Potato-Rye Bread

Those of you who follow this blog have probably noticed that I am off on a tangent of bread making. Since I am the only one in our household who eats bread one might reasonably ask why I go to the trouble. Well, first off, it really is not much trouble at all if one has a heavy-duty stand mixer. Secondly, it appeals to my frugality since I can make a loaf of bread for about a fifth of what it would cost to buy—perhaps a sixth if I include the cost of driving to and from the supermarket a couple of miles away. But the best reason is that homemade bread is simply better than any store-bought loaf— except, perhaps, for a crusty baguette. I realize that is a subjective but I challenge anyone who has never made their own bread to try it before passing judgment.

About this bread. My last two efforts were a light rye and a potato bread. The obvious next step was to combine the two. Potato-rye bread is common in Germany and Eastern Europe where it is sometimes made with a sourdough starter. My version is lighter than a traditional loaf might be because I plan to toast it for breakfast. I debated adding caraway seeds but decided against it. If you intend to use the bread mostly for sandwiches I suggest you add a tablespoon or two of the seeds to the dough when you add the first measure of flour.

Note: the metric and imperial units are internally consistent but not necessarily interchangeable. 

Yield: two medium or three small loaves



Cooked potatoes, mashed

250 grams

8 ounces (about ½ cup)


250 milliliters

1 cup


15 grams

1 Tablespoon

Buttermilk powder

60 grams

Generous 2 Tablespoons

Canola oil or butter

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon


10 grams

2 teaspoons




Active dry yeast

10 grams

1 Tablespoon

Rye flour

150 grams

5 ounces

Bread flour

450 grams

1 pound


In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle beater combine the potatoes and warm water (use the water from boiling the potatoes if you have it). Add the sugar, buttermilk powder, salt, oil or butter, egg, yeast, and 100 grams (1/2 cup) of the bread flour. (If you used hot potato water check that the temperature is not above 45°C (115°F) before adding the yeast.) Beat gently until smooth.

Replace the paddle beater with the dough hook. Add the remaining flour to the bowl. Knead on the recommended speed setting for your mixer. After about five minutes the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it does not, add more bread flour a bit at a time until it does. Knead for a further few minutes.

At this point I like to weigh the dough to make dividing it later more accurate.

Warm a large, heavy earthenware or glass bowl with hot water then dry and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. Form the dough into a large ball, place it in the bowl, and roll it around so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to proof until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours depending on the temperature. At the end of proofing, punch down the dough and divide it into whatever size loaves you prefer. Form the loaves and place them into lightly-oiled pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again until the dough is just above the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). (I use the convect pastry setting on my convection oven.) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The best way to determine doneness is with a thermometer; the center of the loaf should be between 93°C and 99°C (200°F and 210°F).


3 responses to “Potato-Rye Bread

  1. Cea March 14, 2013 at 17:28

    Need. To. Try. This. Recipe. It sounds so good.

  2. Cea March 14, 2013 at 17:28

    (and you think one could just use buttermilk rather than water and buttermilk powder?)

  3. Leo Cotnoir March 14, 2013 at 17:48

    Of course you could use liquid buttermilk. I just use it fast enough so I use the powder. Just keep the total liquid volume the same.

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