Happy Sunday Bread Heads! This week we’re going to fulfill a request for potato bread. There are those who really go ape over potato bread, though it is not really one of my favorites. I like my bread to either be sweet, or to be savory, potato breads tend to be a little of each with just a light sweetness to them. They do, however have a lovely thick crust and a fine moist crumb.
Many potato breads start with a starter, but I find this really a long way to go for this type of bread. This recipe has kind of a faux starter which rises then the rest of the flour is added to. I find it is the best of both worlds.
1 cup plain mashed potatoes (any kind will do)
2 eggs beaten
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) dry yeast
4 to 5 cups of unbleached bread or all purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
2 loaf pans 8×4 preferred, non-stick or greased
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a your stand mixer if you are using that) combine the potatoes, eggs, ¼ cup of sugar, salt, yeast and two cups of the flour. Stir this into a rough batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the batter has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Cream the rest of the butter with the sugar and set aside.
Remove the plastic wrap and beat the batter down. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer; or a wooden spoon, if you are doing this by hand, stir in the butter and sugar mixture. Add the flour ½ cup at a time until the dough is starting to clean the sides of the bowl.
This is another of those recipes where you will have to feel out the amount of flour needed. It varies with how much moisture is left in your mashed potatoes. I only used 4 cups for these two loaves. When the dough ball starts to look dry or cleans the sides of the bowl it is ready.
Attach the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes at medium speed. Add sprinkles of flour if the moisture works through. It should be smooth and elastic when it is finished.
If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured word surface. Using a push-turn-fold technique, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Add sprinkles of flour if it is sticky.
Place the dough in a large bowl and pat with buttered fingers (this will prevent the dough from forming a crust) and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until it has doubled in volume, about 1 ½ hours. This dough only has one package of yeast, so it will probably take that whole time.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for about 30 seconds to get any large bubbles out of the dough. Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife. Form each half into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 4 minutes.
To form the loaves press each ball into a flat oval about the same length as your pans. Fold the oval in half and strongly pinch the seam together. Tuck the ends under and place in your greased pans.
Cover the pans with wax paper and set in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes. The top of the loaves should just be above the edge of the pans.
20 minutes before baking, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake until they are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Don’t do what I did this week and just let them run the whole 40 minutes without checking, my crust is just too brown, I should have tented them with tin foil in the last 10 minutes (I told you I don’t make this bread very often). Check for doneness by turning one out of the pan and thumping the bottom. If it is hard and makes a hollow sound, it is done. If it is not done, put back in the oven for about five more minutes.
Turn bread onto wire racks to cool. This is a pretty darn good sandwich bread. It will keep for several days at room temperature. You can also double wrap it and freeze it for up to 4 months.
To revive your frozen bread, let it thaw in the wrapping. Then slip it into a 325 degree oven for ten minutes. Then poof! You will have hot fresh bread ready to go.
A quick note; a friend of ours had a new baby boy this week. It is our tradition to bake up a huge basket of goodies for the new parents (so there is something to eat at 2am or whenever). I intend to give the recipes for most of the things in the basket over the next few weeks. They will be getting scones, muffins, French bread, Cinnamon Raisin bagels and a Danish Braid. So that gives you an idea of what will be coming up in this series. If anyone has any requests I will be happy to get to them after that.
The flour is yours.