If you’ve never had a warm potato roll right out of the oven you haven’t truly lived yet.
I say that one hundred percent certainty because eating a potato roll straight out of the oven is, hands down, one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s better than chocolate cake, better than homemade ice cream and better than those delectable little licorice flavored taffys from Trader Joe’s.
Yep, I’m a bread girl all right.
I feel the need to pause here and let you all know that baking these rolls is a…..project. But you can do it! I know you can. Usually, I like to feature recipes that are easy and can be thrown together on a whim whenever a craving strikes.
Not this one!
While it’s not necessarily difficult, it involves a lot of time. And while I enjoy making recipes that are easy and fast, sometimes I really just like to get back to my baking roots and play in flour all day.
It’s one of those recipes that is perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon. If you’ve never baked bread in your life, I feel very confident that you can make these and they will be the best rolls you’ve ever tasted. That’s why I love bread baking so much—-true, it takes time but the end result is very, very worth it. And your house will smell amazing! Bonus.
So…you wanna know what makes these rolls so flippin’ soft, fluffy and amazing? Mashed potatoes!
Hence, potato rolls.
If you never have tried a potato roll before, feel assured that the end result will taste nothing like a potato. If you didn’t know there were mashed potatoes in them, you would never in a bazillion years be able to tell. That’s the beauty of it! The potatoes just act as an extra starch to give the rolls an unbeatable fluffy lightness.
The toasted walnuts add a crunch! I used to get nut rolls all the time from a little bakery in Paris. They were always my favorite!
Something about these rolls reminds me of My Antonia or Laura Ingalls Wilder. I mean, I’m sure Ma used to use extra boiled potatoes from dinner to make bread the next day…don’t you think?
(don’t tell me otherwise)
The rolls themselves are slightly sweet and the perfect vehicle for creamy honey butter. Or just an ample amount of honey drizzled over top! If you’re looking for a hard, crusty French roll this definitely isn’t your animal. But if you’re looking for a soft roll to go with your Sunday dinner….bingo!
Two important things though:
1. Don’t use potato flakes (this goes for any situation in life…just don’t do it).
2. Don’t use leftover mashed potatoes that have already been junked up with cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper.
Make these soon! You won’t be sorry.
Walnut Potato Rolls with Honey Butter
makes about 30 rolls
adapted from The Food Network
1 large russet potato
1 package (1/4th ounce) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees—bath tub temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter (+ 4 T for honey butter) , room temperature
2 T honey
1 egg + 1 T warm water for egg wash
Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts on a piece of tin foil and toast for 6-8 minutes (watch carefully!) until golden and fragrant. Remove from stove, roughly chop, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Peel the potato, cut into uniform chunks and drop into the water to cook for about 20 minutes until tender. When cooked through (make sure by sticking a fork in a piece!), drain water and transfer potato chunks to a large bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the eggs and 1/3 cup sugar to the mashed potatoes, followed by the yeast/water mixture. Mix well to combine.
Add two cups of the flour, salt and the toasted walnuts to the potato mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a wet, shaggy dough forms. Place a dishcloth over the bowl and set the bowl in a warm spot (I use the top of the dryer) to rise for 1.5 hours.
Beat the softened butter and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add risen dough and continue to beat with your paddle attachment (or dough hook if you have one) adding the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour slowly until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Keep mixing now on high for six more minutes until the dough isn’t sticky anymore (though it will still stick to the sides of the bowl).
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in. Cover and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.
Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. Divide the dough into about thirty small balls and place in the dish. Cover and let rise (one last time!) for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After rising, brush rolls with an egg whisked with a tablespoon of warm water (this will make them super duper shiny!).
Bake for 35 minutes until golden.
To make honey butter, cream additional 4 T butter with 2 T honey until smooth (or just mash with a fork). Serve with warm rolls.
about 4 hours