When I first started this blog back in August I really had no idea which direction it was that I wanted to go with it. I figured (as I do with the rest of my life) "that it would work itself out" As usual I was right. This blog has made me a more creative and out of the box cook and baker than I ever thought I would be! One of the things that I find so wonderful is the amount of people out there blogging about food! And then came my discovery of the challenges!!! I love food challenges...anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and I can get my hands into and please people's tummies ! But I kept seeing a badge on the people's sites that I really admired and did a bit of research found out hat it was all about and then I had to find a way to become a part of this!!! The badge was the Daring Bakers'.
Anyway, this month I performed my first challenge. I was so excited. It was hosted this month by Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups
. But what a crazy month. We had so much going on here...but somehow I found time to do it (sort of). Mine turned out so not picture perfect but my plan was to try it again but alas I ran out of month!!! Before I knew it Thanksgiving was here. We have 2 Thanksgiving...one at the girl's school which we had to cook for and one here for at our house for 16!
My bread turned out okay. I wish I could say great. The flavor of it was amazing...but mine was much heavier than it should have been...could it have something to do with 85 degree heat and 80% humidity? I don't know, but I would love to try this again with the conditions and timing better!
The day I choose to make it I had allotted the whole day to do it and thought I was doing good. The timing was right on schedule and everything would have been perfect except I forgot that the girls had a skating lesson and I had to go and pick them up early to get them to that. I called my husband and told him that he had to come home right away. Thinking it was an emergency he raced on home only to find that I needed him to babysit my bread that was baking in the oven!!! He was soooo not happy with me. I had also broken my baking stone a month or so ago and had not yet replaced it so I had to make this in a loaf pan. I think it would be much better without. But all in all I think, under the circumstances, the bread was great.
Would I do it again? I would love to have the time to devote to this so I think that I will put it on my list of things to try making again. I adore making bread. It is one of my favorite things to do: the feel of the dough, the texture as you knead it into what you want it to be...the most therapeutic thing I can do for myself! I bake bread for my girls all of the time (usually not such a complex recipe). We eat no store bought bread so I would consider myself to be experienced with bread but not as experienced as I would have liked to have been for this challenge!.
Tender Potato Bread
From Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid(also wrote Hot Sour Salty Sweet)
Makes 1 large tender-crumbed pan loaf and something more; one 10X15 inch crusty yet tender foccacia, 12 soft dinner rolls, or a small pan loaf
Potatoes and potato water give this bread wonderful flavor and texture. The dough is very soft and moist and might feel a little scary if you’ve never handled soft dough before. But don’t worry: Leaving it on parchment or wax paper to proof and to bake makes it easy to handle.Once baked, the crumb is tender and airy, with ting soft pieces of potato in it and a fine flecking of whole wheat. The loaves have a fabulous crisp texture on the outside and a slightly flat-topped shape. They make great toast and tender yet strong sliced bread for sandwiches. The dinner rolls are soft and inviting, and the focaccia is memorable.I have chosen this recipe because it gives directions for different ways of shaping the dough and provides oven times and temperatures for those variations.
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. For the beginner I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces.
4 cups water (See Note)
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
Conversion Chart for yeast:
Fresh yeast 1 oz/ 1 tablespoon = active dry yeast 0.4 oz/ 1.25 teaspoon = 0.33 oz / 1 teaspoon
reference: Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhart
4 cups water = 950 ml to cook potatoes in
from that 4 cups potato water you will need to reserve
3 cups potato water = 750 ml for mixing into the dough
6 1/2 cups to 8 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour = 1 kg to 1350 g
1 cup whole wheat flour = 130 g
A very graphic picture of why I love metric now! I didn't really do the math but I don't think any 2 cups weighted the same thing.
The other thing to take note of is: whole wheat is heavier than AP.
King Arthur Artisan Organic All-Purpose Flour is fairly new in the markets in the US now and is advertised to be best for making European-style hearth breads with a protein level of 11.3%
Topping For Loaves and Rolls: melted butter (optional)For Foccacia: olive oil, coarse salt, and rosemary leaves (optional; also see variation)
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.
Allowed to add yeast one of two ways:
Mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes.
Then mix in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix. Allow to rest several minutes.
OR 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.As a beginner, you may be tempted to add more flour than needed. Most/many bread recipes give a range of flour needed. This is going to be a soft dough.
At this point, add flour to the counter slowly, say a ¼ cup at a time. Do not feel you must use all of the suggested flour. When the dough is soft and smooth and not too sticky, it’s probably ready.
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.
It is at this point you are requested to Unleash the Daring Baker within. The following is as the recipe is written. You are now free to follow as written or push it to a new level.
Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other).
Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.
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.
To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a baking/sheet (no edge – you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.
Bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
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.
Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool. When the loaf or loaves have baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on the stone, tiles or baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.Anchovy-Onion Focaccia
Instead of oil, salt and rosemary, the focaccia can be topped with onions slow-cooked in olive oil or bacon fat, a scattering of chopped anchovy fillets, and flat-leafed parsley leaves.
Alternate fillings, seasons, shapes are up to you.
You must follow the recipe as written until you get to shaping the bread.
Allowed Modifications for Unleashing Your Daring Baker:
This bread must be savory and not sweet.
Please Knead by hand.
No biga, sponge or starter.
You may shape this dough anyway you would like.You may make this as a loaf, as rolls, as focaccia. You can braid it, twist it whatever.You may season this bread in any way you see fit: maybe it becomes your turkey stuffing. Maybe you season some sandwich bread for great turkey sandwiches.You can fill it if you think that will work for you. Think calzone or anything with a savory filling.
Again however it must be savory and not sweet.
Recipe ingredient exception allowed only if allergy or an ingredient not available or cost prohibitive in your region.
No Pictures: I give you the recipe. I cannot give you a photo or drawing of the recipe because that part is yours. That being said there are lots of pictures of other bread recipes that will provide great ideas for you if you decide to unleash that aspect of this recipe.
Here are my results:
These are pictures of the large loaf. I cannot find the pictures of the Foccacia that I made. I am thinking maybe some little hands have been playing with my camera!!!
We ended up using this bread for the stuffing for the turkey that we made for the school. It was amazing. Everyone was asking what the secret to such moist, rich stuffing was! The flavor it had was incredible.
I would make this again but only when I had all the time in the world to myself. Maybe if hubby and the kids were gone for the weekend! Definitely worth the effort.
Great challenge Tanna!!!