Recipe #30: Rustic Potato Loaves

With 3 recipes to catch up on that I missed due to back surgery and a trip to Texas, I’m grateful for the extra Tuesday in April to be able to get one of them posted.  This week I made the potato loaves that I missed on April 2nd.  If you want the recipe, it’s on page 138 of Baking with Julia, or check out the blog of our host for the week, Dawn at Simply Sweet.

This is a fun bread recipe to make and it turned out really well without a lot of effort. I started it at 5:00 and it was hot and ready to serve with dinner at 8:00. Not many bread recipes can be whipped up that fast and easy.

The first step is scrubbing, boiling and then drying out some russet potatoes:

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The potatoes are mashed in the mixer with proofed yeast and olive oil:

IMG_1915Switch to the dough hook and add the flour and salt, kneading for 11 minutes (not 10, not 12) until it is miraculously transformed from crumbly to soft and sticky.

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After a 30 minute rest in a covered bowl, the dough is shaped into 2 discs and rolled into torpedo shaped loaves.  I took Dawn’s suggestion and added bacon, cheese and scallions to one of my loaves before I rolled it up.

IMG_1918(The little flecks in the dough are the potato skins.) After a 20 minute rest, the loaves are popped into a 375* oven onto a hot stoneware baking sheet, seam side up. You spray a little water inside the oven to add steam, or add ice cubes in the bottom of the oven. And they turn out like this:

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IMG_1921Butter, eat and savor:

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Recipe #1: White Loaves

Since I spend my Tuesday mornings at church baking for our Wednesday meal, I will probably be making most of my recipes on the weekend before and posting them on Tuesday when I get home from church.  I made the white bread on Friday and took it over to share with friends for happy hour.  The bread made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches in my panini grill, with a slice of provolone and a slice of cheddar.

I  made the recipe twice, because the first time I used the exact amount of flour the recipe called for and I felt that the loaves were too tough and dense.  The second time I used 1 cup less flour with much better results.  It tastes great and was surprisingly easy to make.

Second batch, first rise…looks pretty good!

Second rise, in front of the warm fireplace, for about 45 minutes.

Success!   The first batch, on the counter, tasted ok but was a little more flat and dense.  The second batch, with a cup less flour, was lighter, tastier, baked up to it’s recommended height of 4″ and looked better than the first batch.

Looking forward to those Chocolate Truffle Tartlets in two weeks!