf pans in the oven in the middle rack. Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is between 190 and 200°F.

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While the bread is still warm in the pan, use a dull dinner knife and run along the edge of the pan between the pan and the bread to loosen the bread from the pan. Turn out of the loaf pans on to a rack, let cool completely before slicing.

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Comments

  • Christina

    It was wonderful! Surprising it came out as well as it did for my first bread. I had some issue with the dough being too sticky despite following the recipe to a T. It turned out a little dry but remarkable with butter and jam.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Terry Hembry

    Awesome recipe my roommate ran out of bread and asked me to make a loaf for him. Made two and now he doesn’t buy bread anymore!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ron

    This was my third time baking this bread and it always comes out great. For this last bake I used leftover mashed potatoes that I had frozen and because I didn’t have any regular milk I sed buttermilk. The breads baked up perfect.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Amanda

    This bread is amazing! It makes wonderful French toast, hamburger buns….just anything really.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • jerome

    Can you make this without bread pans? They are not a thing where i’m from.

    Thanks.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jerome, I haven’t tried making this bread without a loaf pan. It may not have enough of its own structure to hold its shape without one. But if you try it without a loaf pan, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • T-Anna bakery

    Doubled it and made the best bread! Now, it is set up and we are making 7 loaves a day and 14 on weekends! I slathered it with melted butter as soon as i pull it out of the oven! I do add an egg per loaf.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 40 yrs of baking

    Bland. I tend to stick to the if-you-can’t-say-something-nice-zip-it philosophy, but since this recipe (like most yeast bread recipes) does take an investment of time and effort, I have to say I was disappointed with the result. The textures of both crust and interior were fine. But the flavor just wasn’t there.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello 40 years, I’m sorry you were disappointed with the recipe! I’m not sure what flavor you are looking for? It’s white bread, with some potato mixed in the dough that gives it a wonderful texture. Check your ingredients and use a high quality flour like King Arthur, and good quality extra virgin olive oil. Also don’t forget the sugar or salt.

    • Cecilia

      To increase the flavor, try this: Out of the ingredients, use 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 water in a bowl. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Start with this in the ingredients (decrease milk to 1-1/2 cups). You should have a lot more flavor.

  • Rebecca Casillas

    I tried this recipe today and after following the steps to the letter my dough didnt come out loose nor tacky when adding the last three cups of flour. Any suggestions?

    • Elise Bauer

      If it’s not loose or tacky, you should add a little more milk to the dough, or a little less flour next time.

  • John

    This bread was AMAZING. Definitely a do again. Like some I baked for closer to 45 mins to get the browning I wanted but that’s just oven differences.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Angela

    I am a new Baker. This is the second bread I have attempted to make, I was able to get the dough to rise though when I went to punch it down and divide the ball the dough became sticky and it did not rise well the second time. Any idea what I might have done…. The loaves were rather flat and I couldn’t get them to brown even after 45 minutes. Any advice when be amazing.

    • Ivy

      Some factors to consider for proper rising: did your yeast completely foam? Or were there still some granules? Another factor is temperature of the mix before you added your yeast. Too hot and it kills it, but too cold and it won’t thrive. Also, when kneading dough try to knead as little as possible. Did you cover it while it sat to rise the first time? Did you do it by hand or use a mixer?

  • Puja

    This recipe is superb!!! I tried it today and it was unbelievably perfect! You were right to say that its very forgiving!!! Thank so much for sharing!

    Have you tried it with any other types of flour?

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Nikki

    Are milk substitutes an option? (almond or flax?)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Nikki, I haven’t tried making potato bread with a milk substitute, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

    • Devin

      Hey, did you end up using a milk substitute? If so, how’d it turn out, because I was thinking of making this with soy milk?

      • joanne

        i used soy and it turned out wonderful

  • Maggie

    Hello! I made this bread today. i never have made a bread like this or used yeast (only banana and zucchini) and i followed the recipe and it came out PERFECT!! Like amazing, my husband kids and friends were totally amazed and it wasn’t hard to do at all. Thanks for this GREAT recipe you have NO IDEA how happy i am that this came out delish!!! The only thing i had to do was i baked it for about 40-45 minutes not 30, but thats just an eyeball thing (you know looking for the “golden brown”) and maybe an oven difference…but still totally great i will be trying more of your recipes!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Janet

    Hi there can you make the Bread in your bread maker?

  • Paula Burchell

    I have made potato rolls many times but I had not made loaves. I had to bake it 15 minutes longer to get the loaves to brown, I think 350 degrees is too low. I will try the bread and see how it is, but next time I will probably try a higher temperature.

  • KJill

    Being in Pennsylvania, commercial potato bread and rolls are available here. Something of an Amish or PA Dutch thing to always use mashed potato or potato water in bread dough I think. I keep the potato water and sometimes some of the potato from when I do mashed and freeze in one cup portions for future baking. Try for doing dinner or sweet rolls, makes for amazingly light tender buns!

