Monday, 26 November 2007

potato bread

Another month has flown past, which means it's time for another Daring Bakers' challenge. This month, Tanna of My Kitchen In Half Cups chose potato bread - you'll find the recipe on her blog. As usual, I left it to the last minute to start baking, but this weekend was the only weekend this month I actually spent in my own home. One weekend I had to work, another weekend there was an interesting symposium, and last weekend S and I were in Antwerp, showing 'our' city to two friends, doing touristy things, and of course sampling lots of chocolate and beer. Such a hard job, playing tour guide!

When I told S I'd be making potato bread, he went 'seriously, potato bread? Why? Not so sure about that'. But by the time I switched off the oven and had him taste one of the rolls, he was singing an entirely different tune. And then... I told him he couldn't eat any more of it until the next day, because I wanted to take a decent daylight photograph. Which I couldn't take at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, because it gets dark ridiculously early these days (yes, I will probably keep complaining about this until, oh, April or so). We couldn't resist though, which is why the focaccia (brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper and rosemary from my garden) is mysteriously absent in the pics. We ate it all while watching Star Trek - it didn't survive Captain Picard's mission of the day and didn't live to see real daylight.

I often bake bread at weekends - it's just so much better than the stuff you can buy here, at least you know what goes in it, and you won't get a heart attack or break your tongue when trying to pronounce all the ingredients in pre-packed breads. I'd never tried potato bread though. And one thing I can now say: when you make potato bread, make sure you have someone at hand to flour the work surface and scrape the dough together because, boy, is this a sticky bugger!

This month I've been a good daring baker and stuck to the recipe. Well, almost stuck to the recipe, but no major cheating this time. I added the butter to the mashed potatoes instead of later on, because I didn't think I'd get the butter to distribute evenly otherwise. And I skipped the second rise for half of the bread: I forgot to buy fresh yeast, so had to make do with the dried, instant, fast-action stuff, which only needs to rise once (you knead your dough, shape it, let it rise and then put it straight in the oven). In the past, I have tried two rises with this yeast, but without success: after the first rise and re-kneading the dough it wouldn't rise again, resulting in a rather dense and heavy bread. There was plenty of dough to go around though, so I put half in a rectangular bread tin and plonked that in the oven straight after the first rise. The other half I reworked into smaller bread thingies and left for a second rise, ready to put in the oven after my first bread came out. And, this time, both methods worked equally fine.

Like I said, the dough is incredibly sticky - after the 5 cups of flour specified in the recipe, the dough is nowhere near dough-y enough to turn it out onto a floured work surface. But, following the instructions to a t, that's exactly what I did (I am a bit blonde sometimes). and that's also when having an S on stand-by came in incredibly handy. He kept on adding flour until my blob became a workable, silky smooth, elastic dough, out of which I got a loaf, a piece of focaccia and some rolls I sprinkled with sesame seeds, and cumin seeds.

Even if I say so myself, this was one of the best breads I've ever baked, and S wholeheartedly agreed. The taste took him right back to his childhood, because it tasted exactly like the 'ovenkoeken' he would eat at a local harvest festival. I will certainly bake this again - but next time I might try it the other way around. Usually when I bake bread I start with flour and add a liquid gradually, however this recipe started with 'potato water' to which flour is added - rather strange and more difficult I think. But the end result was more than worth it.

random pic of dead stuff in my garden

Check out all the other Daring Bakers' potato breads here.

44 comments:

Meeta said...

Inne! Awesome looking crumbs! I especially like the black sesame seeds. Nice going on the challenge! YOu Rock!

Bev and Ollie "O" said...

Antwerp is great! (from a Belgian resident!) hope your friends had a good time.

Your bread looked so good (past tense, I assume it is all gone!) ;o)

Courtney said...

looks awesome, the pictures are to die for, great job

Rachel said...

The breads are looking good! Love the subdued tones!!

Michelle said...

Everything looks great and I love your pictures! Great job!

Megan said...

May I please have a piece?

*fanny* said...

Inne, those are some beautiful rolls and loaf.
And your pictures...
xxx

Fruit tart said...

Your bread & rolls are just lovely!

chronicler said...

Your bread turned out great! The crust looks so good. You r pics are great too!

breadchick said...

