I've tried making potato rolls a few times. The desire was born from a slight burger obsession and the fact that so many Americans cite the potato roll as the perfect roll for housing burgers. I followed recipes where a cup of mashed potato was added to X cups of flour but they were never quite right and I was never happy in the making either. I love accuracy in my baking and cups fail miserably at this and so I try not to use them at the best of times. Here the cups were joined by another rogue element in the mashed potato where there can be so much variety, both in the starchiness of the potato and in the amount of moisture it holds. This is not how I like to bake.
How could I possibly get a nice, rigid and repeatable recipe using such an ingredient? It was then I set upon the thought of making potato rolls using instant potato. I'm not normally one for Smash but I thought its mass-produced homogeneity would be perfect here. I googled around and found I wasn't the first to have such an idea so grabbed a recipe, converted it from cups and had a little play with the liquid levels (I like my dough wet) and this was born. Initially I wasn't going to post it as the rolls were too light and fluffy, a very tasty eat - don't get me wrong - but I didn't think they'd hold up to a burger well. Within a few hours they had firmed up a treat though whilst staying perfectly fresh. I'd read that industrial bread producers add potato flour to their recipes to increase longevity of freshness and if these are anything to go by I can see why, 2 days on and they were still perfectly edible - although best if toasted. It's very rare that home-made rolls keep usable for that long.
I've made this recipe twice now in less than a week and they're a definite keeper. I've enjoyed them with ham and poached eggs, toasted with homemade bacon and obviously with a burger (7oz of well-aged longhorn chuck), where it was light enough to bite through with ease but firm enough not to collapse under the patty's juices. I think next up I will try some little buns using the same dough and try and make some proper sliders, steaming tiny burgers over onion and adding the buns on top so they steam too. I'll keep you posted.
(Instant) Potato Roll Recipe
300gr strong white flour
2 TB instant potato (looking in Sainsbury yesterday their Basic Potato is only 18p)
Scant ts of salt
1 sachet of dried yeast
1.5TB white sugar
90ml semi-skimmed milk
1 egg, beaten and split in half
Another splash of milk
Warm the milk and melt the butter in it. Add the water and half of the egg then mix well.
Mix the dry ingredients together then add the liquid and combine into a wet dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for ten minutes.
Lightly oil a work surface and dump the dough on top. Carefully fold the dough edge into the middle, turn maybe 30 degrees and repeat. Do this 11 more times then turn the dough over and place in the bowl, covering again with the clingfilm
After ten minutes repeat this folding stage then wait another 10 minutes and repeat again. By this time you may not need to oil the work surface. Leave for a final ten minutes then you need to split the dough into 6. I use scales to get them an equal size.
When baking buns it is important to get nice tight balls. To do this I use much the same technique as for the kneading. First I give the lump of dough a squash then I fold an edge into the middle, turn slightly and repeat and so on, maybe 15-20 times, till I have a nice, tight ball. I then place seam side down on a greased baking tray and make the other 5.
I place these maybe 5cm apart before squashing flat, after which they'll be maybe 2cm thick and more like 1cm-2cm apart. Cover loosely with clingfilm and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Add a splash of milk to the remaining egg then lightly brush the rolls.
Bake in a 200 C oven (I use no fan so you'll probably have to adjust down if your oven fan only) for 15 minutes, I then turn the heat down to 180 and give another 2-5 minutes, until cooked. As with all my bread baking I spray some water onto the sides of the oven as I put them in to create some steam.