The New Bakers Dozen
Potatoes in bread

The The Bakers Dozen: Potatoes in bread
By c on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 07:17 pm: Edit

I tried making the Rustic Potato Loaves in Baking with Julia. The dough seemed intimidating to make! After the "first rise" of 20 minutes, by which time the dough should have risen noticeably, my dough looked the way as I left it. After shaping and the second rise, the dough rose but barely. Is this the way it's supposed to be? Also, what is the effect of including potatoes and/or potato water in the bread dough?

By W.DeBord on Thursday, September 21, 2000 - 08:22 am: Edit

I do think you made an error, potato dough is not usually a flat bread.

Could you have over heated the liquid used to proof your yeast? I don't know that specific what point did the potatoes get incorporated (did you mash and cool them abit?)....I'm wondering if they could have killed off your yeast as another possiblity (if you incorporated them when they were too hot).

Also if your area wasen't warm enough your dough may have been taking longer to rise. Sometimes the time mentioned in a recipe will take way less or longer depending on your enviroment.

I make a potato dough for my sweet rolls instead of a sweet dough if I have the time. I don't know what if any chemical effect potatoes have, I beleive their used for taste reasons only. But I do know that the recipe I use remains softer and freezes nicer after baking, longer than traditional sweet dough.

By c on Thursday, September 21, 2000 - 08:05 pm: Edit

Actually, the finished bread was very nice. Though it barely rose by the time I placed the dough in the oven, it expanded a lot in the oven, creating a beautiful, rustic-looking loaf. The taste and texture was how the book described it to be - soft, moist, stretchy. The only thing that the recipe said should have happened but didn't is the rising.

The recipe called for boiling the quartered potatoes until they were soft, then spreading them out on a rack to cool and air dry
before mashing them. Only then does the warm potato water (with yeast dissolved in it) get mixed with the mashed potatoes. The yeast was alive because I watched the potato water turn creamy. I should add, by the way, that the dough composition was half potato and half flour.

As for the room temperature while the dough was rising-I've always found room temperature to work quickly for me as I'm in the Philippines.

Your use of potato dough instead of sweet dough is intriguing. Maybe you can tell me more?

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 22, 2000 - 08:16 am: Edit

It's a recipe handed down to me from my mother. You make it and then refrigerate it over night for a slow rise. Then in the morning roll and shape as you would any sweet dough, proof and bake. It tastes like any sweet dough recipe it's advantage again is the texture over time.

I'm not a bread making expert (desserts are my thing) but I understand your comment about the bread expanding in the oven. I have had more success not letting dough get to the proofing description of doubling in size. Then when I put it in the oven it will complete the rise as it bakes. I'm sure this all depends upon the type of bread your making, the temp. of oven etc... but I'm talking about simple sweet rolls or cinnamon bread in a 350 oven.

By c on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 08:54 am: Edit

What is the effect of including potatoes and/or potato water in the bread dough?

By W.DeBord on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Taste and texture are the only reasons I know of.

By Matt (Matt) on Tuesday, September 26, 2000 - 11:26 pm: Edit

Also potatos help keep the bread moist and last longer.


By vbean on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 03:56 am: Edit

Potatoes are about history. We owe them alot.
Yeast was not available commercially until about 1916. Everyone made their bread at home or (rarely, purchased it).
There are a few ways to cutivate good wild yeast (that is in our air). Potatoes or unwashed grapes are good ways.
Potato starter makes great bread.
It has made some of the greatest bread ever.
By the way, thank you, Nancy Silverton!

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