When potatoes are boiled, the starch molecules enlarge, making it difficult for the proteins in the flour to form gluten. Excess gluten is the nemesis of light and airy breads and pastries. If the bread was too dry, try adding an additional tablespoon or two of oil the next time you prepare it. In the same way, water does more than moisturize the dough.
It helps the yeast to do its thing, activates gluten and determines the volume of the bread, all of which is crucial for getting the right results. Even if you add the exact amount of water a recipe requires, using too much flour can alter the flour-to-water ratio. Food releases moisture as it cooks, so leave room for steam to escape. It's easy to clutter up a pan when you're in a hurry, especially if you have to brown a lot of meat to make a meat stew.
However, brown, crunchy chunks are critical to flavor, especially when cooked with low fat content. However, when bread contains potatoes, potato starch molecules make it difficult for wheat starches to crystallize, keeping the bread fresh and soft for a longer period of time.
Potato breadis also a creative way to use leftover mashed potatoes or the last remaining 5-pound potato. The recipe does NOT use ready-made wet mashed potatoes, since the moisture content of ready-made mashed potatoes can vary a lot and this causes the bread to have inconsistent results.
However, keep in mind that this recipe uses DRY potato flakes because they are easier to measure and this helps produce more consistent results. Instead, use a potato masher or, better yet, pass the potatoes through a juicer or food grinder before mixing them with butter and hot milk. These devices are more friendly to starch cells and also prevent lumps from forming. Potatoes are rich in potassium and, in addition to being an important mineral for general good health (among other things, potassium helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals), potassium causes yeast to rise faster than in breads that only contain wheat.
So, beyond boiling it and slicing it into a picnic salad, the humble white potato is also a secret ingredient for light and airy potato bread. However, beyond science, there's the fact that potato bread has always been a favorite of Southern bakers simply because it's easy to make, easy to preserve, and is one of the most delicious white breads I've ever made. Potatoes are a main garnish for weekday meals and barbecue menus, but these starchy tubers are also important for baking tasty and tender breads, such as this classic potato bread from Southern Living.