A recipe for soft, fluffy potato dinner rolls topped with nutty, tangy cheese.
I’m sitting here with my knees pulled up to my chest staring at my to-do lists. Multiple. A cup of coffee long cold sits on top of a stack of post-it notes on the desk, my water jar is empty. There are two chuck roasts thawing on the counter that need to be dealt with in short order for dinner tonight, and I don’t have even an inkling of a plan outside of the usual braising method, which I, frankly, don’t feel like eating.
I don’t have an anecdote about baking with my mom or a story about getting your kids interested in vegetables or how to make time for dinner. I am low on advice this afternoon. Instead I stare into my kitchen, which desperately needs to be cleaned, and find myself wholly unmotivated to tackle any of it. The butchering, the baking, the candlestick making.
My children will come running through the door in moments, flinging backpacks to the floor before they run out into the sunshine and embrace the start of the weekend. I wish I could say the same for myself, face to the sunshine, worry to the wind. Instead I ponder life’s existential crises and balance them against my lists, push my hands down deep in the dough, and breathe deep.
When I feel overwhelmed, I have a difficult time beginning. I seem to be paused, poised to play, but in stasis. Bread baking, even when it’s a rather simple roll recipe, is cathartic. The idea that a mix of ingredients can be blended and baked into something that resembles nothing of what they were before gives me a sense of control over chaos. Sprinkling Kerrygold’s Dubliner cheese over the top and a good pat of butter in the center of a warm roll carry their own comfort.
These rolls get some extra softness from the potato baked in. They are simple, yet inviting, and they’ll make even the most monotonous meal seem interesting. (No offense to the chuck roast, of course.)
Cheese-Topped Potato Dinner Rolls
- 8 ounces peeled and diced raw potato
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons cream
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheese (like Kerrygold Dubliner)
- Start by boiling salted water to a boil. Add in the raw potato cubes and boil until tender. Drain, mash, and set aside.
- Stir the honey into the warm milk. Add in the yeast and set aside for five minutes to allow to bloom.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add in the mashed potatoes and mix until combined and crumbly. Make a well in the center of the flour-potato mixture. Add in the melted butter and the egg. Pour the milk mixture into the well. Stir, incorporating the flour by moving slowly out as you go, until a soft dough is formed.
- Knead the dough 7 to 10 turns, just until it comes together. Place back in the bowl, cover, and allow to rise for one hour, until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare a baking sheet or two 9x13" pans with parchment or a baking mat.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place on the baking sheet or 12 rolls to each 9x13" pan. Cover and allow to rest 20 minutes. Brush lightly with cream.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Top with shredded cheese. Allow to bake for an additional 3 minutes to melt and crisp the cheese. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
I’ve made these rolls a few times now as I played with the recipe and the best possible pan to bake them in. I am, therefore, qualified to tell you that you can make the same size balls of dough 24 to a 9×13″ pan or 12 to a 9×13″ pan (x2 because you’ll still get 24 rolls total). The 24-in-the-pan method results in dense, soft dinner rolls. The kind you might buy at your local supermarket. The 12 in a pan gives large, fluffy rolls. They are both equally delicious, and my family ate them both ways.
So, if you like a thick, dense roll, pack them into the pan. For a larger, more delicate roll with a defined crust, 12 is the way to go. You can sort of see the difference comparing the top photo and the bottom photo in this post. Really, though, for me, the bun is as good as the butter you spread on it.
Yes, I used Kerrygold products in this post. Kerrygold occasionally sends me products because I have done paid work with them in the past and am on their list. I was not paid to use the products in this post, however. The truth is that I purchase their butter and cheese regardless and have long before I worked with them.