Potato Rolls, Briefly

So, this is a very short chapter in the quest for the best dinner rolls.  I had started to make potato rolls, and had grand plans to blog the recipe and results.  I went to grab my camera, and realized that the battery was dead.  So, I have a photo I took with my phone of the finished rolls, and I’ll post the recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated Potato Dinner Rolls


  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 1/4 cups (12 1/3 ounces) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, 1 lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water and pinch salt


  1. Place potatoes in medium saucepan and add water to just cover. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer 5 tablespoons potato water to bowl to cool; drain potatoes. Return potatoes to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Process potatoes through ricer or food mill, or mash well with potato masher. Measure one very firmly packed cup potatoes (8 ounces) and transfer to bowl. Stir in butter until melted.
  3. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Add warm potato mixture to flour mixture and mix with hands until combined (some large lumps are OK). Add 1 egg and reserved potato water; mix with dough hook on low speed until dough is soft and slightly sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Shape dough into ball and place in lightly greased container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Turn out dough onto counter, dusting with flour only if dough is too sticky to handle comfortably. Pat gently into 8-inch square of even thickness. Using bench knife or chef’s knife, cut dough into 12 pieces (3 rows by 4 rows). Separate pieces and cover loosely with plastic.
  6. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time and keeping remaining pieces covered, form dough pieces into smooth, taut rounds. (To round, set piece of dough on unfloured work surface. Loosely cup hand around dough and, without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. Tackiness of dough against work surface and circular motion should work dough into smooth, even ball, but if dough sticks to hands, lightly dust fingers with flour.) Arrange rolls on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. While rolls rise, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Brush rolls gently with egg wash. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer rolls from baking sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

2013-10-22 22.09.52

I know, the photo isn’t very impressive.

Some recipe notes: you don’t need to cook an entire pound of potatoes to get a half pound of mashed potatoes.  But go ahead and cook a pound anyway, because who doesn’t love some extra mashed potatoes to eat?  Delicious.

These rolls are remarkably airy.  And even though they are more than half potato, they don’t really taste like potatoes.  They have a very delicate flavor.  We really marveled over the texture, though…until we drank a bottle of wine and got hungry.  We decided to do a back to back taste test of warm, buttered dinner rolls, because it’s a delicious snack.  And when we did that, we realized that these potato rolls weren’t that texturally different from the previous pain di mie dinner rolls that I’d made the week before.  The main difference was the flavor.  The pain di mie dinner rolls managed to still be light, but at the same time have a greater depth of flavor, and a heartier taste.

This was when we learned that we want the best of both worlds – we want a rich, flavorful dinner roll that still has a soft, light texture.  We are not willing to compromise or sacrifice, at all, on this goal.  Onward, in the quest for The Perfect Holiday Dinner Roll of 2013.

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