The Secret Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Your Cinnamon Rolls

The potato is a much-loved culinary workhorse. You probably enjoy them baked, boiled, mashed, in a salad, and fried — there's really no wrong way to cook a spud. But you might just end up loving the potato even more when we let you in on a baking secret: adding mashed tubers or potato flour to your baked goods can not only make them fluffier, they make breads and buns taste better, too.

Baking experts at Southern Living say that because potatoes are rich in potassium, they are able to bind themselves to yeast in a way that makes bread rise faster than it normally would. Potato starches are also able to absorb more moisture than wheat starches, which makes a bread or bun softer and fluffier than its all-wheat counterpart. Baked goods with potato in them also have a more delicate crumb because a tuber's starch molecules become bigger when boiled, and adding boiled potato to a pastry mix will make it difficult for the flour's proteins to form gluten.

Potatoes make a good addition to cinnamon rolls

The Domestic Rebel, who swears by her potato-inclusive cinnamon roll recipe, promises an "extra soft, tender and fluffy" result, and says "the mashed potatoes seriously make the rolls extra tender. They taste just like regular cinnamon rolls, yes — but the texture is where it's at." 

You'll need a cup of unseasoned, cooked, and peeled potato to add to your cinnamon roll dough; the recipe calls for you to heat the mashed potato with milk and butter, then incorporate and add the flour before kneading the dough until it is soft and elastic. Even supermarket-made mashed potatoes will work.

But adding mashed potato to your dough isn't as simple as it sounds. Stack Exchange warns against modifying a non-potato recipe, because tubers have different amounts of starch and water, so you could end up with a culinary fail if recipes aren't kitchen-tested first. Your best bet will be to use a recipe for a bead, bun, or pastry that already has potato incorporated into it.