One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato…

March 10, 2008

Yes, more potato bread 🙂

My friends and I are going to a big convention this weekend, and since we’re all pretty much broke we decided that bringing food instead of buying was the best idea. And of course, I offered to make bread for sandwiches! I have been torturing my dear friend Dean with pictures of all of my bread for a while now, so he was pretty excited with the idea.

Last month I made a recipe for potato bread. I considered using this one for my friends, since it was something I had been playing with for quite a while. A tried and true recipe, but while tasty, it felt like cheating. Even though I was doing it by hand, it used just potato flakes instead of real potatoes since it came from a bread machine cookbook. I don’t mind cheating once in a while. Shortcuts can be very good. But I wanted to make REAL potato bread and give them something great.

I have two new recipes to try this year and this is one. The other one had reviews from people who had actually tried it (since it was one of those Daring Bakers things I am sure you have seen around) but the reviews seemed rather mixed so I decided to be a little safe and go with this one first.

 

This is a real hearty bread. Wheat flour would make it even more so, but I honestly don’t think it needs it. This is nothing like the potato bread you’ll find in stores, but it’s great and super soft. Perfect for sandwiches or just munching on. I personally think it might need a little sugar, but other than that it’s great. I’ll let you know what my friends think when they try it. In the meantime…

Hearty Potato Bread
Source: A Year in Bread

2 cups water*
5 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
8 ounces mashed potatoes**
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt

*You’ll use the water from boiling the potatoes for this. You can use regular water but this will be better
**Peel and cut a little more than 8 ounces so you can make sure you have enough

1. Peel and cut potatoes and boil for approximately 30 minutes, or until soft enough to mash. Measure out 8 ounces of potatoes, and two cups of water, plus a little more on the side in case you need it. Mash the potatoes in the potato water and allow to cool until approximately 100F.

2. Add the bread flour and yeast to the potato/water mixture. Add the butter and mix until well combined. Mix in the salt.

3. Spread the all-purpose flour onto your work surface and begin to knead the dough, adding more flour/water as needed. This will be a very slack dough but keep working it until it’s soft and supple.

4. Grease a large (very large, this is a huge loaf) bowl and put the dough in, greasing the top of the dough. Cover the bowl and let rest for approximately an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down, cut the dough in half and let rest for a few minutes. Form two loafs and put them in greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise another hour, or until doubled in size.*** Preheat oven to 375F.

5. Cut two or three slits in the top, lighlty flour the tops and bake bread approximately 20 minutes. Turn and bake for another 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a thermometer inserted inside reads 200F.

6. Turn out loaves onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Cut and enjoy 🙂

Like any bread, you don’t have to bake these in loaf pans. You can free-form these loaves easily, and I will probably do so next time I try it. I might also add a tablespoon or so of sugar, but it is still great without it.

*** This made HUGE loaves. I put about 8 ounces of dough aside so I could try it, make sure it was good before sharing a new recipe with people and it STILL overflowed my loaf pans. You might want to make three small loaves, or two loaves and a small baguette or something like that.


Everyone’s Favorite Carb

February 2, 2008

I have a bread machine that I have used for 5 or so years. It’s great, but about two years ago I decided it wasn’t good enough, so I have been using the recipes from that book to hand-make my bread.

It’s been lots of fun. I have discovered that I really love kneading dough, and nothing is better than the smell of fresh baked bread (okay, okay, so I already knew that part).

I have only played with the white bread and potato bread recipes so far, but the potato bread is by far my favorite. I am still working to perfect it, and when I finally get a pizza stone I might actually get the perfect balance of crispy crust and soft moist inside that I want but until then, I will continue to play until I get what I am looking for.

I have two new recipes I found, but as I do not have all the ingredients I need at the moment (i.e. fresh potatoes and enough flour), and I am craving the smell and taste of fresh bread, I decided to continue to work on this old one and just tweak it with tips I found online and some of the tricks used in the other recipes I mentioned.

yummy bread

 This still isn’t what I am looking for, but it’s getting much closer 🙂

Potato Bread

1 package yeast
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablesppons instant mashed potato flakes
1 1/2 cups warm milk

1. Preheat oven at 450F

note: we’ll turn it down later but you will want it this hot to start.

2. pour a little bit of the milk in a large bowl then add yeast and wait until completely disolved (milk should be approximately 70 – 75F).
3. Add the rest of the milk, salt, sugar and butter and stir until completely disolved.
4. Add in the flour and potato flakes heaping spoonfuls at at time, mixing completely before adding more. Mix until smooth and elastic. Once you get to the last of the flour you might need to dump out onto a cutting board to mix completely.

note: keep the dough as moist as possible. The more moist the dough is, the softer it will come out. If it gets a little too sticky to handle, add a little more flour. If it’s dry, add a little warm milk and continue mixing. (you can do the same if needed while kneading)

5. Knead the dough for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, folding dough in half, pushing down and away from you the rotating a quarter turn. Continue the process, working the dough till it’s nice and elastic.
6. Cut off approximately 1/3 of the dough, then flatten the rest as best as possible. Fold the flattened dough lengthwise in thirds like a letter, then place in a well greased loaf pan. Cover with a clean, dry cloth and put somewhere warm and dark to rise.
7. Cut the remaining dough into 3 or 4 rolls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and keep in a warm dark place to rise.

note: If you prefer to knead your dough a second time you do not have to put in the loaf pan yet. I don’t beat down my dough and let it rise a second time, but that’s up to you.

8. Once dough has approximately doubled in size, lightly flour the tops then cut two slits into the top.
9. Place loaf pan in the oven, then throw a few ice cubes in the bottom of the oven, closing the door quickly to capture the steam.
10. After about 5-10 minutes, turn oven down to 350F and let cook for an additional 20-25 minutes.
11. Once dough is begining to brown prop oven door open slightly to let the remaining steam out and cook for approximately 10 more minutes, or until it is nicely browned.
12. Let cool in the loaf pan for approximately 10 minutes.

yummy bread 2

At this point you can dump it out of the loaf pan and either cut up and eat it warm (yum!), or cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let cool completely.

Repeat steps 9-12 for rolls.

yummy bread 3