How to squash your leftover mash into soft buns

(Ahem; sorry just couldn’t resist). Leftover mash is as soft and beige as leftover porridge. And we all know what leftover porridge is for: porridge muffins, and porridge bread. So how about mashed potato bread?

(Also, two bread posts in as many weeks … but it’s fecking February, it’s grey here it’s cold and I just want to bake. Plus: homemade bread is cheaper than most supermarket bread, so it’s a way of saving cash.)

Remember that every bread is just carbs that are fermented with yeast (from a can or your jar of sourdough starter). I gave up on homemade sourdough long ago; it’s lovely but I’m not that great a bread baker plus I’m the only fan. There’s only so much sourdough that even I can eat.

So, mash bread; prepare yourself for soft, smooth buns (sorry not sorry). I thought about soft milk buns or brioche when I made these, as the mash was already rich with butter and whole milk. I cracked in an egg and added 25 grams of sugar, just because I wanted to. That’s where relay race cooking is the best – you see what’s in front of you (mash!), and *that* is your inspiration for the next meal – not some end of aisle teaser. Omit the egg and/or sugar if you like.

Your leftover mashed potato buns will be perfect when still warm from the oven and full of melted butter and a wedge of strong cheddar. I practised making fried chicken for my kids the other day, ahead of a gaggle of girls coming round for dinner of fried chicken and chips followed by ice-cream sundaes. Sadly for me, there was warm, crunchy fried chicken to eat up … shredded fried chicken inside one of these was … it was unholy.

Leftover mashed potato buns

Makes 8


Leftover mashed potato, from 25 grams to 200 grams
Strong bread flour – enough to make potato and flour equal 700 grams
A little extra flour for kneading
7 grams/1 sachet yeast
14 grams salt
1 egg, optional
25 grams sugar, optional
Up to 350 ml milk or water
A little milk for glazing


Baking tin
Greaseproof paper
Pastry brush


Around 30 minutes for combining and kneading
At least 3 hours for rising or overnight
30 minutes to bake


Rub the potato into the flour to avoid lumps
Add salt and yeast and rub in; if using the sugar, add now
If using the egg, add it to 200 ml milk and whisk in
Depending on your flour/mash ratio, and how much milk was in your mash means it’s not easy to say exactly how much liquid to add; the mixture needs to come together as a dough; you’re looking at around 400ml, but it could be anything from 250 ml to 400ml. Not sure? Start with 250 and see if all the flour is wet and the dough coming together. If not, add more, steadily. You can add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky, but try to avoid that if possible
Once you’re happy with the dough, it’s time to knead dust the counter with a little flour. Holding onto the dough with your left hand, push the dough away from you with you right hand. Carry on with this for 10 minutes until the dough feels silky and you can hear the odd “pop” from the dough


Shape the dough into a round and return to the bowl; as it rises every few hours, gently punch down and re-shape; do this over 6 hours. No kneading required!
When you’re ready to shape into buns, take a dough cutter or large knife and cut the dough into 12 pieces
Shape the pieces into buns by making them into a round and tucking the sides under the edge
Place each bun in the lined tin around 2cm apart
Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave to rise again, for about 30 minutes
Turn the oven to 180C
Optional: glaze the buns with a little milk before placing in the oven
Bake for around 25 minutes, or until all golden brown on the top
Leave to cool, if you can


Like all home baked bread, these buns are best eaten on the day you bake them
If not, cut into them and freeze for up to 3 months

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