Guest post and recipe from experienced bread maker Magdalena Marsden.
If you want something a bit different to white bread, this is the recipe to try! The potatoes add lightness to the bread and the hint of nutmeg compliments the flavour beautifully.
Potatoes were traditionally used to make the bread dough go further, as they were generally cheaper and more available than flour that had to be bought in from a local mill. We are talking a few hundred years back now, but I like the historic connection when I’m making this bread.
This recipe makes about 750g bread – the best tin to use is a 2lb bread tin or equivalent volume basket. You can also make about 12 -14 bread rolls from this recipe.
White Potato Bread
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of dried yeast
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of salt or to taste
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sugar not essential, but adds flavour and crust to your bread
- 270 ml approx of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 small potato - boiled and mashed left over potatoes are perfect for this
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and add the mashed potato. Add the water and leave a little bit out, just in case. The potato can make the bread dough a little sticky and depending on how much water it already contains, you might need more or less water to add.
- Kneed your potato bread for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes elastic and very smooth. Shape in a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel. Leave it somewhere nice and warm until it doubles in size. This can take up to one hour.
- Knock back the bread dough, fold twice and shape by rolling into a sausage to fit your tin or proving basket.
- Leave to double in size again. At this point, you can slash the top with bread knife to create the perfect artisan look. Slashing the top of your bread, not only adds an extra rustic look to your bread, but also serves a very practical purpose. The cuts need to be only 1 cm deep and can be done by using a sharp knife, craft knife or specialist bread razor. Do this fairly quickly and do not allow the knife to drag the dough. Once in the oven, the cuts allow the bread to rise even more.
- Preheat the oven to 250deg c
- As you are putting your potato bread in the oven you might also like to create a bit of steam to help your bread to rise more in the oven. Create steam by placing the baking tin at the bottom of your oven before you preheat the oven. Have either ice cubes or boiling water ready and as soon as you place the bread in the oven, throw the ice cubes on the tray (or pour the water). Shut the door really quickly and be careful when you do this as steam is very hot! The steam softens the top of the dough, which allows it to rise even more in the oven. You can also use a flower water spray can and just mist the top of your bread as it goes in the oven.
- Your oven should be initially as hot as you can make it (250 deg C) and after 10 mins reduce it to about 200 deg C. Bake for about 35 mins (in total) and check by tapping on the bottom of the bread, to see when it is ready.
- Always check that the bread is baked through by tapping at the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow – it is done. If not, put the bread back into the oven (without the tin).
- This Potato Bread freezes really well, so it’s well worth making a few loaves at a time. This basic recipe can easily be doubled and you should still be able to knead the dough easily. Then just divide the dough to fit your tins.
- Cool on wire rack and enjoy with butter and cheese!