Wonderful job on this month's challenge. It really is some of the best bread isn't it! I love the picture of the "dead garden things" too.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Inne I love that the focaccia disappeared before Cap. P finished his day's mission! So delighted you enjoyed it.
Yes, it's a tough life leading your friends around and baking bread! So glad S doubted and then was won over!

Tartelette said...

Gorgeous! That flour on the crusty loaf makes all special and professional. Bravo!
Antwerp is a beautiful town, hope your friends eoyed it (dad's ancestors are from Belgium)

Gabi said...

Lovely bread, lovely post and I love the black sesame seeds! Sometimes it's good to have someone prod you into adjusting from the recipe ;-)
xoxo

kitten said...

Great job - I love your photos. I too just used the dry active yeast I had in my pantry - but I didn't know you shouldn't try to do a second rise with it - good tip.

Andreea said...

wonderful looking bread. liek the black sesame seeds.
hope you enjoyed antwerp :)

Deborah said...

It looks wonderful!! I bet that foccacia was great, though!

creampuff said...

Beautiful bread!

Beautiful photos!

Beautiful blog!

Gigi said...

Wow!Awesome looking bread! I love all the rolls and sesame seeds on top.

Sheltie Girl said...

Inne - You did a wonderful job on your potato bread. I love your pictures...wish I could climb in them and take a bite of your bread.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Princess of the kitchen said...

Your bread looks great and what beautiful photos you have take. I really should take more time to take nice photos- maybe next time

I(dot)J said...

how amazing... I love your picture. Your bread looks awesome too.

Cherry said...

Ohh my how cute! Those lil buns are driving me crazy (in a good way)!

Peabody said...

Gorgeous breads...so glad that you liked the bread(my hubby and I loved it).

S. said...

This is my first time coming across your blog! What beautiful photography. See! What would we all do without Daring Bakers to introduce us to eachother?!

Freya and Paul said...

The black seeds look delicious! And I love the random picture of dead plants!!

Baking Soda said...

Oh dat rechter brood ziet er heerlijk uit. En precies als bij ons verdween de focaccia het eerst!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Inne, your rolls are so beautiful!

Miss Ifi said...

Your pictures are just sooo beautiful and that bread looks sooo yummy.. and that butter soo appetizing.. *giggles* Congratulations!!

Christina said...

Nice touch with the black sesame seeds! Amazing pictures, as well. Nothing beats natural light.

Put me in the camp with the "Why in the world haven't I ever made potato bread before?? WHY?" Seriously, it's been on my list but I just didn't do it. Thanks, Tanna!

KayKat said...

Haa haa! I know what you mean about constantly veering away from a recipe. I think this was the first time (in forever!) that I stuck with a recipe pretty much all the way! :)

Awesome rolls! The black sesame seeds are a great twist.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

you really do take the most beautiful photos! i'm sure your bread was delicious!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Very nice pictures! Glad you enjoyed the foccacia even if we didn't get to!

ChichaJo said...

I've been hypnotized by that picture of the roll spread with butter! Both the loaf and the rolls look fantastic! I'm sure the focaccia was too :)

Brilynn said...

I'll be complaining about the lack of light right along with you!
Beautiful pics!

Jen Yu said...

Such gorgeous pictures. I think I am in love with your butter keeper :) The bread is awesome, no? You did a lovely job with them. Just beautiful.

-jen at use real butter

April said...

Your bread looks amazing!

Aoife said...

I'm glad you waited to eat the bread in the picture, because your pictures look amazing! The stickiness of the dough really got to me, so I'm also glad that you managed to persevere!

Barbara said...

Looks good. THe sesame seeds are a nice idea.

Lucie said...

First time I'll be leaving a comment.. In fact I discovered your blog just a few days ago. Although you seem to refrain from giving out too much personal info, one can well see that your life seems dainty, cozy, elegant and ever so interesting! And I love the recipes and the pictures!

Julie said...

Your loaf and rolls are beautiful! Lovely photos. And I know what you mean about lighting--I have about an hour in the middle of the day where I get a decent amount of light into my little burrow of a condo, so taking well-lit food photos takes some planning and patience! I like your dead-things photo, too! I'd stencil that on a wall!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your bread looks great and your pictures are wonderful! Well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

Quellia said...

Lovely pictures!
Oh and I'm with you on the lack of light and will be cursing until we get good light again as well.

Dolores said...

Judging by your sensational sesame seed rolls, I can only imagine how fabulous the focaccia must have been!

Linda said...

mm this bread looks so savory.