Sourdough Potato Bread is the softest, most delicious “white bread” you’ve ever tasted. Soft and fluffy with just the right amount of bite and the perfect texture for sandwiches or toast.
What is Potato Bread?
Potato bread is bread made with the addition of potatoes. Potatoes contain a magical component, starch! Starch naturally absorbs and holds onto water. The secret to softer bread is higher hydration, but flour can only absorb so much water. Potatoes which are naturally high in starch, especially Russets, absorb and retain more liquid. This allows you to add more moisture to your dough without making it too wet and difficult to handle.
Potatoes soften this loaf without the need to add lots of eggs! I do add butter to this dough both for flavor and to tenderize the bread even more.
What to Eat with Potato Bread
Potato bread is delicious and versatile. You can eat it with anything you’d eat with white sandwich bread. Serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s great with peanut butter and jelly, sandwiches, and grilled cheese. It also makes the best garlic bread.
What You Need
Bread flour - a higher protein content gives this loaf a lovely chewiness, if you don’t have any on hand, all-purpose will work great as well (do not substitute whole wheat flour)
Russet potato - starch locks in a lot of water resulting in softer bread, it’s best to use Russets since they are higher in starch, but you can substitute any other type of potato, even sweet potatoes
Potato cooking water - the water you cook your potatoes in will have a lot of starch in it, which will increase the starch content of your dough even more
Sourdough starter - make sure your starter is mature and active before making this recipe or your bread will not rise and will turn out dense and hard
Butter - butter adds flavor and tenderizes the dough, substitute your favorite plant-based butter to make this recipe vegan
Sugar - Brings out the buttery sweetness of this loaf, feel free to substitute honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
Salt - I used Morton’s salt for this recipe, use twice the amount in volume if you use Diamond Crystal (use the same amount if you’re measuring by weight)
1. Cut the potato into 1-inch cubes and boil until tender, about 15 minutes
2. Mash the potatoes and set aside 113 grams (½ cup) of the starchy potato water
3. Combine flour, active starter, salt, and cooled mashed potato and potato water
4. Once the mixture forms a shaggy dough, knead the butter in one tablespoon at a time
5. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic
6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise untouched until doubled in volume (about 3 to 4 hours)
7. Degas the dough, round into a ball, cover and refrigerate overnight
8. Shape the dough
9. Proof until the dough has filled the pan (about 2 hours)
10. Bake at 375 for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown
Proofing is the most important part of bread making, it’s when the yeast in your sourdough digests the sugar in flour and converts it into carbon dioxide and alcohol, causing the dough rise and imparting flavor. Using a sourdough starter slows down this process drastically, it’s important to make sure you have enough time to let your bread rise before attempting to make this recipe. If you don’t have enough time, it’s best not to attempt this recipe as not letting your dough proof for long enough will cause your bread to be tough and dense.
Rising could take as much as 4 hours for the first rise and 1 to 2 hours for the second rise. Patience is paramount, if you don’t let your dough rise, you’ll only end up frustrated with lots of wasted ingredients.
I’ll be giving time cues in this recipe, but rising times will depend on the activity of your starter and the temperature in your kitchen. Be flexible and look for the signs of fermentation, instead of depending totally on the times stated here.
At the end of your first rise, your dough should look like it has doubled in volume and feel like it’s full of air.
The dough should reach almost to the top of your pan after your second rise. The dough should spring up slowly when lightly poked with a finger.
If your dough springs up immediately it’s underproofed, and if it does not spring back up at all it’s over proofed.
Like most of my bread recipes, this one proofs overnight and is baked the next day. I personally prefer baking the next day because it provides some flexibility in the process, and allows me to shape and bake bread whenever I am ready. Do not leave your dough to proof in the refrigerator for longer than 36 hours or the gluten may break down too much and your bread will end up gummy.
Absolutely, make sure your starter is mature and active before you mix up your dough. Using an inactive starter may slow fermentation down too much which could increase the acidity of your dough, this could break the gluten down too much making your baked loaf unpleasantly sour and gummy.
You can use any type of potato for this bread, but it’s best to use starchy potatoes like Russets. The starch helps bind the ingredients together and helps with the softness of the bread. Waxy varieties will work out fine and you can even substitute sweet potatoes if that’s what you have on hand.
Bread usually ends up hard and dense because it’s under proofed. Make sure you give your dough time to rise, I’ll be giving time cues in this recipe, but fermentation can vary greatly depending on the activity of your starter and the temperature in your kitchen. Watch your dough and make sure it doubles or increases noticeably in volume before shaping it. Your dough should also be very puffy before baking.
The flavor profile of bread depends greatly on the flavor of your personal sourdough starter. If your starter is more acidic, your bread will have a distinctly sour flavor. However, if your starter is milder then your bread should have a slightly sweet flavor.
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Sourdough Potato Bread
- pullman pan or regular loaf pan
- instant read thermometer
- 200 grams Russet potato about half of a large potato
- 113 grams potato cooking water cooled
- 420 grams bread flour
- 6 grams salt
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 113 grams sourdough starter mature and active
- 56 grams unsalted butter softened
- Cook the potatoes: Dice the potatoes into 2-inch cubes, add potatoes to a small saucepan and cover completely with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Set aside 113 grams (½ cup) of potato cooking water. Mash the cooked potatoes. Set the mashed potatoes and water aside until they are completely cool. Do not proceed until your potatoes have cooled completely. Mixing your dough with hot potatoes could kill the yeast in your sourdough starter.
- Make the dough: Combine the potatoes and potato cooking water with the remaining ingredients except for the butter. Stir the ingredients together until your mixture forms a shaggy dough. Knead the butter into the dough one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 30 minutes. Letting your dough rest will make it much easier to knead and handle.
- Strengthen the dough: Turn your dough out on a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until completely smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Bulk ferment: Round the dough into a tight ball, place it in a clean, lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 3 to 4 hours).
- Cold proof: Degas the dough and round it into a tight ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof in the fridge overnight.
- Shape: Take your dough out of the fridge. Divide the dough into 4 portions, round each portion into a tight ball and nestle them into a Pullman pan.
- Second rise: Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until the dough is puffy and almost fills the pan.
- Bake: Once your dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 425 F. Once your oven has reached temperature, place your dough into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 F. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and registers at 200 F when probed with an instant-read thermometer.
- Enjoy: Remove your loaf from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Let your bread cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- Store and reheat: Store leftover slices in a zip lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.