The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Potato experiment

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Potato experiment

I’m thinking of trying a small experiment with my next bake, and adding some instant potato flakes to my recipe (Beginner’s Sourdough Bread, The Fresh Loaf).


I’m hoping for a softer crumb than what I’ve been getting, and I’ve read that potato flakes can give that. I’m thinking of replacing about 10-15% of the flour in the recipe with potato flakes.  Would I need to adjust my hydration to do this?  And would this percentage change make a big enough difference?  Would I need to add a dough conditioner like viral wheat gluten, or would increasing the protein% defeat the purpose?


(I’ve also got some buttermilk and some heavy cream that I could work with, although I haven’t yet read anything about the effects of using either of those ingredients.  Any tips welcome!)


Thanks, everyone!

phaz's picture

That will soften it, always loved potato bread. How much water - whatever is recommended to reconstitute the flakes would be the logical place to start - probably be spot on. Buttermilk, cream, also soften things up - like most fats. Lower protein flour or milled from summer/soft wheat (usually used for cake flour), control gluten development (that's what makes it tough so you doing want too much), and my #1 favorite Olive oil - another fat, but such a good one. Enjoy!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


...for the amount of one serving of flakes.  I would start there and subtract the flake weight from the flour weight. 

It doesnt take a lot of potato to soften bread but for one loaf, one medium potato is about right.  Place in a small heat resistant bowl or measuring cup and slowly drip in enough boiling water to make a paste about stiff dough consistency. Let it stand a few minutes to hydrate.  If you use a scale, weigh the stiff paste or ball again to find out how much water was added, note and subtract from the recipe water weight.  Cool if needed.  Tare to zero. Then add to this potato ball the water in the recipe, stir and combine with flour.  With the next loaf you can put the flakes directly into the flour.  

Dairy products (but not cheese) tend to soften crumb too, which reminds me I have some milk solids left over from butter clarification I want to work into the next loaf.  Milk products contain water but the also contain milk solids and fats which do not hydrate flour so when substituting, a little bit more dairy is needed to make up for the missing water.  

You can notice this if you do a direct substitution trading out all the water for milk or buttermilk.  The dough will be much stiffer and less hydrated than when using water.  Easy just to go by dough feel, adjusting as the dough is being made if you are already familiar with the bread recipe you are tweaking.

Other additions with potato... a little ground caraway or nutmeg, or black pepper.  Not enough to taste it directly.  Just a pinch or two.  

clazar123's picture

The higher the protein content (as in bread flour) the chewier the crumb will be. Try using a name brand AP flour (in the US-King Arthur,Gold Medal, Dakota Maid,Pillsbury,etc).

Make sure you knead/mix to windowpane!