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Does Posting So Late Make Me More Daring?

November 27, 2007

More of a Daring Baker that is! Yep, it’s that time again! This month’s challenge was Tender Potato Bread brought to you by Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups. Be sure to go see her when you’re finished here!

I must say, I loved this month’s challenge. Not only were the ingredients things I already had just hanging around, the bread was DELICIOUS! This was also my first yeast bread. I’m a veteran of the quick-bread but usually leave the yeast to B. This experience was similar to my pie experience; I was intimidated but then when it was all over, I wondered why. :)

Like last time, I’ll post the recipe as given to me (more or less) with my comments in purple.

Tender Potato Bread
(from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; who also wrote Hot Sour Salty Sweet)
Daring Bakers Challenge #13: November 2007

Host: Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups)
Post Date: Monday, November 26

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. I made the large loaf and the small loaf.

Suggested Toppings:
For Loaves and Rolls: melted butter (optional)
For Foccacia: olive oil, coarse salt, and rosemary leaves(optional; also see variation)
For Anchovy-Onion Focaccia: Instead of oil, salt, and rosemary, top 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. I added rosemary, green olive w/ pimento, and fresh chopped garlic to the small loaf.

Some additional notes about this challenge, recipe and the dough:
If you are new to bread and already your whisks are shaking (or is that your boots), you may bake the bread (or one of it’s variations) just as written.
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 tiny 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.

Some Notes about Flour:
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%

Conversion Chart for yeast:
1 oz/ 1 Tablespoon of fresh yeast = 0.4 oz/ 1.25 teaspoon active or instant dry yeast = 0.33 oz / 1 teaspoon instant or rapid rise (bread machine) yeast. Reference: Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhart

Link to online conversion chart for converting recipes from Imperial to Metric: Cooking Conversion Online (

Metric measurements are from the European edition. Thank you Linda ( from Make Life Sweeter

4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. I used 5 smallish potatoes.
Tanna Note: For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces. The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold, there are others.
4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose flour. I used 7 1/2 – 8 C flour.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour (Mine was organic.)

Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):
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. Mine were mashed by hand. The small chunks of potato were lovely in the finished product.
Measure out 3 cups(750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. I had to add between 1/2 and 1 C of extra water to the reserve. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 – 29°C) – 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. (I added dry active yeast this way.)
Note about Adding Yeast: If using Active Dry Yeast or Fresh yeast, mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. If using Instant Dry Yeast, 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 in 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.
Tanna Note: 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. (…or really sticky…)

Forming the Bread:
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 9 x 5 x 2.5 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 8x4X2 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.

Baking the bread(s):
Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.
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.
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.
For foccaia:
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (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.
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.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2007 1:39 am

    Great looking bread!

  2. November 27, 2007 2:08 am

    Great job on this month’s challenge. Your bread is lovely!!

  3. November 27, 2007 2:42 am

    You’re not too late…it’s still Nov. 26 here in the US. Your bread looks terrific!

  4. November 27, 2007 3:51 pm

    Such a gorgeous bread you have there! Don’t worry about posting late either – I could never expect to get through all of the DBer posts in one week let alone one day! ha ha. Great job.

  5. November 27, 2007 4:37 pm

    Thats a perfect loaf of bread you made! Fab job!

  6. November 27, 2007 11:23 pm

    It really is a beautiful loaf! It’s awesome for your first-ever yeast bread! Believe it or not, it took me a couple of tries to get quick breads down. *sigh* ;)

  7. November 28, 2007 4:06 am

    I didnt even weigh my potatos and used 4. I had a lot of bread! Your looks good.

  8. November 28, 2007 4:35 am

    Your bread looks wonderful! Yeast has only never not worked for me if it was old. Not too hard to work with, as you experienced. =)

  9. Anne permalink
    November 28, 2007 8:08 am

    Such a lovely loaf! Well done :)

  10. November 28, 2007 2:14 pm

    Your bread looks great! I need to get the tiles. Or at least remember to use the pizza stone!

  11. November 28, 2007 2:18 pm

    Your bread is beautiful. Don’t worry about posting late, many of us had challenges as the Thanksgiving holiday had just ended. Great job!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  12. November 29, 2007 7:12 pm

    Well done! It looks amazing!

  13. November 30, 2007 12:05 am

    Great job on the challenge. The important thing is that you did it and you did it very well! Glad you could break bread with us!

  14. November 30, 2007 5:45 am

    Congratulations on a successful first foray into yeast. Your bread is gorgeous!

  15. November 30, 2007 5:28 pm

    Ooo! Pimento! That sounds fascinating. Were your fillings chunky enough that you can see it when you slice your loaf? Btw, great job! Your bread looks awesome, unlike mine, haha! :)

  16. November 30, 2007 9:11 pm

    Great job, your loaf looks beautiful!

  17. December 2, 2007 4:35 pm

    As they say, better late than never. Lovely bread!

  18. December 28, 2007 10:04 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the bread. I was a little surprised it was so sticky and so huge.
    I really agreed and loved your comment: I was intimidated but then when it was all over, I wondered why.
    That’s was I’m learning with the DBs! Welcome. Sorry I’m so late.

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  20. October 28, 2008 4:47 am

    this times are really amaizing
    thank you

  21. liaizeskNeoks permalink
    December 17, 2008 4:08 pm

    Goodday I’m new here
    And it looks like a great forum, so just wanted to say hello! :):):)
    And looking forward to participating.
    Going on vacation for a few days, so i’ll be back


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