Monday, November 26, 2007

You Say Po-tay-to, I Say Po-tah-to

Well, not really...I say po-tay-to...but this month's Daring Baker's challenge gave room for different versions of the same thing...potato bread! I've never made potato bread but make bread quite often. I knew that this would be the perfect bread to make for my family Friday to go with our newly traditional gumbo on the day after Thanksgiving. Since my parents moved last year, our house has become the location for Thanksgiving, which is the big holiday for my dad's side of the family. We had 23 people there...not including the little kids. So, I had lots of samplers for this challenge. The entire morning as people began arriving from their respective hotels the question kept being voiced, "Whacha making?" When I told them potato bread, I think their mouths becan salivating. In this recipe the amount of flour you use is dependant upon how much potato you use and how much liquid is produced. I think I ended up using 6 and 1/2 cups of flour (out of a possible 8 and 1/2) and my dough was fairly sticky; however, I didn't want to jeopardize the tenderness of the bread by adding too much flour...SO, I just worked with the stickiness! Tanna gave us the option of doing loaves, rolls, focaccia, breadsticks, really whatever shape bread floated our boats as long as it was savory. I decided to do a focaccia an some rolls. When I pulled out the rolls, I was concerned. They felt really hard on top...THEN I tried to get them out of the pan. AHHHHH...stuck! I didn't spray the pan and they were very stubborn coming out. I'm not a big roll fan, so I didn't taste these and was extremely disappointed with them until my Aunt said that they were perfect. She described them like a baguette...crispy on the outside and melts in your mouth once you get inside. I think that's a pretty good roll! The focaccia bread was by far the more popular version (except with my 15 month old cousin...she's really into bread right now and loved the rolls!) with my family. I used waxed paper to put the dough on and, again, didn't spray it. When I tried to pull the paper off, any dough that had not been on flour was stuck! It took some TLC to get it off, but it was worth it. This had the perfect texture. It was so soft and flavored nicely with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and parmesan cheese. Overall, this was a good challene. A nice little change from all those sweets! The bread was fairly simple to put together and quick for a yeast bread (I started at 8 am and was finished by around 12:30). Check out the other Daring Bakers and their bread here. This is the recipe with instructions for rolls and focaccia.

8-16 oz. floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour

Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):
Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender (this doesn't take long!). Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. Measure out 3 cups (750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 - 29°C) – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.
Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated (now you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe). Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface (I used a really big bowl, so I just left it in the bowl) and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; the kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.
To make rolls: Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the (1/3 is what I used) dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

To make focaccia:Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F(230°C)

For rolls: Dust risen rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool.

For foccaia:Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.
If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.


Dharm said...

nicely done Claire! Looking at your dough, I Definitely didn't use enough flour. Yours look really nice!

Gigi said...

Great job! The focaccia looks amazing.

Anonymous said...

Great job on the focaccia and rolls!

Rachel said...

Good job! They look lovely!

Peabody said...

:) We have almost the same title.
I love the picture of you battling the sticky dough!
Great job.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Well done! Your focaccia looks great!



Mila said...

Your looks so great!! Ihad the same problem that you did with one of the batchs os the rolls... all stuck in thepaper.. terrible!!!

breadchick said...

Nice looking bread! I love the idea of gumbo after Thanksgiving becoming a family tradition. How lovely. Great job this month.

April said...

It looks delicious!

Bev and Ollie "O" said...

yep, that was some sticky dough! you little girl is so cute! x

Brilynn said...

It's always interesting to see how different the recipe turned out for other people. My loaf of bread wasn't crusty on the outside at all, but I've seen lots like yours that were. I have no clue why that is.

Annie said...

Looks like you had your hands full! It turned out great. I have to make focaccia now because I'm jealous. I love to use it as a pizza crust, yum!

Mandy said...

Isn't this potato bread great for sharing with family? We had a hard time finishing it between hubby and me. I agree with you on the stickiness part. I have a hard time kneading it.

... said...

good job. I love the sticky dough dangling from your hands. Good job.

