Add Mashed Potatoes To Homemade Dinner Rolls For The Ultimate Fluff

If you're a lover of carbs, you're likely unable to resist a piece of perfectly fluffy bread. While the crusty, crackly exterior of an artisanal loaf often steals the show, a soft interior always makes it better by balancing and complimenting the crisp crust, not to mention a pillowy cloud of bread can be delicious all by itself. Nothing illustrates this better than the dinner roll, which is at its best when it's 100 percent fluff.

While a golden brown-top or slightly crisp crust is always welcome on a dinner roll, what really defines a great version is its softness and springiness. For a shortcut that can make perfectly fluffy rolls much more easily, try adding mashed potatoes to the dough. Doubling up on carbs may sound like a recipe for dense bread, but mashed potatoes are a tried and true secret ingredient that can enhance both the fluffy lightness and moisture of spongy homemade bread and dinner rolls. The soft mash allows the dough to hold onto more moisture, and also helps to keep the rolls fresh and soft for longer, instead of quickly drying out after you bake and store them.

The science behind mashed potato bread

The simple genius of mashed potato bread is gaining more attention on social media. TikTok creator @benjaminthebaker shared a video that demonstrates the difference between rolls made with potatoes versus ones without, showing that mashed potato rolls are fluffier and stay that way for longer.


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♬ original sound – Benjamin the baker

There are a few reasons why mashed potatoes improve bread. Pre-cooking a portion of the flour and water that goes into a bread dough can help the starches gelatinize before baking, increasing the overall hydration of the bread. A similar phenomenon is at work when you use pre-cooked mashed potatoes. The potatoes work in a similar manner as pre-cooked flour and water, resulting in a higher moisture content and improved moisture retention in your rolls. Potato starches can also prevent the wheat starches in rolls from hardening. You'll get fluffy and moist rolls that won't stale as quickly as rolls made with all flour.

To use mashed potatoes successfully, they need to be smoothly mashed and fully cooled — hot potatoes will change the texture of your dough and could even kill the yeast in your recipe, hindering the bread's rise. You'll also want to follow a recipe for potato rolls, rather than trying to add mashed potatoes to an all-flour roll recipe. Since the mash changes the starch and moisture content of the dough, other ingredient ratios must be adjusted accordingly, which can be hard to estimate on your own. This isn't a recipe you'll want to freestyle.

Mashed potatoes have long been used in baking

Although the benefits of mashed potatoes in bread may be news to some of us, this trick has been used to create tender baked goods for centuries. The first documented iteration of potato bread dates back to the 18th century, when French pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier concocted a potato loaf to create a cost-effective, nutritious food that could help fight famine at the time. In Ireland, where soft wheat doesn't grow very well, potatoes have long been used as a flour substitute when access to imported goods was limited. Incorporating potatoes into bread dough is also a a standard practice found in Māori, Pennsylvania Dutch, German, and Norwegian cultures.

Some bakers throughout history have even used mashed potatoes in sweet baked goods. Mashed potatoes mixed into chocolate cake batter may sound very unusual, but just like in bread, the potatoes contribute extra moisture to the finished cake, without adding a noticeable savory flavor. This can be a lifesaver in recipes that only use cocoa powder for flavoring, which could make the cake dry, depending on the cocoa you use.

Mashed potato dinner rolls are a simple recipe with much to offer. Whether you're looking to try out a new baking technique, turn your easy leftover mash into something new, or tap into the culinary wisdom that frugal folks around the world have used for centuries, grab some spuds and get to work — you won't be disappointed.