Monday, November 14, 2011

Potato Bread

I know this has been a pathetically slow month for blogging, but now that the wedding is over (it was beautiful!) and I'm safely home in Israel, I have a bit of time to pick it back up again. The wedding I flew in for was that of my lovely sister Rachael. I thought it would be nice to bake her some loaves of fresh bread for her new apartment (although these loaves were devoured by the people in my house before they made it to hers!). I had been wanting to try out a recipe for potato bread for a really long time, having heard that mashed potatoes give bread a wonderful, moist, texture. So I pulled out my copy of Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads (one of the only bread books I had left in America!) and decided to make his Potato Bread. I'm happy to have one thing checked off my list! This bread was more time consuming than others in its preparation due to the cooking of the potatoes. I also found that because of the moisture, the dough took a LOT more flour than called for before becoming a firm-ish dough. Once the dough was kneaded, it rose fast and baked beautifully. I brushed one of the loaves with some margarine after it came out and I like the gloss it gave it. Everyone loved this bread (even without knowing the secret ingredient!). My father (the toughest to please declared it spot on and my siblings enjoyed it in sandwiches. I'm just sorry it never made it over to the new apartment. These loaves are off to Yeastspotting which is being hosted this week by Tartine Bread Experiment!

Potato Bread
adapted from Bernard Clayton

2 small to medium sized potatoes
2 cups water
1/4 cup margarine or butter
5 cups flour, or more as needed
2 packages dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Place the water and potatoes in a saucepan. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
Pour the potato water into a glass measure. Add enough water to make 1 3/4 cups.
Mash the potatoes as smoothly as you can.
Pour the potato water back over the mashed potatoes and add the margarine.
Heat on low until the margarine is melted. Stir all together and set aside.
Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl,
and whisk to combine.

Add the potato mixture,
and stir to make a shaggy dough.
Begin kneading it until it just comes together.
Turn it out onto a very well floured surface,
and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed to help achieve this consistency. This might take a while- between seven-ten minutes.
Cover the dough and allow to rise until doubled. Gently deflate and shape into two loaves.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to proof. Preheat the oven to 450 towards the end of proofing.
Here are the proofed loaves.
Quickly slash the loaves and bake for fifteen minutes. Turn down the temperature to 350 and bake until the loaves register at least 190 on a thermometer.
Cool on wire racks and enjoy!

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