Saturday, July 19, 2014

Potato Refrigerator Dough - My New "Go-To" Recipe

Have you ever dreamed you had a yeast dough that comes together in less than half an hour, rises in the fridge overnight and lasts up to 5 days? What if you could take that one dough ball, split it into two, three or even four sections and make a whole list of baked goods from it? The dough does exist and has for at least 60 years. Except I only just learned about it a couple years ago and only began taking advantage of its goodness within the past week. It's Potato Refrigerator Dough.

The recipe and some of its different preparation variations can be found below, but first a little background...

A while ago, after we began our debt-free journey, I was browsing the thrift store book section and scored all three Tightwad Gazette books for about $5.

The Tightwad Gazette was a subscription based newsletter written by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced decision) and available in the 1990's. For those of us who weren't early newsletter subscribers, there are the Tightwad Gazette books which are made up of a large percentage of the newsletter articles. There are three volumes, The Tightwad Gazette, The Tightwad Gazette II and The Tightwad Gazette III. The three Tightwad Gazette volumes can occasionally be found in secondhand book stores or thrift stores, or you can purchase The Complete Tightwad Gazette which is a compilation of all three volumes.

I read each of those books cover to cover. While some of the information is dated (mortgages and salaries were usually much lower and interest rates were much higher in the 90's), the bulk of the information found in these books teaches practical ways to live a frugal life and can help just about anyone save LOTS of money (and the more money I can save, the faster we get out of debt).

In The Tightwad Gazette III (page 19), Amy Dacyczyn mentions a recipe for Betty Crocker Refrigerator Dough which apparently appears in all pre-1986 versions of the Betty Crocker Cookbook along with different baking variations for using the dough.

I have both a 1973 version (page 72, called "Potato Refrigerator Dough" with seven baking variations) and a reprinted copy of the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (page 114, called "Favorite Refrigerator Dough" with two baking variations). Nowadays, you can also find the recipe online at the Betty Crocker website (called Make Ahead Potato Bread Dough).

As with a great many things, it took me a long time to get around to try out this recipe. After reading through the Tightwad Gazette books again recently, I decided it was time to see if I could make use of this "All-Purpose" Refrigerator Dough. I'm pretty certain it was the thought of freshly made cinnamon rolls that ultimately spurred me to action.

The recipe requires unseasoned mashed potatoes. Apparently, you can use mashed potato flakes for this and measure out exactly how much you would need for the recipe, but I don't usually have instant potatoes on hand. I peeled and boiled 6 medium sized russet potatoes, drained them (saving the potato water) and put them through my potato ricer to make sure I had lump-free mashed potatoes.

I wound up with just over 5 cups of mashed potatoes. One cup was set aside for immediate use in the recipe. The remaining potatoes were measured out into 1 cup portions for later use. I intended to make this recipe over and over again and didn't want to have to make mashed potatoes every time.

Mashed potatoes (and shortening, mayo, peanut butter, icing, etc) can be easily measured with a plunger style adjustable measuring cup. Mr. LH and I would constantly see an adjustable measuring cup used on America's Test Kitchen and I would practically drool over it every time. Mr. LH took notice and this OXO Adjustable Measuring Cup was part of my Mother's Day present this year. I love it!

You simply drop the base to your desired measuring line, fill with your ingredient...

Measuring 2/3 cup of shortening.

And then push the measured ingredient out.

Dispensing the 2/3 cup of shortening.

You can use it for liquids and dry ingredients as well, but I just use it for those messy, sticky, semi-solid harder-to-measure ingredients. It worked perfectly for measuring out the mashed potatoes in this recipe!

The first time I made this recipe, I hand mixed it. The second time, I used my mixer. It was much easier!

Betty Crocker Potato Refrigerator Dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp yeast)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water or potato water (105 to 115°F)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or coconut oil *
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup lukewarm UNSEASONED mashed potatoes **
  • 6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour *** 
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in sugar, salt, shortening, eggs, mashed potatoes and 4 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. I generally use 6 to 6 1/2 cups of flour total. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover bowl tightly; refrigerate at least 8 hours. Can be stored in refrigerator at 45 degrees or below up to 5 days. Keep covered.