Unknown said...

Dharm - Thanks! How much flour to use is give and take.

Gigi - Thanks...I did enjoy it.

Shawnda - I wasnt so sure about the rolls at first, but they apparently turned out.

Rachel - Thanks

Peabody - Pretty close...I guess great minds really do think alike! My mom decided to take that picture.

Rosa - Thanks, it was my favorite.

Mila - I think my patience was being tested, but I perservered! :-)

Breadchick - This is the second year we've had T'giving at our house and both years we've had the EXACT same thing Wed, THurs, and Fri!!! My favorite is the gumbo...that is, IF my mom remembers the okra! ;-)

April - Thanks

Bev and Olie - Thanks! Violet, my cousin, has such a fun personality. I can't wait to see how she is next year...

Brilynn - I think it's different based on location, amount of flour, and amount of needing. I prefer the softer bread.

Annie - You should do a focaccia. They are definitely yummy and soft.

Mandy - That's why I saved this challenge for Thanksgiving! I knew there would be people to help enjoy it!

I(dot)j - Thanks for dropping by. At first I was worried that I didn't use enough flour, but I think it was just right.

Jen Yu said...

Yum, that looks delish. Very nicely done despite the stickiness. Congrats!

jen at use real butter

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you did a great job! The focaccia seasonings sound perfect.

Julie said...

Wow, that's a lot of people to cook for! This bread would be so awesome with gumbo. I'm glad it went over well at your house!

Helene said...

I love that the whole family got to partake in your bread making experience! And what a beautiful little girl! Great job on the challenge!

Dolores said...

...I'm glad you didn't call the whole thing off... :)

What better way than to celebrate Thanksgiving than breaking homemade bread with loved ones?

Sara said...

Wow, it even stuck to the paper!? Well it was a very sticky dough...

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a great job on your rolls and focaccia.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Deborah said...

The foccacia was a favorite at my house as well. Great job!

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

You had one less person over for Thanksgiving than we did....I can't believe you were able to do the challenge with all those people milling around!!!

iCook2live said...

I want some Gumbo!! Nice job on your bread.

Robyn said...

Oh it all looks so good. And that little cutie pie in the middle of it all is just darling! Oh the focaccia around here! I am so hungry. Mmmmm.

marias23 said...

Yummylicious! I'm sure all your family loved the bread :)

Christina said...

Great job! Your focaccia and rolls look great.

I keep reading all the posts with their focaccias and my mouth is watering for the potato bread with the specks of salt on top!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Elle said...

Great post Claire. I love the description of the rolls as like baguettes. It was a nice dough once baked, if terribly sticky until then. You foccacia looks awesome and those flavors of chees and herb...yum!

creampuff said...

What an adorable baby! Great job on the bread ... love all the photos.

eatme_delicious said...

Yum the way your aunt described your rolls, they sound incredibly amazing! I wish mine had turned out that well. :)

Unknown said...

Jen - Thanks...sometimes, you just have to work through sticky situations! :-)

Carrie - Thanks. I don't use rosemary much, but thought it would work here.

Julie - That's why gumbo is SO good for this makes a lot!

Tartlette - I wish I got to see her more than once a year. Thanks!

Dolores - I completely agree!

Sara - A bit too sticky but turned out pretty good despite.

Natalie - Thanks!

Deborah - Focaccia was my favorite...then again, I didn't try the rolls

Tiffany - I actually did the hard part when most were still at the hotel...just shaped with everyone there.

IC2L - Me too!

Chronicler - Thanks. Focaccia was fun and Violet is quite cute!

Maria - I think they least they said they did!

Christina - I was wishing that I had some sea salt...that would have been good.

Elle - Thanks! I thought that was a pretty good description as well.

Creampuff - Thanks! It was fun!

EatMeD - I hope that's really how they turned out...I didn't try the rolls. not a big roll fan!

Karen Baking Soda said...

What a wonderful idea to have your house as center stage for a family gathering! Well done on the breads.