Monday, May 9, 2011

Potato bread experiment

For the past three weeks I've been making potato bread. I've been experimenting with how much whole wheat flour and how much all purpose flour I can use. I like to use as much whole wheat flour as I can. Gotta eat your whole grains kiddies! The first week I used 1 cup Of White flour and it was a VERY soft and doughy bread. It was great for sandwiches, but throughout the week, it got almost soggy on the bottom. The second week I didn't use any white flour and I baked it on the oven rack for 5 minutes to dry out the bottom. This week I tried using 1/2 cup of white flour.

To begin. Cut up 1 russet potato into large chunks and add to cold water. You could peel them now, but I peal them afterwards because it's faster and I like burning my fingers. If you cut them into large disks, and then cut them in half, they're easier to peel.

Bring the potatoes to a boil, and then turn the heat down to medium high so they do not boil over. They should boil for about 10 minutes or however long it takes to soften them. Test them with a fork. Drain off all of the water and then carefully, pull off the softened peals. They're hot. I'm not too picky about getting 100% of the peals, just do your best.

While the potatoes are boiling, measure 3 cups of whole wheat flour into your big mixing bowl.

Look at those awesome whole grains!

Add between 1/2 and 1 cup of all purpose flour. I used 1/2 a cup with this loaf and it was denser than sandwich bread should be. Next time I'll use closer to a whole cup.

Also while your potatoes are cooking proof 1 heaping tsp of yeast in 1 and 1/3 cup of luke warm water. We don't want the water too hot or the yeasts will die right off. I always proof my yeast no matter what kind of yeast I'm using.

Add 1 tbsp of sugar so the yeasts have something to munch on while they're waking up.

Don't forget to season your bread. I used "this much" salt. I'm bad about measuring when I make bread. Also, keep in mind that if you're making sandwich bread and you make a delicious garlic bread, it's going to taste bad with your peanut butter. I tend to just use the salt.

Also, add about 1/4 cup of powdered milk. If you'd rather not, you can slightly heat up some real milk and use that to proof the yeast instead of water. Milk adds a bit of protein that helps out the consistency of the bread.

When your potatoes are cooked and pealed, using a fork give them a very good smash. You don't want any large chunks of potatoes in your bread.

Make a well in the middle of your flour mixture and begin to work the potatoes into the flour using your fork.

Then, switch to using your fingers to mix in the potatoes. Crumble up any large chunks you find until your dough looks like sand.

Make another well in the middle of your dough and add the water and yeast.

Using your trusted wooden spoon work as much of the flour into the dough as you can. When you've done as much as you can with the spoon, switch to your hands and work the dough until all of the flour is incorporated. You do not need to kneed.

When your dough is completely mixed together, remove the dough from the bowl and spray the bowl with cooking spray. Add the dough back to the bowl and rotate the bowl to form the dough into a nice tight ball.

Cover the bowl with a slightly moist kitchen towel, not dripping, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 60 minutes. This is what it looks like when it's done rising.

Grease your bread pan with cooking spray. With quick jerky movements, wiggle the bowl to release the dough. You should be able to "pour" the dough into the pan.

You can use your fingers to push the dough into any corners.

Your dough can now rise uncovered in another warm spot for another 60 minutes. Or if you go outside to talk to your neighbor and forget that you've got dough rising, 90 minutes. This is what it looked like when I remembered to check on it.
I always give three lateral slashes to my dough with a steak knife. Back in the days of community ovens, those slash marks identified whose bread was whose. Now it's just a nice touch.

Bake your bread for 30-35 minutes at 350. You do not need to preheat your oven. Turn it on and throw the bread in.

After 35 minutes I pulled the dough out, ran my knife around the edges of the pan, and eased the hot bread onto a cutting board. Then, with hot pads, I transferred it from the cutting board to the oven rack. I baked it for another 5 minutes straight on the rack. This keeps the inside chewy, but prevents the outside from being soggy as with the first loaf of potato bread I made.

After 5 minutes, I was gifted with this. The color on that crust is amazing!

It will be very difficult, but if you can, wait 30 or so minutes until the bread has cooled to cut into it. I never can. I ate my first slice of this loaf with salted butter. Other great choices for homemade bread are honey, or a dipping oil of olive oil, ground black pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Fresh bread out of the oven is one of the reasons to get out of bed in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, lady! Now that you have a house and gas and power and everything I sure hope you get back into updating this! I like checking out what you're making.