Monday, November 26, 2007

Tender Potato Bread - Daring Bakers Challenge

Another month, another Daring Bakers challenge! I like these monthly challenges because they “force” me to make something new that I normally would not make while also allowing me to put my own spin on it (within specified limits, of course). This month’s challenge was a tender potato bread. I’m not really a fan of potato bread; its soft, fine texture is great for hamburger buns, but, in my opinion, for nothing else. I prefer European-style loaves that have a crispier crust and more texture inside. I made this bread into 4 medium-sized boules in an effort to mimic my preferred style of bread. They actually ended up coming out great and worked well for pressed sandwiches, but I don’t know if I’ll be making it again any time soon, as it was indeed very tender and soft.
Tender Potato Bread
From Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
(makes 4 medium-sized round loaves)
1 ½ – 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½” cubes (about 2 cups – you can use more or less depending on how comfortable you are with sticky dough)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
7 ½ – 9 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Optional:
16 Kalamata olives, cut into small pieces (about 4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 ounce parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
***************
In a large pot, bring the water and potatoes to a boil. Cover the pot and crack the lid; cook the potatoes until they are very tender, about 8 minutes.
Put a colander over a large bowl and drain the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a small bowl. Measure out 3 cups of the potato water into a large bowl. If you do not have enough, add more water to make 3 cups. Mash the potatoes very well and add them to the water. Cool until lukewarm.
Add the yeast to the potato mixture, stir with a large spoon, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of flour, stir, and let the mixture sit for another 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, the butter, and 3 more cups of flour. Stir well to incorporate all the flour. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
On a large clean work surface, spread out 2 cups of the remaining flour. Turn the dough out onto the center of the surface and knead the bread until it is smooth and supple, about 10 minutes. Work in all the flour on the surface and add ¼ cup more at a time (up to 8 ½ cups) if the dough is still sticky – I used about 7 ½ cups total. The dough should be very soft when you are done. Do not add too much flour!
Place the dough in a large clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm, draft-free spot. (I usually put it in my oven.) Let the dough rise until it is doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Sprinkle about ¼ to ½ cup flour onto a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
At this point, you can shape the dough any which way you please and add any flavors you want. I split the dough into 4 equal portions and made 4 medium-sized round loaves, two each of rosemary-olive and garlic-parmesan. You can make a regular loaf in a loaf pan, focaccia, dinner rolls, a braid, whatever you want. You can also add in any sort of flavoring you’d like – I was contemplating sun-dried tomatoes, cheddar cheese and jalapenos. Here are some guidelines:
------
Regular loaf:
Butter a 9x5 loaf pan. Cut off 1/3 of the dough and reserve it. Flatten the large piece into an oval that is approximately 12x8, then roll it up from the narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and place the dough, seam side down, into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 40 minutes. Bake for about 50 minutes.
Medium-sized round loaves:
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and form them into flattened balls. Put each piece onto a piece of floured parchment paper that is at least 2 inches bigger on all sides than the dough. Cover each ball of dough with plastic wrap and let them rise for about 30 minutes. Bake for about 35 minutes.
Focaccia:
Flatten the dough into a rectangle that is about 1” thick. Transfer the dough to floured parchment that is at least 2” bigger on all sides. Brush the top with olive oil and salt. Press your fingertips into the dough to create dimples. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 20 minutes. Bake for about 10 minutes.
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While the dough is rising, put a pizza stone, tile, or baking sheet onto the lowest rack of your oven. (If you’re using a cookie sheet with sides, turn it upside down.) Heat the oven to 450° F.
After the dough has risen, place it (either in its pan or on the parchment paper) on the hot stone/baking sheet. Bake undisturbed for the specified time. Remove the bread from the oven and from its pan/parchment. Return the bread to the hot stone and bake for another 5-7 minutes to crisp the bottom. (This step isn’t necessary for the focaccia.)
Let the baked bread completely cool before slicing.

17 comments:

Julius said...

I'll take my cue from you and try these as pressed sandwiches next time I make them.

Your breads look wonderful.

:)

Julius from Occasional Baker

Dolores said...

Pressed sandwiches... another capital idea. I'm glad you made this one, even if it's not your favorite.

Peabody said...

We made ours into panni...I am assuming that is what you mean by pressed sandwiches. They were very tasty.

DawnsRecipes said...

I almost put some kalamata olives on my focaccia, but got to lazy to run to the store and buy them. How did it taste in the bread?

I agree that this bread worked well for pressed sandwiches. I made a panini with the bread and some leftover turkey. Delish!

ostwestwind said...

Next time I'll do the pressed sandwiches, great idea!

Miss Ifi said...

mmm yummy bread!!! Congratulations!!
and such a good idea about pressed sammiches

Ivonne said...

Nice job on the bread!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful looking bread! Great job!

Cheers,

Rosa

April said...

It looks wonderful!! Very tasty!

Tartelette said...

Great iddea to use the bread for pressed sandwiches. I think I'll use the mixer next time so I avoid the goo that the dough was. You did a great job on the challenge though!

Christina said...

Yes, this would be great for panini. The texture and taste of the bread would play off against the filling wonderfully.

Great job with this challenge, even if you weren't too keen on it!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Jen Yu said...

Nice job on the breads there. And of course, I love that you made sandwiches with them - because I looooove sandwiches :)

-jen at use real butter

Gretchen Noelle said...

These look tasty! Great job on something even though you may not like it much!

Gabi said...

Lovely bread- I'll try the pressed sandwich thing!
Nice job!
xoxo
Gabi

Deborah said...

This *would* be good bread for pressed sandwiches! Great job!

Julie said...

Your boules look delicious! I'm glad to know the bread makes good pressed sandwiches. I need to rig up a sandwich presser now!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Excellent looking crumb on that bread.
I also enjoy the being "forced" to try something new and almost always something I'd never have taken up on my own.
Sorry I'm so slow to get here.

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