I’m a bit of a food experimenter—when I stumble across a recipe I’m curious about, I make sure I try it.
Irish potato bread was one of those things. I was perusing bread recipes, given my newfound love of making bread these past several months, and stumbled across a few references to this one.
It piqued my interest for a few reasons:
- It’s an easy bread recipe that doesn’t rely on things like yeast and rising and proofing, so it’s easier for beginners like myself,
- It uses up potatoes, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to utilize our massive garden harvest (we had 350 pounds of potatoes last year, and,
- We have a friend with Irish heritage who we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with every year, so I’m always on the lookout for easy and delicious (and preferably healthy) Irish recipes.
I’ve made this twice now and it’s been fantastic both times and was an easy crowd-pleaser. I make this as an appetizer for an afternoon or evening meal, but I believe this is traditionally a breakfast food. I’ve always liked breakfast food better in the evening.
The consistency of Irish potato bread is sort of like a pancake, but it isn’t sweet like a pancake since there’s no sugar in it. Irish potato bread tastes fantastic on its own, but it also tastes great served with a dip (like Cheddar Guinness Dip) or if you’re not against mixing cuisines it tastes great with Italian cured meats.
Irish potato bread starts with, you guessed it, potatoes. Specifically, peeled, boiled, and mashed potatoes.
Even though this is an easy first step, you can make it easier on yourself if you want. You can use leftover mashed potatoes, so simply make too much for dinner the night before with the intention of using the leftovers for this. Or, like me, you can use home-canned potatoes, which are already fully cooked, and just need to be drained (and perhaps rinsed if the water was starchy) and mashed.
Since I used canned potatoes—one pint specifically—I didn’t have the full weight of potatoes required by the recipe below, so I did some math to figure out the new measurements of the rest of the ingredients. If you’re not comfortable with that kind of math, you might be best to stick to the measurements in the recipe, or, honestly, you can eyeball it. If you have approximately half the amount of potatoes, you could halve all the other ingredients. Since there’s no rising or proofing or more science-y aspects of baking, a ratio that’s a little off is likely all right.
From there you add in your melted butter, flour, and salt (if using unsalted butter). Mix it all together with a spoon and when it starts to come together and becomes too stiff to stir, switch to using your hands.
I’ve made this twice now. The first time the ingredients worked out great and the dough was perfect. The second time, it was far too wet and sticky and I had to add a considerable amount of extra flour. So, if needed, add some flour. (If you’re new to this kind of thing, add flour in small amounts at a time because it’s easy to add flour but impossible to remove it if you’ve added too much. It should be ever so slightly sticky to the touch, but should hold to itself more than to your hands—that’s the consistency you’re going for.)
From there you’ll want to transfer it to a floured surface. I’ve got a small spot on the counter that works well, but you can do it on a cutting board or something if that’s what you’ve got. Knead it just a little bit so it really comes together nicely in a ball.
Break the ball up into six smaller balls. That is, if you did the full recipe. Since my potatoes came out to about 2/3 of the required amount, I broke this into four smaller balls. Roll out each ball one at a time on the floured surface still it’s about half a centimetre thick. Since this isn’t a super fancy project, even just smashing it flat with the palm of your hand can work well too.
Once it’s flattened, slice up it up into squares or triangles or any other small bite-size shape that works.
Now it’s time to cook them up!
In a pan over medium heat, warm up some olive oil (or canola oil works too) and add a dollop of butter. When the butter has melted, add in as many pieces of dough fit comfortably on the bottom of the pan. Let it fry for a few minutes and then with tongs or a fork, flip them over and cook the other side. Like with pancakes, I find each successive batch goes a little quicker and a little smoother. You will likely need to add a little oil and butter between batches because it gets used up and absorbed by the bread.
Between batches, you’ll want to keep the cooked bread warm. Putting it in a bowl with a plate over top would work. I line my bowl with paper towel to absorb excess oil/butter.
Or, if you’re like me the other night, you can just put the bowl of cooked bread in front of your guests while you cook up the next batch—but be sure to grab some for yourself before it’s all gone!
We had a guest over and we were all hanging out in the kitchen while I was frying up the bread, so I put the bowl of cooked bread in front of my husband and our guest along with a bowl of cheddar Guinness dip, and we had a great time talking and eating while I cooked up more bread for all of us.
Irish Potato Bread
- 750 g Potatoes
- 30 g Butter, melted (2 Tbsp)
- 1½ cups All-purpose flour (or any flour of your choice)
- 1 pinch Salt (omit if using salted butter)
- Olive oil and extra butter for frying
- Peel, chop, boil, drain, and mash potatoes. Let sit until cool enough to handle. (If you have leftover mashed potatoes in your fridge, you can use that and skip this step. Alternatively, if you have home-canned potatoes, they're already fully cooked, so you can drain them and mash them.)
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. If you're adding extra ingredients (see notes), also add them to the bowl.
- Mix with a spoon until it starts to come together and is difficult to mix. Continue mixing with your hands. The dough should be slightly sticky; if it's too sticky you can add extra flour until it feels like a good bread dough consistency. Knead for a few minutes on a floured surface.
- Divide dough into several small balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out on a floured surface (or smash down with your hands if you don't have a roller) and slice into squares or triangles. You want it somewhere between a quarter and half a centimetre in thickness.
- Put a pan over medium heat on the stove and add in olive oil and extra butter. Working in batches, fry until one side is golden and then flip and fry until both sides are golden. This should take a few minutes per batch and will speed up as you go along. You might need to add extra oil or butter between batches.
- When a batch is done, move to a bowl or dish with a lid to keep it warm until all the batches are done. I like to line the bowl with a paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil and butter.
- Best served warm.