  • Patti

    I laughed when I read that the instructions in the old cookbook were vague about the quantity of flour. My grandmothers recipes were all like that. One was expected to know when enough was enough. That is a lost art now. Thanks for sharing this recipe it sounds delicious. I love potato bread, but my favorite is salt rising bread. I dont suppose that you have a fool-proof recipe for that…

    • Mark

      Flours vary widely. The type of flour, humidity, et cetera. So there’s really no single formula. A typical sandwich white bread will be soft and stretchy while the dough for a rye or Irish brown bread will be like a rock.

      When you say “salt rising bread” I assume you mean one with baking soda and/or baking powder. Assuming that’s what you meant, you will also need an acid, e.g. buttermilk, for those to make the dough rise. You also have to work them more quickly than a yeast dough.

      • Patti

        Salt Rising Bread is a sour dough bread that is made from a potato water starter. The starter smells horrible, and it’s very tricky to get it to come out right. It can be purchased in bakeries and grocery stores in the southeast, but I live in sunny California. The bread has a very unique taste and smell.

  • Mark

    With regards to milk causing yeast to fail…

    From RedStarYeast.com…

    “It used to be that scalding milk was necessary to kill bacteria that might affect the yeast activity and to alter a protein in the milk that played havoc with the gluten structure in bread. However, pasteurization has protected us from harmful bacteria and has altered the proteins, so scalding milk is no longer necessary.”

    I left the milk out of the starter because I don’t want the milk going sour at room temp.

    If you reside in the USA then you are likely using pasteurized milk.

  • Mark

    I make a New York Jewish deli rye bread that calls for potato water. That’s the left over water from boiling potatoes. I have also pureed boiled potatoes and added the resulting goop to white bread. You can also add potato flour and/or dry milk. I also sometimes add a stick of butter. I generally use “wet” or cake yeast. You can also substitute 1 or 2 cups of the normal white flour for whole wheat. You have room to experiment.

    If you want a chewy crust, spritz the loaves every 5 minutes for the first 15. A spritzer is safer than schlepping a pan of boiling water into the oven. No need for the olive oil. It’s not focaccia. If you want a more artisanal look, skip the spritz and the olive oil. Then stash the top of the loaf with a knife…about three 45 degree angle slashes will do. You can also dust the top of the loaf with some dry flour. Irish whole meal, whole wheat flour or harvest grains give your loaf “the look”. Also best to bake on a pizza stone and skip the loaf pan if you are looking to impress.

    Just as you can take your pizza dough to the next level by doing a cold ferment, you can also take your bread up a notch by creating a “poolish” the day before. Most people just call it a starter. There’s about 6 different words for essentially the same thing.

    Use a thermometer to check for 190 degrees in the center of the loaf, not the thumping method. 350 is a tad cool for bread. I typically do 375-425, 30 minutes. I like a darker, chewy/crispy crust.

    My three “go to” breads that I make over and over are sourdough (day and a half to make).
    NYC Jewish deli rye (takes 3 days to make)
    Plain white bread (which can be made in a couple hours).

    • Mark

      Actually, you wouldn’t typically do a cold ferment with bread as you would for pizza. The poolish would sit out at room temp, covered.

      • Mark

        Biga was the other word I was looking for. I had to pull Peter Reinhart off the shelf and dust him off to figure it out.
        So…starter, sponge, soaker, poolish, biga, pate’ fermente or levain levure are essentially all the same although there’s a couple differences.

        For this bread, I would start with 1 cup flour, 1 cup of your potato goop and 1 cup of water. Also add your yeast to the room temp mixture. The 1 cup water would replace 1 cup of milk. No milk in the starter. I would leave the starter out at room temp for 24 hours, loosely covered. Keep an eye on it the first few hours and is may overflow. If it gets close to the rim, stir it back down. After a few hours it will settle down. I leave my rye bread starter out for 3 days and it has either potato goop or potato water in it.

        The main thing is you can take your bread up a level by making a starter. This recipe is perfect for a starter.

  • Pat B

    The water the potato was cooked in can be used for part or all of the liquid in the recipe too. I was told to use it if available in any yeast bread recipe by my grandma for tenderness. She was also a child of the depression, so nothing was wasted. FYI-Raw milk always need to be scalded in old recipes, due to the enzyme present that would cause yeast to fail.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pat, I wondered about that! MK Fisher’s recipe required scalding the milk, other recipes do not. I imagine that if you are some place in the world where the milk is not pasteurized then it is useful to know that you have to scald the milk first. I’ve updated my notes. I still like the idea of warming the milk to help the salt and sugar dissolve.

  • Lola LB

    Hmmm, I’m going to make some modifications and combine with my favorite sandwich bread recipe from Della Fattoria Bread, starting out with sponge of milk-mashed potato-yeast-flour, and then proceeding as directed from the sandwich bread recipe.