Potato buns

Makes: 8 burger buns or 2 cob loaves

Prep time: 15 minutes plus approximately 90 minutes proving

Cooking time: 30 minutes

This recipe was born out of a conversation with a good friend of mine.  He asked if I had any experience making potato rolls after being blown away by the burger buns from shake shack. A quick Google clued me in and I told him I’d knock up a batch when I next saw him. The shake shack burger buns are made with potato starch and milk powder to soften the bread and give it a springy texture. They also add a touch of turmeric for colour.

I couldn’t let him down so here’s my take on a potato bun.  I didn’t have any potato flour/ starch on hand so I simply boiled and cooled some maris piper potatoes and used them.
I don’t like wasting any flavourful ingredient and seeing as I had a pan of bacon fat hanging about after breakfast I enriched these buns with the cooled and strained fat from smoked streaky bacon. Butter would do the job just fine but the bacon fat added a super savoury essence (pretentious chef much?!?!) .  This bread came out so well I made another batch the next day.  The spring back when you squish this bread is pretty incredible and had my buddy harassing one of the loaves on and off all day.  Overall one of the nicest breads I’ve made.

You will need :

600g strong bread flour (Canadian for preference see notes below)
360g water
13g quick yeast
13g salt
130g peeled, cooked and cooled potato
45g salted butter or smoked bacon grease
1 egg (for glazing)
1 pinch nigella/sesame seeds if you’re making buns
A sprinkle of polenta

Making it :

Mix the yeast into the flour then add the water. Mix until it forms a dough with no dry flour. Allow the dough to rest for ten minutes and then add the salt and potatoes.Knead / mix until the potatoes are incorporated before adding the butter/bacon grease. Continue to knead/ mix until you have a smooth and elastic dough.  Bring the dough together and then place in a large bowl and cover with clingfilm. Allow the dough to double in size and then gently knock it back by poking it with your finger tips and pulling it away from the edge of the bowl. 
Allow to double in size again (this should happen fairly quickly) and knock it back again.  Now’s the time to divide it up and shape it.
Preheat your oven to 220°C
I made burger buns weighing 125g and cob loaves at 500g
If you’re making buns just shape them and place them on a baking tray to prove.
If making the cob loaves shape the bread and then tap the base on some polenta to make it easier to pick up once it has proved.
With either buns or cobs cover the bread either with greased clingfilm or in a tent made from a bag and allow it to double in size one last time.
Glaze the dough by brushing it with beaten egg. Sprinkle with seeds or cut slashes in the cobs.  Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes for the buns or 30 minutes for the cobs – until they have an internal temp above 90°C or they sound hollow when flicked on the base.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes on a cake rack.


I used Canadian strong bread flour for this recipe due to the high protein content (I used allinsons which comes in at 14%). This high protein level means the dough can develop more gluten.

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