Monday, 26 November 2007
Tender Potato Bread
Welcome back folks to another exciting edition of the Daring Bakers....!
Having conquered my fear of yeast and bread, I was actually quite excited by this month's challenge hosted by the great Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups. She chose to challenge us with Tender Potato Bread, a recipe from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Now November was a particularly busy month for me. Very, very busy in fact that I ALMOST considered giving this months challenge a miss. Then, just this weekend I thought I'd give it a whirl and see if I could rise to the challenge.
We had all been warned that working with this dough was going to be different. First of all, it used potatoes. Now I've heard of potato bread that is sweet but the specific instructions here were that this recipe HAD to be savoury. I'd never used potato to make bread before so that was the first concern.
The second concern was that we were told that the amount of potato used could greatly affect the texture. We were told to use 8 ounces (for amateurs) and not more than 16 ounces (for experienced bread makers). I decided to go with 12 ounces but after washing and paring the potatoes, I weighed them again and they had lost 2 ounces. Now if only that would work for me, I could give up doing this Daring Baker stuff and open a Weight Loss Centre. First customer of course - ME!
Third concern, this dough was a soft dough and very, very sticky. Again, NO experience with soft, sticky dough. I would need to wing it. See, I always knew I should have gone to Flight school. So many things in life I seem to wing. Since I seem to wing thing so well, I should have just made it into a career. I blame my father for not letting me go to Flight school. I could be a professional Wing Man today....
And he digresses yet again!! Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, the man has a disease. He cannot stay on topic and true to form, he digresses....!
Anyway, Oh dear, I've actually lost track of what I wanted to say. Oh yes, 3 concerns and lastly, time. So much to do, so little time.
So, I washed the potatoes, peeled them, cut them, boiled them till very soft and everything looked like it was going well.
Then I mashed the potatoes, added in the potato water, let it rest added in the flour and yeast, let it rest, added in the butter and the whole wheat flour and another two cups of flour. Alls Quiet on the Western Front.
But I had forgotten that I was in the East and not the West. So perhaps all was NOT so quiet. The enemy was lurking just beyong the trenches.....
You see this is EXACTLY the point where I had to start to wing things. The recipe said "At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe." and I was supposed to "incorporae flour as needed to prevent sticking". But we had been told that the final dough was going to be sticky. So how? How now brown cow?
And so I kneaded and added flour and kneaded and added more flour and kneaded some more. It all started to come together and I thought it was all good. I had forgotten to measure how much flour I had incorporated but by the way I was adding flour, I put it at a total of about 7 cups.
Now it was time to proof it and I left it to sit while I went about my other business. After about 1.5 hours, it had more than doubled and I turned it out to knead again. The flour was extremely sticky and also rather moist. Very moist in fact. My fingers were sticky and gooey and so I decided to just plop 2/3 of the dough into a large pan and shape it into a Focaccia.
Then I tried to roll the remaining dough into rolls but the dough was just too darned sticky. This is where I started using expletives. Beep. Beeping Hell and Beep, Beep, Beep! I was Beeping so much I could have been the Beeping Roadrunner! I added more flour but it was still too Beeping sticky to roll. Beep. Beep. Beep!
Then a light bulb went off in my head! And I was no longer the Roadrunner but Wile E.Coyote (remember how he used to get an idea and a lightbulb would light up over his head? You dont remember? Am I than old???!) Anyway, the idea was to drop the dough on to the pan like drop biscuits. Very clever I thought to myself. Well done Agent 99.
So I left everything to proof again and went to clean up and found that my sink was clogged. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!! Beep. Beep! Beep!! BEEEEP!!!!
But that's another story and I don't think any of you are really interested in my clogged sink. Such uncaring people.... humph. That's another reason for the lack of in-progress photos. No silly. Not because you don't care about my sink but precisely Because of the clogged sink! I wasn't going to risk getting dough on my precious Digital SLR.
After half an hour, the dough had risen beautifully. I popped the Focaccia in the oven after seasoning it with oregano and seasoned salt. After baking it, it had risen very nicely and I popped it out and let it cool while I baked the rolls.
So! Daring Baker Challenge completed. Well almost, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating and in this case, the proof of the potato bread is in the eating. Pardon the pun about proofing there..... Yes, yes, I'm really in a funny mood tonight. Absolutely Bloody Hilarious!
The Focaccia was tasty. Very tasty indeed although I thought it may have been a little undercooked. However, it tasted a darn site better the next morning.
The rolls were nicer though. Very soft and with a nice crumb. Only problem though, the rolls tasted a little bland and this is where I realised I had forgotten the second tablespoon of salt. Actually, I added in another TEAspoon of salt rather than TABLEspoon. I.D.i.O.T. The small 'i' in the centre is just to emphasise how small I felt at my lack of cleverness. I always tell my children not to say 'stupid', so
just in case they read this in years to come.....
There was a LOT of bread so the next morning, which is this morning (at time of writing that is) unless you believe strongly in the Theory of Quantum Physics in which case Time can be manipulated but only if you really understand it and you cant really understand it if you claim to do so and I really dont know what I'm talking about so maybe I didnt even eat the potato bread this morning......or understand Quantum Physics for that matter. Which I dont. And never claimed to do.
So! Another succesful Daring Bakers Challenge. Well sort off, as I think I needed more flour and I should have added that tablespoon of salt. Nonetheless, I took the Focaccia to my parents house where they, along with my aunts who were there, were rather astounded at the Tender Potato Focaccia. My father asked if I had bought a breadmaker and I proudly puffed out my chest, sucked my stomach in and declared - "The only breadmaker I have are these hands."
Thanks Tanna for a great challenge although I seriously, seriously doubt I will ever make this again. But the thing is, now I know I CAN make it and that's all because of you...and of course, that in essence, is one of the reasons why I AM a Daring Baker!!!!
Check out the rest of the fabulous team at the Daring Bakers Blogroll