To use, punch down dough; divide dough into four, three or two parts depending on which recipe you will use it for. (see recipe variations below)

* Update 7/24/2014 - I made this recipe using Coconut Oil (Tropical Traditions brand). The dough straight out of the refrigerator was pretty tough to work with but it didn't take long for it to soften up into a very nice, pliable dough. Tropical Traditions brand coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor to it but I didn't notice it in the finished products.

** Instant mashed potatoes can be used for the mashed potatoes...just don't season it.

*** If using self-rising flour, omit salt. You can substitute up to 3 cups of whole wheat flour.

The first time I made this dough, I used it all within 2 days. I made cinnamon rollshot dog buns and doughnuts. The day I used the last bit of dough, I made more. When that batch was ready, I made more hot dog buns and some hamburger buns and more cinnamon rolls. Now I have a third batch in the works and have plans for all of it.

There are so many ways to use this refrigerator dough. Aside from those goodies I have already made, the dough will produce dinner rolls or calzones. Transform it into pizza crust or monkey bread. You name it! No wonder it's considered "all-purpose"!

There are some variations scattered about online and I keep coming up with some ideas myself. As I make something, I'll write a post about it in more detail and link to it from here.

Using Your Potato Refrigerator Dough

Cinnamon Rolls:
 - Roll out 1/3 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough (recipe above) into a 12" wide rectangle 1/4" thick (will be approximately 12" x 11").
- Spread 3 TBS butter on the surface of the dough.
- Combine 6 TBS light brown sugar and 2 tsp. ground cinnamon. Sprinkle over butter to cover the surface.
- Starting at the 12" end, roll the dough to form an 12" long roll. Pinch the seam closed.
- Mark off 1 " sections and cut into 12 slices (it is easiest to do this with dental floss).
- Place the 12 slices into a buttered 13" x 9" baking dish, about 1" apart.
- Let rise, lightly covered, for 1 to 1 1/5 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25 to 28 minutes or until a rich golden color on top.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle with a glaze (2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and 3 TBS milk).
OPTIONAL - you could also sprinkle raisins or chopped nuts on top of the sugar/cinnamon layer prior to rolling up.
Read More >

- Roll out 1/3 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough (recipe above) until it is 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut with a doughnut cutter (or use a pizza cutter to cut into squares).
- Place cut doughnuts onto a piece of lightly buttered parchment or wax paper.
- Loosely cover the dough with a cloth and set aside to rise until doubled in size, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
- Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350°F. (If you don't have a deep fryer, you can use a couple quarts of oil in a dutch oven on the stovetop)
- Fry doughnuts in small batches until golden brown on both sides.
- Drain, sprinkle with sugar or add icing or glaze.
I was able to squeeze out a baker's dozen (and extra doughnut holes) using my 2 3/4" doughnut cutter. Use a biscuit cutter (no hole) to make filled doughnuts.
Read More >

Hamburger Buns:
- Divide 1/3 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough (recipe above) into 8 equal parts.
- Shape each part into smooth ball on lightly floured surface then flatten to about 1/2 inch (this should make your dough rounds approximately 3" across).
- Place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet (or use a silicone mat on the baking sheet).
- Loosely cover the dough with a cloth and set aside to rise until doubled in size, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Brush buns egg wash then sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional).
- Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Makes 8 hamburger buns.
Read More >

Hot Dog Buns:
- Divide 1/3 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough (recipe above) into 8 equal parts.
- Shape each part into a rope approximately 6" long on lightly floured surface.
- Place about 1 - 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet (or use a silicone mat on the baking sheet).
- Loosely cover the dough with a cloth and set aside to rise until doubled in size, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 8 large hot dog buns perfect for bun length dogs, brats and smoked sausages.
Read more >

