I have a confession. As much as I love food – cooking, baking, eating – I hate leftovers. However, I also can’t stand food waste. I try to eat as much as my meal as possible, and then dutifully package up the rest for later, proud to be upholding my values. Those tupperware containers sit in my fridge all week, until the next weekend rolls around and their contents get dumped into the compost bin – along with my pride. Then I discovered a recipe for the ultimate leftover mashed potato buns.
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Ultimate Leftover Mashed Potato Buns
These days, food is getting more expensive and social behaviours have enforced that we leave the house for grocery shopping only on a weekly basis. Frugally using all of the food in my fridge has become a necessity, rather than just a nicety. Now I’m compelled to eat leftover dinners for lunch – though it’s hard to swallow the same meal twice in a week. I know, privilege problems. *shame*
Imagine how happy I was to find a recipe that would let me use my baking skills, plus use some of those leftover mashed potatoes I’d now stuffed into the freezer. Not only would I be able to feel productive and creative baking, I’d be transforming leftovers into something entirely new! Leftover mashed potato buns! Glorious!
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Wave that magic wand! Handcrafted Churros
Excited About Potatoes? WHEE!
The next step was to get the kids excited, and THAT didn’t go well. Both of them are not particular fans of the simple potato, unless it’s chopped into long rectangles and baked. There’s something about fries that appeals to them, when boiled, baked or mashed potatoes don’t. I wasn’t surprised when they were not enthused for the combination of bread with potatoes.
Undeterred, I grabbed those mashed potatoes from the fridge where they had been defrosting overnight, and started the experiment.
The end result? Glorious, tender, moist with a great crumb. Superb when eaten warm, but still fresh the next day thanks to the extra starch from the potatoes. Knight and I both ate three straight from the cooling rack, exclaiming how good they were, crumbs falling from our mouths. Right! Don’t talk with your mouths full. The rest we had with soup the next day.
The science behind the recipe is to use high gluten bread flour to help support the high starch content of the potato. Together, the buns are light and fluffy. The extra starch balloons the rise faster than usual, but you need the strength of gluten proteins to keep it’s structure when in the oven. You can use all purpose flour in a pinch, but the rolls will be smaller and denser. I used a combination as I was running out of bread flour (damn you COVID-19 impulse shoppers!), and they turned out okay but next time I could do better.
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- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water and pinch salt
- Pack one cup of your leftover mashed potatoes. Warm it up in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch.
- Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt into a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix up. Add potato mixture to the combination, mixing with your hands.
- Fit a dough hook to the mixer, add one egg and 5 Tbps water. Mix at low speed for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. Shape dough into a ball and transfer into an oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 30 minutes until the ball is doubled in size.
- Lightly dust a clean counter, and transfer the dough. Pat into an 8″ square. Cut square into 12 pieces (3×4 rows). Separate, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for another 15 mins.
- Working with the balls one-at-a-time, make a cup with your hands. One hand will support the dough, while the other turns in a circle without pressing down, transforming the dough into a taunt ball. Cover all 12 pieces with plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30-40 minutes.
- Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Brush the rolls with a mixture of egg beaten with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt. This will help the rolls develop a deep golden brown crust. Bake for 12 minutes, or until they are indeed golden brown.
- Let the buns cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Serve warm. They will also keep fresh for 2 days wrapped in plastic or in zip lock bags.
Did you try this? Let me know how it turned out in the comments below!