Potato Bread Perfect for Toast

Recipe by Elizabeth David

This recipe is based on a recipe of Elizabeth David's, an iconic English food writer. As Elizabeth says, "Usually associated with times of grain shortage, or with a need for strict economy in the kitchen, potato bread is also advocated by some nineteenth-century writers as being the best bread for toast." David also quotes a "Doctor A. Hunter," who wrote in 1805, "...lovers of toast and butter will be much pleased with this kind of bread. The potato is not here added with a view to economy, but to increase the lightness of the bread, in which state it will imbibe the butter with more freedom..."

20 mins
35 to 45 mins
2 hrs 50 mins
one 4" x 13" pain de mie loaf or two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaves
Potato Bread Perfect for Toast


  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix and knead all of the ingredients together — by hand, mixer, or using the dough cycle on a bread machine — to make a smooth, very soft dough. Don't be tempted to add more flour; slack dough is what will give the bread its open structure, which makes it able to "imbibe the butter with more freedom."

  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it's noticeably puffy. If you started this dough in your bread machine, transfer it to a bowl to rise; you don't want to risk "dough overflow," as this is a larger-than-usual amount of flour for the typical machine.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured surface, and gently deflate it. The dough is very slack, so you won't be able to shape it into a log; simply pat it into a greased 13" x 4" pain de mie pan, or a 10" x 5" loaf pan. Cover the pan, and let the loaf rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it's puffy. If you're using a pain de mie pan, the dough should come to within about 1/2" of the pan's rim.

  4. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  5. If you're using a pain de mie pan, add the lid and slide it shut. Bake the loaf for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. The 10" x 5" loaf will bake for about the same amount of time: 45 minutes or so. When done, the bread will be golden brown, and its interior temperature at the center will be at least 190°F.

  6. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 to 10 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

  7. Store the bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • You can use mashed potato flakes, following the directions on the box. But it's just as easy to put a large, thoroughly pricked baking potato (such as an Idaho) in your microwave oven, microwave for 3 minutes, then turn over and microwave for a further 3 minutes. Let the potato cool, peel it, and mash it. This is pretty simple, and the flavor is significantly better.