Accursed Potato Bread
So I finally got around to making from scratch this amazing, yummy-looking potato bread, but once again (see my previous potato-bread attempt), things mysteriously went wrong along the way that can probably only be explained by one thing: a Potato-Bread Curse.
First, I realized after I’d made up the dough (“hmm… seems surprisingly loose, even for no-knead bread”) that I’d used a 2/3 cup measure instead of a 1-cup measure. Doh! Even after adding a bunch more flour to compensate, the stuff was loose to the point of sticky, sticky, sticky.
Also, and this really is mysterious, I was super-distracted with the little kids, plus Elisheva was home sick today, so I basically chose a quantity of potatoes pretty much at random. I roasted them with garlic, olive oil, a little salt and pepper. When they were done, I mashed them and added the bread-water to them right away to cool them off.
The upshot of which was…“how much potato did you say to put in that bread, anyway?” I have no clue how much potato was in there. With the nonchalance of a Julia Child: “Just toss some potatoes in there – never mind how many, just grab some!”
Needless to say, I suffered the consequences of these accumulated inexactitudes when trying to create an actual loaf from this stuff.
In its potato-bread recipe, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes (B:ABB) warns that potatoes, even roasted, will add a whole bunch of extra moisture to your dough. Sure enough, they did just that.
I could not even keep my hands floured enough to toss the thing into a basic boule shape. However, eventually, I prevailed. Yes, my hands were sticky and leprous by the time I was done. But a loaf was formed, in a nice wide pan so it wouldn’t do the smurf-house muffin-shape thing, or, worse, overflow the pan and make a huge mess.
And… well, here’s what you’re waiting to hear.
I’m sorry, and truly deeply sorry, if you were looking for a moralistic, horrid, nasty-bread ending to the Story of the Potato Bread. Because, in fact, we sat down at suppertime to a lively, crusty, delicious-tasting loaf:
(only slightly underbaked because of all that darn extra moisture!)
I used small organic yellow potatoes, and roasted them instead of boiling. I also – because they were organic, so I could! – kept the skins on, as B:ABB advises. Because bits and pieces really are lovely in breads, aren’t they?
One child jokingly referred to them as slugs, but they added a sweet savouriness much more reminiscent of caramelized onion than of pasty potato-ness.
So, all in all, another tasty, successful loaf. I wouldn’t say mind-blowing, but certainly well on the way. With a little practice, and maybe next time, a measuring cup or two.