Recipe: Potato and Thyme Rolls

"A potato bread roll filled with a slice of parma ham"I made these rolls this weekend and they were gorgeous.  The potato gives a lovely sweetness and softness to the bread and they were perfect rolls to fill with something salty to eat while watching the Tour de France[1].

I got the recipe from You can do it … At home! and I suspect I won’t be the last of their recipes I will attempt.  There is an especially nice chocolate stuffed bread I have my eye on.

This recipes involves the making of a biga (also known as a starter or a ferment) which is some dough made the day before and then put into the fridge to mature while retarding the yeast. This is supposed to improve these taste, but my taste buds don’t notice a huge difference. That said, I enjoy the ritual of making the small dough up the night before – it feels like advanced baking somehow – and it doesn’t hurt.

"Small pieces of dough spread out on a plastic bag"

What I ended up making wasn’t exactly the same as Sue’s original – I left out the cheese for obvious reasons, upped the salt slightly and used thyme instead of rosemary because that’s what I had.  Also, I was in a bit of a rush because the oven was needed for a roast afterwards[2] and shortened some of the waiting times.

Submitted to Yeastspotting.

Potato and Thyme Rolls


Strong White Flour 120g
Yeast 1g
Water 80g

Mix the flour and yeast together.  Add the water and mix to a dough.  Knead for approx 5 minutes and leave covered to rise.  Once risen, put in an oiled plastic bag (I forgot to oil the bag, which was a pain the next day) and leave in the fridge over night.


The Biga from the fridge – take it out an hour before hand and cut it into pieces.
Bread flour 400g
Salt 8g
Black pepper
Yeast 4g
Mashed potatoes 170g
Olive oil 14g
Thyme approx half of the packet – I pulled the leaves off the stalks
Water 212g

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the biga pieces, potato, oil and water.  Bring the dough together in the bowl and then knead it until smooth.  Leave in an oiled bowl for 2 hours (Sue’s recipe says 1.5 but I’ve upped the salt).

Divide the dough into 12 balls (when I’m feeling fancy I weigh them but didn’t bother yesterday) and rest for 10 minutes.  Shape into balls and cover to proof for an hour.  I proofed them on a baking tray which I’d chucked some semolina over to stop them sticking. This worked quite well.

I cooked them in a 200 C oven for 20 minutes, forgetting to coat them in oil or rotate the tray for even browning.  I’m still happy with how they came out.

"12 bread rolls on a cooling rack"

"Some bread rolls on a cooling rack"A final crumb shot:

"A roll cut open"

[1] I have a weird liking for eating good food and sipping wine while watching people throw themselves up mountains.  The only thing I can say in my defence is that I have in the past cycled up mountains myself. Very slowly. And sometimes I have walked pushing the bike.

[2] The roast beef was also lovely in these rolls.  No wonder all 12 were eaten in about 6 hours. Also, I suspect I’m about to lose any vegan readers I may have had.

About Nuala

Geeky feminist Irish woman living in Scotland. Has two daughters and a lot of yarn. Really likes hummus.
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