Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Procrastinating with Potato-Wholewheat Bread



I learn so much from blogging. Like the word "procrastinate". I love that word. It's one of those words that lie really well in your mouth when you say it out loud.

What I don't like about it is that it's not really a positive thing to do, you know? I just checked Wikipedia for the REAL explanation of the word - I wouldn't know how to translate it into Danish, but I certainly had the right vibe about it - and people, it ain't all rosy red. So let's set things straight - I'm not procrastinating because of the perfectionism-thing. I'm simply reading to many other blogs and am busy procrastinating with my studies to be able to do all these blog-post things.

I digress (That's another word I've learned from blogging - see, blogging does make you wiser!) What I really wanted to do today, is tell you about this bread I made a couple of days ago. I've been trying out a couple of different potato-based loaves the last couple of months, and this here - mmm-mmm-mmm. Flecked with bits of potatoes and a certain sweetness/nuttiness from the whole wheat flour, it was eaten by the half-loaf, not slices.

I bought HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World when Martin and I were in the States (oh! It's exactly a year ago we left Denmark tomorrow!) I already had Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet and it's not like I ever cooked anything from it, but it is so pretty. Ditto on HomeBaking - purdy, purdy.

I came home, schlepped out the book, made a bread. And hated it. It was a pretty standard sandwich loaf, but made with a biga, so I was expecting some sort of flavor. It was just flat, dull and ugh. A lot of it may have to do with me using standard flour (yes, I did - it was before the experiment) but still. It was so dull I froze it right away, just wanting to forget about it. And I put the book back on the shelf, wondering why on earth I'd gone through the extra luggage of 2 kilos for that.

And then. Molly to the rescue. What she made from the book was a cake quickbread, but on hearing her loving that (and the book) so much I thought I'd better give it just one more chance. Even though lately, I've been procrastinating in the bread baking department also. Out the book came again, I flipped it open on some random page, and there it was. Tender Potato Bread. So you see, it was a wake-up call of sorts - this recipe begged to be made.

So I did. And I ate half of it on the first day. I think that's about all I need to say. If this is what comes out of procrastinating, I have to do it some more ;-)

Tender Potato Bread - from HomeBaking by Naomi Duguid & Jeffrey Alford

4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used 10 g. fresh yeast, dissolved in a bit of water)
6½ to 8½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup whole wheat flour

Put the potatoes and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, hlaf covered, until the potatoes are very tender. Drain, reserving the potato water, and mash well.

Measure out three cups of the potato water - add extra water if you haven't got enough potato water to make three full cups. Place water and mashed potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let cool to lukewarm - cool enough for it not to kill the yeast once you put that in.

Which is the next step - add the yeast to the potato-potato water mixture and let stand for five minutes.

Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour and mix for 1 minute. Change to the dough hook and sprinkle on the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, add the butter and whole wheat flour, and mix briefly. Add 4 more cups unbleached flour, little at the time, then knead at the lowest speed for 6 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly. The dough will still be very soft.

Place the dough in a large clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours. (I let mine rise in the fridge for about 2 hours and then 1½ hours on the counter, because that was what matched my schedule - worked super) It will more than double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky. Divide the dough into the amount of breads you would like - I got two smaller ones and one big one. You could also make all rolls or a foccacia, even. Shape as desired and leave to proof under plastic wrap - a large loaf will need 30-45 minutes, smaller rolls about 30 minutes. (Again, mine was left for about 1½, but I think I used a smaller amount of yeast.) They will double in size and should look puffy.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust your loaves or rolls with flour and slash the loaves a couple of times. Into the oven they go, rolls will need about 30 minutes, a large loaf 50 minutes - once that time is over, remove the loaves from their pans and let them have another 5-10 minutes without it. Tap it underneith - when it sounds hollow, it's done (and if you're anything like me, you probably need to give it an extra ten minutes when you think they're done - I don't know what it is with me these days, but I have underbaked so many loaves the last couple of months I've lost count. Doh!)

Leave to cool for 30 minutes, or eat warm if you've made rolls.


5 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Potato in bread is a real winner! I've been really enjoying a Potato Oatmeal loaf lately.
I have this same bread book you got your recipe out of. I made a bean pie out of it at Christmas for my Vegitarian son and it was a big hit.

Jennie said...

I'm such a bread novice. I'm still at the no-knead-dough stage in my life, occasionally making a rye bread from an Amo mix. Maybe I should give your potato fling a go...

Apropos procrastination: I'm usually very defensive of the Danish language, which is funny, since it's not my mother tongue and since it's usually Danes who piss me off with their bad spelling and their peppering of English words in their speech, but I looove the word procrastination, and I "prokrastinere" as often as I can, and people seem to know what I mean, which I take as one of those "I have no idea what she just said, but it was a big word so I will just nod and act as if I do so she doesn't think I'm stupid" moments. And if that wasn't a run-on sentence I don't know what is.

Cathy said...

I don't think I've made a loaf of yeast bread since you were here - how's that for procrastination? :) Your loaf looks mighty good though!

Zarah Maria said...

Tanna - I'm with you on the potato oatmeal bread - I made one a couple months ago and it was lurvely!

Jennie - go for it! Amo really doesn't do bread justice (I say, never having tried an Amo mix) And... I'm afraid I fall into the category of people "peppering my language with English words"... I'm SORRY!!! It's just that sometimes, English has the exact right word for what I'm trying to say whereas the Danish word just wouldn't cut it. "Prokrastinere" takes really well to a Danish-fication though... Hey hey for PROKRASTINERE!!:-D (And I love, and agree, on your run-on-sentence - guilty of those meself, too)

Cathy - that's procrastination, indeed! I remember yours - mmm, nothing like being welcomed with a warm loaf of bread!:-)

Foodie Froggy said...

Looks great ! Must have made terrific sandwiches !