My husband has been requesting that I make a savory potato bread for over a year now. Since the weather is starting to get cooler and hearty soups are starting to make an appearance, I thought no better time than now! This bread is perfect to use as a sandwich bread slice, breakfast toast, or dipped in soup. Cooked potatoes with their cooking water is the secret to very flavorful potato bread. I have made many different types of yeast bread, however, this one was a little different. The dough was very sticky and I was tempted to use lots of flour, but I did stay under the allowed 8 1/2 cups. The crust was brown and crisp. Each soft slice of bread is loaded with little chunks of potato in each bite, making it extremely flavorful.
Tender Potato Bread
- 4 medium to large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. (Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold) (between 8oz-16oz of potatoes)
- 4 cups water, reserve cooking water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
In a medium saucepan, place potatoes and 4 cups water and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, reserving the potato water, and mash the potatoes well.
Measure out 3 cups of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F) – stir well before testing the temperature.
In a one cup measuring cup, stir yeast into a cup of cooled water (70-80°F). Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes & water mixture and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the mixture and allow to rest 3-4 minutes.
Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.
Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all of that flour has been incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean.
The kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 3-4 minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.
Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds. Set aside the smaller piece and cover loosely with a kitchen towel.
Butter a 9 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf/bread pan. Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in volume.
To make rolls with the remainder: Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.
Preheat oven to 450°
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter. Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a very sharp knife and immediately place the baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven. Bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.
Bake loaf and rolls at 450° for 10 – 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°F for the remaining time. Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.
Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool. When the loaf has baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on a baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.
Source: adapted from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World