Roasted Potato Bread


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Toward the End of the Eighteenth Century, numerous grain failures had taken a devastating toll on the populations of Europe. People were hungry, civil unrest lurked in the poorer classes of society, and governments were scared. In an effort to fill bellies and keep the peace, attempts were made to develop breads that included other ingredients, from barley and oats to peas to potatoes. Most of those experiments amounted to little, but somehow potato bread found a place of acceptance among bread bakers and consumers alike.

Flavorful potatoes such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn are best for this bread. I find that oven roasting them concentrates the flavor in a way that boiling them does not. Once roasted, they can be chopped with a knife or dough cutter into small pieces. Leaving the skins on saves time, and the dark skin bits contrast nicely with the crumb color once the bread is sliced. I am very fond of the taste of potato bread, and eating it makes me think of how tenuous the food supply always is, and how hunger has always been a fact of life for so many people at all times.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 30%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 17 lb 8.5 kg 1 lb, 11.2 oz 85 %
Whole-Wheat Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz 15 %
Water 12.2 lb 6.1 kg 1 lb, 3.5 oz 61 %
Salt .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz 2.4 %
Yeast .25 lb, fresh .125 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.25 %
Potatoes, Roasted 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups, packed) 25 %
Total Yield 37.93 lb 18.965 kg 3 lb, 12.4 oz 189.65 %

Pâte Fermentée

Bread Flour 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 3.9 lb 1.95 kg 6.2 oz (¾ cup) 65 %
Salt .12 lb .06 kg .2 oz (1 tsp) 2 %
Yeast .012 lb, fresh .006 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 10.032 lb 5.016 kg 1 lb

Final Dough

Bread Flour 11 lb 5.5 kg 1 lb 1.6 oz (4 cups)
Whole-Wheat Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz (1 cup)
Water 8.3 lb 4.15 kg 13.3 oz (1⅝ cups)
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .238 lb fresh .119 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Potatoes, Roasted (See HeadNote) 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1 cup)
Pâte Fermentée 10.032 lb 5.016 kg 1 lb (all of above)
Total 37.93 lb 18.965 kg 3 lb 12.4 oz


Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. Alternatively, remove a portion from a previous mix for use as pâte fermentée. In this case, refer to “Preparing the Pre-Ferment,”, for correct handling of the pre-ferment.

Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the potatoes, but not the pâte fermentée. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. The dough should feel slightly stiff, but since the potatoes hold a fair amount of moisture, which they will eventually contribute to the dough, be careful not to add much extra water as the dough mixes. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 to 3½ minutes. The dough should be supple and the gluten moderately developed. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.

Bulk Fermentation: 1½ hours.

Folding: Fold the dough after 45 minutes of bulk fermentation.

Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves, place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic wrap. A nice effect for potato bread is to shape it in the fendu style, by pressing deeply into the dough with a rolling pin to bisect it. Proof these loaves top side down. The bread can also be baked in loaf pans.

Final Fermentation: Approximately 1¼ hours at 75°F.

Baking: Transfer the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Slash the desired scoring pattern with a blade; fendu-style loaves do not require slashing. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake at 450°F. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes will bring a great deal of color to the bread, so if the loaves are darkening too quickly, lower the oven temperature by 10° or 20°F. A comparatively long bake is necessary due to the moisture in the potatoes.