Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tender Potato Bread

I can't knead. Why such an easy process in baking is impossible for me, I don't know. This month for the Daring Bakers Challenge, we had to make Tender Potato Bread. And you couldn't use a bread machine! This was definitely a first for me and it seemed so old fashioned to make bread from scratch without the use of modern amenities that I felt it only appropriate to make this bread at my parents cabin where my Kitchen Aid Mixer and bread machine couldn't tempt me.

Now, back to my kneading, or lack there off. I've seen people knead bread on TV, but I've never actually done it. So I'm on the step that instructs me to knead for 10 minutes straight...yes, you read that right. I start "kneading" and right away my husband and cousin Jeff start teasing me and telling me that I'm mixing the bread, not kneading it. How they know how to do this and I don't is a mystery. After 5 minutes of laughing and STILL not figuring out how to properly knead bread, Joe and Jeff took over and successfully completed that step for me. So THANK YOU!

Making this bread was a long process, but it was worth it. I had enough dough to make a small loaf, 2 dozen rolls, and Dough Gobs. Dough Gobs, we learned, were something that our Grandma Beardall would make with the extra dough when she'd make bread every week. My mom taught us how to make them and they tasted wonderful! They are very similar to a scone. This recipe is definitely a keeper - as long as Joe and/or Jeff are around to knead for me. =)

  • 4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks - variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.

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 in – directions will be for by hand. Let cool to lukewarm – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on 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 the flour has been incorporated.

At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.

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 several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.

To shape the large loaf:

Butter a 9X5 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 a small loaf with the remainder:

Butter an 8 x 4 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.

To make rolls:

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.
Note about Baking Temps: I believe that 450°F(230°C) is going to prove to be too hot for the either the large or small loaf of bread for the entire 40/50 minutes. I am going to put the loaves in at 450°(230°C) for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°F (190 °C) for the remaining time.

Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.

For loaves and rolls:
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.


kristen & brandon said...

i'm with you on the kneading thing!i love to make the dough in my bread machine and cook it myself and skip all those other steps.

Jeff said...

Joe and I were laughing because Lisa wasn't really "mixing" as much as she was "squishing" the dough... her fingers covered in stickiness.

So Joe and I realized that if we were going to get rolls anytime in the near future, we needed to tell Lisa to step away from the mixing bowl. She complied and the men finished the recipe.

By the way, the rolls were really good.

Oh, and on a related note, Joe and I are thinking of hosting our own cooking show on the Food Network... we're still fighting over the theme song and whose name should appear first.

Gigi said...

i feel your pain. i had never made bread before this challenge. but your turned out great!

BC said...

I changed the instructions a bit and mixed in the flour in the bowl with a wooden spoon until it was stiff enough to turn out onto the counter. It's not you, it's the sticky recipe.

breadchick said...

Great job on the bread and don't worry about the kneading "technique". All you really have to do is mash it around a bit, even if all you do is "squish" it through your fingers, sometimes that is all it takes! Glad the two guys were able to help you out and get their rolls on the table. Your post was fun to read.

Julius said...

That loaf looks *perfect*!

I agree with what you said about kneading this dough. Next time, I'll skip the whole hand kneading thing. Now that I've done it, I don't need to do it again.

Congrats on such lovely breads.

Please feel free to see my tender potato bread here.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Shawnda said...

It's definitely an experience :) The loaf of bread looks picture-perfect!

Megan said...

my mom made dough blobs but we did call them scones!

Peabody said...

So you tag teamed...nice!
I on the other hand love to's so calming to me.
Excellent job on the challenge.

Carrie said...

Your bread looks awesome!

Ivonne said...

It's hard to find good help in the kitchen, Lisa! So good for you! Great job on the bread!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your bread looks good! Well done!



Tartelette said...

"gobs" is for sure my new favorite word! I love that the gys gave you a hand. Great ob on the challenge!

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Your two kitchen helpers! You'll have to sign them as your sous chefs up until Christmas =D.

Your loaf looks wonderful, it got a very bakery look with the rise and color. Great job!


Jen Yu said...

Ohhhh, that's so cruel that they were laughing at you! But it's a hilarious scenario and I'm glad they came and helped you out - a team effort! Your bread looks fabulous, by the way. Great job!

-jen at use real butter

Gretchen Noelle said...

This was rather funny! I felt like I was just playing with the dough and have since practiced kneading a bit, but then I did not have a peanut gallery to step in and help!

So are you going to share how to make your dough gobs?!?

Gabi said...

Fun post! I found that kneading wasn't really possible for this recipe without adding alot of extra flour- it really was more of a squish and scrape kind of thing!
Good job and it's nice you had help :)

Deborah said...

How funny!! I sometimes love to knead bread, and other times, I'm so grateful for modern conveniences!! Great job!

Julie said...

Hooray for having help with kneading! This was a tough one for a lot of us! I laughed out loud when I read "dough gobs." I'm still laughing! But seriously, your bread looks great!

Quellia said...

Ah I wanted a picture of dough gobs!


Dolores said...

Hey Lisa, I'll knead for you if you'll fold for me. I've never been able to master the art of folding egg whites into a batter... which has gotten me into trouble with more than one DB challenge.

Oh, and how do I make Dough Gobs? They sound great!

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