Potato Dinner Rolls with Parmesan and Black Pepper

I made Chris Kimball’s new potato bread dinner rolls, and chose this variation that includes Parmesan cheese because I thought that it would add great flavor. I was somewhat disappointed, given them just 3-star. My son said that these potato rolls were not as good as store-bought potato bread. Considering their freshness, that is stinging criticism from a 13-year-old boy. In my opinion the problem may have simply been a lack of salt. Anyone who has eaten under-salted bread knows the severity of the issue, but it’s so basic that Chris Kimball should have certainly perfected the amount of salt. He includes just 1 teaspoon of salt; half the salt included in the rustic dinner rolls a few weeks ago.

The rolls were good, but needed more salt.


  1. I used a little more than 1 pound of russet potatoes in order to obtain my 1/2-pound of mashed potatoes. I gave the extra mashed potatoes to my youngest son, who absolutely loves mashed potatoes.
  2. Chris Kimball warns against using potatoes that are too hot in step 5. But by the time you are ready to mix it will almost certainly be lower than 110-degrees.
  3. Be sure to use bread flour, as all-purpose flour does not contain enough protein to support the potatoes.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

1 pound russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-1/4 cups bread flour (12 1/3 ounces)
1-1/2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs

  1. Peel your potatoes and cut into 1″ cubes. Put potatoes in medium saucepan and add enough water to cover, but don’t salt the water. Bring up to boil over high burner, then reduce to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes so that the potatoes are cooked through.
  2. Before draining potatoes, reserve 5 tablespoons of the potato cooking water.
  3. Drain potatoes and return them to the saucepan set over a low burner. Cook them for 1 minute, shaking occasionally, so that all moister from the surface of the potatoes evaporates. Then remove from heat.
  4. Process the potatoes through ricer (or mash them well using a potato masher). Measure 8 ounces and put in bowl.  Cut the butter into 4 pieces and stir into potatoes until melted.
  5. Add bread flour, 1/2-cup Parmesan (1-oz), yeast, sugar, salt, and pepper in bowl of stand mixer. Ensure the potato mixture isn’t more than 110-degrees, then add to flour mixture. Mix together with your hands until combined, leaving a few large lumps isn’t a problem. Add 1 egg and the potato water you reserved in step 2. Turn on standing mixer (equipped with dough hook) to low, and mix for 10 minutes until the dough becomes soft. Don’t be fooled into adding more water too early in the mixing process if the dough appears too dry.
  6. Spray a large bowl with non-stick vegetable spray. Empty dough only counter and shape into a dough ball. Add to prepared bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. Empty the dough out onto an un-floured counter (lightly dusting with flour only if dough is too sticky to handle). Pat dough into an 8″ square of even thickness. Use a chef’s knife to cut dough into 12 even-sized pieces (3 rows by 4 rows). Each roll should weight 2 ounces. Separate and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Form each piece of dough (keeping remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap) into smooth balls. Chris Kimball recommends a technique of cupping your hands around the dough ball, and moving in circular motions on the counter-top (without applying any pressure on the dough). This will allow the inherent tackiness of dough to work itself into smooth, even balls. Place rolls on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and allow to rise at room temperature for 40 minutes until they have doubled in size. Meanwhile, adjust a rack to upper-middle of your oven. Pre-heat to 425-degrees.
  9. Lightly beaten 1 eggs with 1 teaspoon water and pinch salt. Brush each roll carefully with a little egg wash. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese on each roll (1/4 cup total). Bake in your 435-degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes until the rolls become deeply golden brown. Be sure to rotate the rolls halfway through baking to ensure even baking. Put baking sheet on wire cooling rack for 5 minutes, then remove from baking sheet and allow them to cool directly on the wire rack for another 15 minutes. They can be served warm or at room temperature.

Rolled and almost ready to go into the oven


4 Responses to Potato Dinner Rolls with Parmesan and Black Pepper

  1. Anna says:

    It’s kind of interesting that the saltiness of the Parmesan didn’t improve the flavor of the bread. Sorry it didn’t work well for you.

  2. Carl J says:

    I am a bread junkie. Always have been and always will be. Great pics by the way!

  3. Rob says:

    I tried it with 2 teaspoons of salt and the full half cup of Parmesan included. They turned out great. They were relatively easy to make and I could see myself trying it again. Yum!

    Does anyone know why you cook up a pound of potatoes but only use 8 oz in the recipe? Seems strange/wasteful.

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