For a carb-aholic like myself, new bread recipes continually fuel my baking curiosity.  Even though I have already found many bread and roll recipes that I absolutely love, there is always the possibility that a new recipe will become a favorite.  And, even when a new recipe doesn’t quite rank above my most beloved recipes, that doesn’t mean it isn’t also wonderful itself – because really, I have yet to find a hunk of homemade bread that I have made and actually disliked.  So, although I still hold the honey yeast rolls in the highest regard for my ultimate dinner roll, these potato rolls come in a close second.  The two have several differences and I imagine the preference of one over the other is really a matter of personal taste.  The honey yeast rolls are on the sweet side (obviously), while these were not sweet but had a more deep, complex flavor.  What really impressed me about these rolls was their amazingly light and airy texture.  The honey yeast rolls though soft, are more dense, but these potato rolls are so unbelievably light and tender.  

These are a really great basic dinner roll, and I imagine that they would pair well with just about any meal you can think of.  They are definitely best the day they are made.  Also, the original recipe yields a huge amount of rolls (I made 32).  I have halved the recipe below, because I am not sure anyone needs that many rolls unless it is Thanksgiving.  We will have rolls in the freezer for months!  These do freeze exceptionally well.  We just had some of the leftovers last night with dinner and they were just as good as when they were fresh.  I think the sprinkling of flour on the tops of the rolls gives them a really nice, rustic look so don’t skip it!

Potato Rolls
Yield: 16 rolls

1 russet potato (big enough to make 1/2 cup mashed potato), peeled and chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk, warmed
1 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 cup reserved potato water, lukewarm, with 1 teaspoon sugar added to it
2 1/2 – 3 cups flour (I used half all-purpose and half bread flour)

Boil potato until tender.  Drain cooking water, reserving 1/4 cup for use in the rolls.  Finely mash the potato and measure out 1/2 cup.  Let cool to nearly room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the mashed potato, butter, sugar, honey, salt and egg.  Mix together on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Combine the yeast with the warm milk and reserved potato water, and pour into the mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed until incorporated.  Gradually add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook attachment on knead on low speed for 5 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to achieve a soft dough that is slightly tacky but not sticky.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Turn the down out onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down.  Separate into 16 equal pieces and shape into rolls.   Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Sprinkle the rolls with a dusting of flour.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise again until the rolls have grown into each other, about 30-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until golden.  Serve warm. 

Source: adapted from The Boastful Baker