Artisanal toast has been big in foodie news recently, but it’s all about the toppings. I feel strongly, it has to start with amazing bread, first. If you don’t live close enough to a great bakery, like me, it really helps to begin with an easy bread recipe that will give you consistent results every time. I use my standing mixer to make it easier, too. And, here it is.
Some of my chef friends have told me, their restaurant’s secret to their famous burgers and sandwiches, is potato bread. It’s soft yet crispy when toasted, which somehow creates the ultimate bun, roll, or bread, for their highly acclaimed creations. They will make a big batch of dough that lives in the refrigerator overnight, then, gets shaped, raised a 2nd time, and baked early the next day. It’s very versatile, shape it into various sizes from dinner rolls, burger buns or loaves of bread. You can do the same or, even freeze the baked loaves and defrost when ready to toast and serve. Even better, the flavor is really delicious. But, you won’t taste potatoes!
Homemade Potato Bread
Makes: 2 loaves
1 Medium Russet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ C Water
2 pkg (1/4 ounce each) Baking Yeast granules
½ C Warm water (110° to 115°)
1 C Warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
2 T Unsalted butter, softened
2 T Granulated sugar
2 t Kosher sea salt
6-1/2 to 7-1/2 C All-purpose flour
Place potato and 1-1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until very tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Mash potatoes (without added milk or butter); set aside.
In a large bowl of a standing mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Place in a warm place for 5 minutes until the yeast is bubbly and thick. Add the milk, butter, salt, 5 cups flour, potatoes and reserved cooking liquid; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Beat on low for 5 minutes with a dough hook attachment. You can instead mix with a spoon and knead on a lightly flour covered surface for 6-8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a moist towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. (I like to turn on my oven to 200 degrees for 2 minutes, then off, to create a warm environment for rising.)
Remove bread from warm place. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm environment until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle bread lightly with additional flour on top from a fine strainer. With a sprayer bottle filled with water, spray into oven a few times, to create a moist environment inside the oven.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Cook’s note: I like to divide one loaf into 4 mini loaves. It’s just the right size to cut in half and toasted for appetizers. So delicious!
Adapted from “Potato Bread in Best of Country Breads” 2000, p45