Rustic is right!!! I made these wacky looking potato loaves last week as the winds were howling and snow was swirling outside my kitchen window. A perfect day to hunker down and crank up the oven. I grew up with three sisters and only 6 years separated the oldest from the youngest. It was a rarity if any of us were allowed to accompany my mom on a trip to the grocery store. She waited till my dad came home from work…I’m sure it was her respite from incessant chatter that comes with all that estrogen in the household. We didn’t ever get the mushy Wonder bread or the presweetened cereals we’d beg for (well, Maddy, the youngest, must have worn down my mom as Cap’n Crunch and Fruit Loops filled our cereal drawer after I went off to college). On occasion, we’d get treated to soft potato bread from the bakery. But until today, I’d never incorporated potatoes into any of my loaves.
Leslie Mackie, the contributing baker of this recipe in the Baking with Julia cookbook, had us boil and air dry russet potatoes to be mashed and added to this dough. The peels were to be left on, but I mistakenly peeled mine before reading the recipe thoroughly. I don’t think I regret this error. After the potatoes were mashed using the paddle attachment of my stand mixer, the yeast, salt, a bit of potato water, olive oil and flour were added. The paddle attachment was switched out for a dough hook, and this dough was kneaded for a whopping 11 minutes. The dough transformed from a floury mess into an elastic dough eventually…but it really needed the extended time in the mixer.
The first rise was just a half hour, then the loaves were rolled into a torpedo shape and placed on a floured cloth, seam side down, for another 20 minutes. During this resting time, the oven was preheated to 375º with a baking stone added to a lower rack. The risen loaves (only slightly puffed up) were slid onto the stone after the oven was misted with water to create a steamy environment. Mine baked for about 50 minutes…and I checked for an internal temperature to reach 200º. My roll job came unraveled even though I brushed the surface with a little water to promote adhesion…but the rustic look is lovely…and the taste is fantastic. Not the fluffy potato bread of my youth, but a much more substantial, satisfying loaf. I served slices with my Sundried Tomato Caprese Salad…and doused the crusts in the olive oil and balsamic drippings. Heavenly. Please visit our lovely hostess, Dawn, of Simply Sweet, for the detailed recipe.
Bake Your Own Bread~