“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

James Beard (1903-1985)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Potato Loaf

I peeled some extra potatoes when making hete bliksem yesterday and while I was waiting for the spuds to boil, I realized that although the Dutch love to eat potatoes and they're included in almost every meal, I cannot for the life of me remember ever buying or eating potato bread.

Perhaps it's because potatoes are such a intricate yet humble addition to the meal. They're always there, on the side, serving their purpose, unassuming. In a potato loaf, they would shine and be the main ingredient, the key player to the success of this staff of life. Perhaps the humble Dutch potato is too Calvinistic to assume that role, who knows.

Not so the giant and proud Idaho potato. It sits prominently on the plate, draped in colorful and rich jewelry and coverings: ruby-red bacon bits, velvety sour cream, golden cheese shreds, emerald green onions.....Anyway, you get the idea. It's a big one and it knows it. And that's how it behaves in bread as well. It's there. I mean, THERE.

Bread making is an easy process, and once you get over the yeast paralysis, you'll find that potato dough is very receptive to yeast and to being kneaded. It's a great bread to get started with!

Potato Bread
1 cup of boiled potatoes
2 cups of milk, warm
2 teaspoons of active, dry yeast
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt

Mash the boiled potatoes with the warm milk, add the yeast and let sit for five minutes. Then add one cup of flour at a time, adding the salt in between, mix and knead until the dough comes together. Grease a bowl, put the dough in, turn over and cover. Rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Carefully push air out, knead once or twice and shape. If you bake in a breadpan, place the seamside down. Cover, rest and proof while you heat the oven to 350F.

If the dough does not immediately jump back and the bread has risen slightly above the rim of the pan, place it in the oven. Bake in approx. 30 minutes.

Let cool on rack. Also lovely toasted!

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