This is a dense, yet moist and tender bread, with lots of flavor, perfect for morning toast and jam, along with your morning coffee. Nick has always chosen a potato bread from the grocery store for his bread preference, and I have frequently used potato water to proof my yeast, or potato flour or starch in with the flour for extra tenderness in a lot of my bread baking, so taking it a bit further was a natural stepping stone. For this bread, I use the whole potato, but I do peel the potato first. It is also very good as a side for the soups that I have been craving and making lately.
Potato Toasting Bread
1 medium large russet potato, peeled and cubed to 1” pieces
1 1/4 C reserved potato water
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (also known as bread machine yeast)
2 T sugar
2 T butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C dry instant milk powder
3 1/2 - 4 C unbleached bread flour (King Arthur is my favorite).
olive oil and/or non-stick spray for greasing bowl and (2) - 4 1/2” X 8 1/2” loaf pans
Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain potato water into a heat resistant 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 1 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool to 110 degrees (cool enough that you can keep your finger in it). Add yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar to potato water when it has cooled and set aside until foamy. Mash potato until smooth with a fork, adding in 2 T butter and remaining sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, powdered milk and salt. Stir together yeast mixture and potato mixture and add to flour mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon, mixing until it all comes together. Add in 1 cup flour and stir it in. At this point, I like to turn the dough out onto a floured rolling mat and begin kneading it, adding in enough of the remaining flour to come together into a smooth and elastic ball, tacky, but not sticky, kneading for about 8 – 10 minutes. It will be a soft dough. Put dough into a bowl greased with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, turning to grease all, lightly cover, and let raise until double, anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes, depending on temperature in your kitchen. When double, gently deflate and divide in half, gently shaping to fit into pans. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let raise until 1/2” taller than pan. Preheat your convection oven to 375 degrees. When oven is ready, bake bread for 28 – 30 minutes until darkly golden brown. Turn out of pan onto a cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before any attempt is made to cut it. For a softer crust, lightly butter the tops of your bread. Cool completely before storing.
I have found that my convection oven (a 2001 model GE Profile) takes exactly 28 minutes to bring my bread to perfection. If you have an instant read thermometer (You can get a simple one at most grocery or department stores for $8-10), you want your bread to be at 195 – 205 degrees. You can just poke it into your baked item for a quick reading, to know for sure if it has reached the proper temperature. It has helped me to make sure my bread (and meat) gets done, as I have adjusted to convection cooking. I also keep a small spray bottle in my kitchen to mist water over my bread just before it goes in the oven. It helps to give a head start to the baking process, speeding up the initial rise on the height of the bread. This bread is easily mixed by hand, but also does fine with a dough hook in your mixer. Personally, I enjoy the kneading process. It is very soothing and a great stress reliever.
Please be patient with me as I try to develop a semi-regular blog. I will try to include recipes that are simple but delicious, and easy to put together for convenience in your RV. But I also enjoy working with fresh vegetables, breads, pasta, beans, meats, and of course, a few sweets, too. Nick does have his needs, you know. I’ll also include a recipe for a wonderful butternut and acorn squash soup that I made, in one of the next blogs. I hope you enjoy.