Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 2, 2012

Old School Potato Rolls

Sometimes you want a potato roll to do nothing more than soak up the sauce and juices of your sandwich. If that’s the potato roll you need, head out to the store–there’re lots of fine brands on the shelf . But if you’re looking for a potato roll to elevate your meal, to complete your dining experience, to finesse your plate without pandering, then you’ll do better to look this recipe over and get cooking.

I found the potato roll recipe I wanted in one of my older Joy of Cooking books. It read just as I’d known it would: cake yeast, lard, all-purpose flour. Ready for me, and ready for a modern makeover. I’ve included the vegan alternatives in the recipe written out below. Both versions of the potato rolls are delicious and neither calls for fussy machinery, loads of time, or exotic ingredients (if your pantry is stocked to basics as I perceive them, that is).

Old School Potato Rolls

For the sponge:

2 medium-small potatoes, about 4 oz, peeled and cut into dice

water to cover

1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast

1 cup milk, or water drained from the potatoes, at 140°F

1/2 cup, 4 oz, water, warmer than your wrist

3/4 cup, 12 TBSP, 5.25 oz, lard or shortening

4 3/4 cups, 23.5 oz,  unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 well-beaten eggs, or 3 TBSP ground flax seed meal beaten until goopy and frothy with 4 TBSP water

1/3 cup, 2.5 oz, sugar

2 tsp salt

extra lard/shortening

Put the diced potato and the water to cover in a small saucepan. Cook the potatoes until done. Drain the water, and retain it for the vegan version of the rolls. Put the potatoes through a ricer, or push them through a colander with a spatula or wooden spoon. You should have about a cup of riced potatoes.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Allow it to bloom for 5 minutes or so.

In a sturdy mixing bowl, pour the hot milk or potato water over the lard or shortening. Beat these together until the fat is melted and amalgamated with the liquid. Add the potatoes, eggs/flax goop, sugar, salt and one cup of the flour. Beat well together. Add the yeast mixture and beat it thoroughly into the sponge. Cover the bowl and set it to rise somewhere draft free for about two hours. Don’t worry if the sponge doesn’t double.

Now beat in the rest of the flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour.

Grease the pan you want to bake your rolls in. Grease your hands, you will need to regrease them frequently so keep some of the fat nearby where you’re working. Pull a small piece of dough from the mixing bowl. It should be a little less than half the size of the roll you want to eat. Work the piece of dough, pulling downward and tucking it under to give it a nice, firm shape. Set it in the prepared pan, with at least 1/2″ all around it. Keeping the pieces of dough as evenly sized as possible, continue until you’ve used up all the potato roll dough.

Preheat the oven to 420°. Let the rolls rise, covered, for 30 minutes. Bake them for 20-25 minutes. The recipe makes about 32 2″ rolls. Or 18 ‘hamburger’ sized rolls. Use the shorter baking time for the smaller rolls, and the longer for the larger size. When the rolls are baked, pull them from the pan immediately and allow them to cool thoroughly on a wire rack before consuming. Good luck with that.



  1. Gosh but you guys eat well! I made your spicy slaw the same night you had yours with BBQ pork and tater rolls, and I often make it — SO good. XO Camille

    • Yeah, it’s killer slaw. I love having it in my repertoire. I’m only sad it doesn’t last longer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: