1 large russet potato
1 package (1/4th ounce) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees---bath tub temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter (+ 4 T for honey butter) , room temperature
2 T honey
1 egg + 1 T warm water for egg wash
Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts on a piece of tin foil and toast for 6-8 minutes (watch carefully!) until golden and fragrant. Remove from stove, roughly chop, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Peel the potato, cut into uniform chunks and drop into the water to cook for about 20 minutes until tender. When cooked through (make sure by sticking a fork in a piece!), drain water and transfer potato chunks to a large bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the eggs and 1/3 cup sugar to the mashed potatoes, followed by the yeast/water mixture. Mix well to combine.
Add two cups of the flour, salt and the toasted walnuts to the potato mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a wet, shaggy dough forms. Place a dishcloth over the bowl and set the bowl in a warm spot (I use the top of the dryer) to rise for 1.5 hours.
Beat the softened butter and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add risen dough and continue to beat with your paddle attachment (or dough hook if you have one) adding the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour slowly until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Keep mixing now on high for six more minutes until the dough isn't sticky anymore (though it will still stick to the sides of the bowl).
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in. Cover and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.
Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. Divide the dough into about thirty small balls and place in the dish. Cover and let rise (one last time!) for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After rising, brush rolls with an egg whisked with a tablespoon of warm water (this will make them super duper shiny!).
Bake for 35 minutes until golden.
To make honey butter, cream additional 4 T butter with 2 T honey until smooth (or just mash with a fork). Serve with warm rolls.
about 4 hours