April 28, 2010

One Potato Two Potato

The Bread Baking Babes usually come up with great bread recipes to bake. I don't always have the time between when they post and when a "Buddy" post needs to be up, but this time I did.

I woke up early today and decided to quietly peel and boil some potatoes for the mashed potatoes so that they would be cool for later baking. The house smelled great and it smelled even better when I baked the bread for dinner.

In between was a lot of running around looking at shower door samples and getting paint chips and getting shower stall samples and looking at vanities and sinks and mixer valves. Fun, but time consuming. The dough that had been left to rise at noon when we were just going a ten minute drive away to pick up a window turned into many hours gone. Fortunately this dough didn't seem to suffer from my neglect. I used about twice as much chives as the recipe called for. No soy milk in the house, either, so I used 2%. For the water at the beginning of the recipe I used the water that I had cooked the potatoes in, although it had cooled down.

The two smaller loaves I made baked up beautifully. The crust was golden and had a nice crackle. The interior crumb was fine and moist and very flavorful. I'm afraid that Sweetie ate about a third of the loaf while it was still warm...and who can blame him?

I'm going to try some toasted tomorrow morning. Bet it would be great with some cream cheese.

Thanks to Sara for choosing this great bread. My dough was a bit sticky but that's what bench scrapers are for. The contrast between the crisp crust and moist interior was really great! I did brush a little beaten egg over the loaves just before I slit the tops. Gives them a nice color and shine.

The recipe below includes my changes. For the original recipe and to become a Bread Baking Babes Buddy, go to Sara's blog, I Like to Cook.

Potato Bread with Chives
adapted from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

"The addition of mashed potatoes gives this bread a moist, dense texture and delicate flavor that is accented by that of the chives. This bread is best eaten slightly warm from the oven on the day it is made. It is also good toasted."

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water that the potatoes were cooked in
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 Tb safflower oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 cup 2% milk
5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
¼ cup minced fresh chives
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 1/4 cup of the potato water. Add the maple syrup and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then stir in the remaining 3/4 cup of potato water, the safflower oil and the salt. Mix in the potatoes, then stir in the milk. Add about half the flour, stirring to combine, then work in the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Transfer to a lightly floured board.

Lightly flour your hands and work surface. Knead the dough well until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes, using more flour as necessary so the dough does not stick. Place in a large lightly oiled bowl and turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside. Punch the dough down and knead lightly. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle with the chives, and knead until the dough is elastic and the chives are well distributed, 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into one large or two small round loaves and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly and cover with a clean damp towel or lightly oiled plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400'F. Paint the loaves with beaten egg. Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of the loaf or loaves. Bake on the center oven rack until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes, depending on size. Tap on the bottom of the loaf or loaves - if they sound hollow, the bread is done. Remove from the sheet and let cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing.

April 19, 2010

Morning Walk - Evening Boule

Sunday morning was glorious. I woke up with the sunrise and we took the Bread Baker's Dog on a walk by the Laguna. The morning mist was rising off of the shallows, a grebe's wake was perfectly reflected in the still water and a pair of ducks waddled together across a baseball field whose verdant grass was dense with dew. It felt good to be with my Sweetie and dog...good to be alive on such a beautiful day. Here is a photo of Xam on the walk. His birthday is this month and he is 15 years old but still takes a long walk every day and seems to highly enjoy it.

The day before we walked I fed my sourdough starter and made a fairly simple boule to go with our dinner pasta.My original plan had been to shape the dough into a long torpedo shaped loaf but, once shaped, I had covered it with plastic wrap to rise. Thought that the wrap was oiled, but apparently the oiled side was up, so in peeling it off I lost the shape. Not wanting to wait for it to rise again, I just shaped it into a ball, tucked the ends under and baked it. Julia Child would have approved I think.

This boule had simple ingredients: white and whole wheat flour, salt, water, sourdough starter and a little olive oil. It was fine grained, with a moist crumb and mild sour flavor.

Had a slice toasted this morning as we waited for the fellow to come and measure for our new shower pan. I liked that the toasting brought out the crunch of the crust. I started the loaf in a 450 degree F oven and added a pie pan of water right at the beginning of baking...some even spilled on the bottom of the oven. The steam helped create an nice crisp crust with a little crackle to it.

I'm sending this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeastspotting event. It is a treasure trove of great recipes using yeast and yeasted items. Check it out!

Simple Sourdough Boule
makes 1 loaf

1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
enough extra bread flour to make a slightly tacky dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer equiped with a dough hook, mix the starter, water and olive oil. In a large bowl whisk together the flours and salt.

With machine running on low, add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, letting the dough climb the dough hook. Add enough additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, as needed, to create a soft, slightly tacky dough.

Turn out onto a lightly flour surface and knead for a minute or two to make sure dough is well combined. Form into a ball.

Place ball in lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours, longer if your house is cool.

You can also let the dough rise for an hour or so and then let it stay overnight in the fridge, then continue the rise in the morning in a warm, draft free place. This will intensify the flavors of the grains and sourdough.

Punch dough down and shape into a ball, tucking ends under. Place on parchment or a silicon mat and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Paint the surface of the ball lightly with egg wash and slash in a few places...I make three slashed across the top...then place in a preheated 450 degrees F oven. If you have a pizza or bread stone, make sure that you have preheated that as well as the oven. Place a pan of water on the lower shelf or bottom of the oven. Splash a bit out if you want more steam. Let bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake another 40 - 45 minutes or until boule is golden brown and, when turned over and tapped, gives off a hollow sound.

Cool, right side up, at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Great toasted, too!

Have to give equal time to our wonderful cat Merlin. Here is creates the perfect scene with spring tulips and a garden hose.