Why You Should Consider Adding Yeast To Your Mashed Potatoes

The creamy, buttery flavor of a serving of classic mashed potatoes is always delicious, but adding extras like herbs, cheese, and garlic can take your mashed potatoes to the next level. One such ingredient that can elevate your mashed potatoes even further is an unusual one: yeast. This simple addition will lend your spuds an earthy, savory note and a bready aroma, which is ideal if you prefer your mash to have a little chutzpah.

Yeast is a living single-cell organism that's used as a leavening agent to make baked goods rise. When activated in a warm liquid, the yeast begins to bloom. Then it feeds on the sugars in the bread dough, creating bubbles of carbon dioxide that lend the loaves their airy structure and savory flavor. Adding yeast to mashed potatoes has a similar effect; the carbon dioxide bubbles flourish as the warm taters rest for a short period, which alters their texture. The result is a fluffier, almost aerated serving of mashed potatoes. 

The additional perk to this surge of air bubbles is that they cause your spuds to increase in size. While the mash won't rise up loftily like a baker's loaf, it will slightly puff up and swell. Moreover, the yeast gives the potatoes a tangy, earthy, and slightly nutty taste, which works well if you're planning on serving it with gamier meats that have a strong flavor profile.

How to add yeast to mashed potatoes

Active dry yeast needs to be bloomed in a warm liquid to wake it up before it can be incorporated into bread dough and the same goes for when you're prepping mash. Simply empty your sachet of yeast into a warm jug of cream or milk until the granules swell up and become foamy, which is also a great trick for checking that your yeast is still alive. Then add this yeasted liquid straight into your mashed potatoes and give it a good stir to incorporate it evenly through your taters. Allow your mash to rest for a short period before serving so the yeast can work its magic, transforming your classic serving of mash into a fluffier, more savory-tasting side.

However, be wary of consuming raw yeast if you suffer from digestive issues because it can cause bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and even fungal infections in those immunocompromised. If you do choose to add yeast to your mashed potatoes, be sure to make everybody well aware of the hidden ingredient in case they have a yeast allergy. For a safer option, you could add nutritional yeast to your mash. This deactivated yeast, which is popular in vegan cooking for lending sauces and salad dressings a savory cheesy flavor, is safe to eat raw. Simply mix it into your melted vegan butter and stir it through your taters to give them a cheesy note without using any dairy.