Sunday, February 12, 2012

Potato Bread Love (For Debbie-My-Egg-Lady #5 2012)

Baked on February 5, 2012

Late afternoon sun on light and airy potato loaves

On one of my used book store forays was a find almost as important to me as Carol Field's The Italian Baker. The first time I saw "Italian Baker" in the title, I couldn't believe that there was a whole book on the subject!  Finding Secrets of A Jewish Baker by George Greenstein gave me the same kind of thrill, as I imagined a book dedicated to recipes for Jewish ryes, pumpernickels, bagels, challah etc.  It does not disappoint, despite the fact that I have not baked many of the recipes.  Some of the rye breads have multiple steps and require rye starters and won't work when I want bread baked in one day.  But it has helped me understand why it's hard to find bread today that matches my memories of the Jewish bakery of my childhood.  (Another story for another time.) 

I had just bought a bag of potatoes and cooked up some gnocchi.  I was thinking about potatoes in bread- how nice it is, and maybe it was time to make some again.  I decided to check some of my bread books and discovered a very straight-forward recipe by Greenstein.  I liked that he uses both the potato and the cooking water.  With some cake yeast still in the fridge, potato bread it would be.


6 c bread flour- more or less, as needed to make a soft dough on the sticky side
1 1/4 oz cake yeast dissolved in 1/4 c warm water
8 oz riced potatoes*
2 c potato water*
1/3 c dry milk powder (instant, non-fat powdered milk)
2 T sugar
2 T soft butter
2 t salt

*Cover 2 medium, whole potatoes, skin on, with at least 3 c. boiling water and cook until tender.  Reserve two cups of the cooking water and cool to lukewarm.  I put each potato, whole, in my ricer; the skin stays inside the ricer and you skip the fussiness of peeling it.  Measure 8 ounces of the riced potatoes.

 Mixing and Method
 I used plain white cooking potatoes.  My guess is a starchy potato, as opposed to a waxy type, works better for this recipe.  Usual stand mixer method for mixing and kneading dough; first rise in lidded plastic tub tripled in volume in 90 minutes.  Divided and shaped into one oval loaf, about 1# 12 oz, and one boule, about 1# 4 oz.  I preheated my medium graniteware lidded roasting pan and the small dutch oven, also lidded, at 425 F while the breads rose in their baskets, wrapped in floured towels.  Again, I forgot to jot some details for this recipe as I was making it.  I think I baked them at 425 F for about 30 minutes, but it might have even been 450 F for 25 minutes with the lids off for an extra five minutes. 


This is a most pleasing "white bread" recipe!  It is very fragrant, has loads of flavor, is moist but not gummy, and excellent for toasting as the week progresses. It has a very nice lightly crisped crust that adds to its appeal.  You could easily used leftover mashed potatoes or rice a leftover baked potato, plus plain water, and get similar results.  I'd say this recipe is a keeper, as I already want to bake it again.

Nearly gone- 24 hours later

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