Crescent Rolls:
- Roll 1/4 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough Recipe  into a 12-inch circle.
- Spread with softened butter.
- Cut into 16 wedges (I used a pizza cutter).
- Roll up, beginning at rounded edge.
- Place rolls, with points underneath, on greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper or silicone baking mat).
- Gently brush the tops with melted butter. Too much pressure could cause your dough to fall.
- Cover loosely and let rise until double, 60 to 90 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Bake until light brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 16 rolls.
Read More >

Cheese Danishes:
- Roll 1/4 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough Recipe (above) into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut dough into 8 equal(ish) sized blocks.
- Brush each block with softened butter.
- Sprinkle each block with about 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
- Roll each block into a rope and pinch the seam and edges to seal.
- Coil each rope and place on a greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper or silicone baking mat).
- Press each coil to flatten.
- Cover loosely and let rise until double, 60 to 90 minutes.
- Gently create an indention in the middle of each danish and fill with approximately 2 Tablespoons of the cream cheese filling (recipe below).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
- Drizzle with glaze (recipe below).
  • Cream Cheese Filling: Combine 8 oz. softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  • Glaze: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted), 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 Tbs milk. Stir until smooth.
Read More >
Apple Dumplings:
- Roll 1/4 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough Recipe (above) into 14-inch circle.
- Cut into 8 wedges (I use a pizza cutter).
- Sprinkle each wedge with softened butter.
- Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
- Cut a Granny Smith apple into 8 wedges.
- Place a piece of apple onto each dough wedge and roll up starting from the wide end and ending with the point. Tuck in ends. Continue with remaining apples and dough wedges.
- Place in a greased or buttered 13 x 9 baking dish.
- Cover lightly and let rise until double, 60 to 90 minutes. If you don't need to bake them until later, place the covered pan in the refrigerator and pull out to rise approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you plan to bake them.
- Mix together 1 stick of melted unsalted butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour butter mixture over the dumplings.
- Pour 1/2 cup of lemon-lime soda around the edges of the dumplings.
- Sprinkle tops with more cinnamon.
- Bake at 350°F degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Read More >

Bread Loaves:
- Make one batch of the Potato Refrigerator Dough Recipe EXCEPT reduce sugar to 1/2 cup and increase salt to 2 tsp.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Divide dough into 2 equal parts.
- Press each section of dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 9 inches.
- Beginning at the short side, roll up each rectangle.
- Fold under ends of dough and place in greased loaf pans (I use Pyrex loaf pans measuring 8 1/2 x
- Brush tops of loaves with softened margarine or butter.
- Loosely cover and let rise until doubled in size (approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours)
- Place the loaves on a low oven rack so the tops of the loaf pans are in the center of the oven. The loaf pans should not touch each other or the sides of the oven.
- Bake until tops are a deep golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and brush tops again with softened margarine or butter.

Bread Sticks:
- Divide 1/4 of the Potato Refrigerator Dough Recipe (above) into 12 equal parts.
- Roll each piece into 7" ropes.
- Arrange approximately 1 to 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet (or on parchment paper or silicone baking mat)
- Loosely cover and let rise until doubled in size (approximately 60 to 90 minutes)
- Mix together 1/4 melted coconut oil (or half melted coconut oil and half melted or softened butter), 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
- Generously brush the oil/butter mixture on the tops of each bread stick.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Variation: omit the garlic butter mixture and instead brush on an egg wash. Sprinkle bread sticks with sesame seeds and then bake.

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7 Miles With Jesus said...

I know this post is over a year old but it had a ton of useful info on this recipe that was like a gold mine for me. My mother made these rolls years ago for every holiday but I was interested in where this originated and you gave me everything I needed to know. Made this per recipe with Crisco and ended up using 6-1/2 cups of King Arthur All-Purpose to get the dough just past the sticky point. I've just put them in the fridge and plan to bake some rolls sometime tomorrow. And even though I've got my mom's old recipe and yours as well as the link to the original Betty Crocker recipe on their web site, I'm thinking of buying a copy of one of the old BC Cookbooks on ebay. Thanks again for your detailed and helpful post.

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