Refrigerator Potato Bread

James Beard

Author and Educator

Potato bread recipes started in the late 19th century as a way of using leftover mashed potatoes. The potato and butter in this recipe give the bread a very pleasant flavor with a moist and heavy texture. It is best used for sandwiches, toast, or as tea bread.


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water, approximately 100° to 150°
  • 1 cup warm milk or potato water
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened in the milk or potato water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Dissolve the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar in the warm water and let proof for about 5 minutes. Then add the warm milk or potato water, butter, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and the eggs to the yeast mixture, and stir to blend thoroughly. Add the mashed potatoes and stir well. Next add the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, to make a thoroughly stiff dough. You may not need the whole 6 cups.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and shows great elasticity. Shape the dough into a ball. Butter a large mixing bowl, put the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat all sides with the butter. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight to let rise. It can be refrigerated as much as 16 to 18 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator, punch down, and turn out on a floured board. Let rest for 5 to 6 minutes, then knead vigorously for 4 to 5 minutes and let rest again. Shape into two loaves and place in two well-buttered 9 x 5 x 3-inch tins, or form into a ball and place in a well-buttered 9-inch pie tin to make a single round loaf. In either case, let the dough rise until it has doubled in bulk. Since it has been refrigerated for a lengthy period, rising time may be as long as 4 hours.

Bake the loaf or loaves for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the bread from the tins and rap the top and bottom with your knuckles. If you hear a hollow sound, it is done. Return the bread, standing free now, to the oven, placing it directly on the oven rack to bake, crisp, and color the crust. Cool thoroughly before slicing.


1 round loaf or 2 regular loaves